Thursday, April 13, 2006


Cuban Foundation of Human Rights
(Ciego de Avila, Cuba)

This report is only a brief general summary of the critical situation that the Cuban people suffer in matters concerning human rights, as well as public freedoms.

It is impossible here to shape detailed information about the types of daily abuses committed by the government, much less make an enumeration of each person who has been savagely beaten or incarcerated without committing a crime. We only cite some of the cases as an illustration. We do not tackle numerous other themes like worker’s rights and the environment. We have tried to place our greatest efforts in calling attention to the most contemptible and dangerous crimes that are taking place at this time in our county and that can, without any doubt, lead to bloodshed.


1a. Political Rights

The Cuban nation remains under a military regime that dominates everything by armed force and that has submitted the Cuban people to a totalitarian government over the last 47 years.. This is done through a one-party system, using methods of repression by the police, terror, and disinformation in order to stay in power.

The nation is run by a Chief Commandant who is, at the same time, President of the Councils of State and Government and First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba.
Every five years, using pressure and fear, the government holds elections that are a farce in order to deceive national and international public opinion. In these elections, the non-violent dissident movement is excluded; the government fails to recognize it. The presence of international observers during the elections is not permitted either.

1b. Civil Rights

After the celebration in Havana of the Assembly to Promote a Civil Society in Cuba on May 20, 2005, the Cuban government unleashed a wave of persecutions and terror that is currently getting worse and reaching spine-chilling levels never lived before in the history of our country. The government waited for the easing of sanctions by the European Union to begin acts of repudiation like those of 1980 in June, 2005, acts that in the following months became more severe in terms of violence and vandalism.

On February 16, 2006, five human rights activists were stoned in public in the Paquito Rosales Central in Santiago de Cuba. They had to be hospitalized. There was one woman among these persons: Maura Iset González Jurquet, president of FLAMUR (the Latin American Federation of Rural Women). She remains completely bedridden because the paramilitary mobs ruptured (?) two vertebrae of her spinal column in the stoning, they fractured her right leg, and she suffered bruises at their hands all over her body. When she fell unconscious on the ground as a result of being stoned, the mob continued to beat her with a stick. When her husband tried to stop the beating, a paramilitary person fractured the man’s right index finger and continued beating the rest of the activists who had to run three kilometers under a steady shower of rocks and sticks. Maura Iset González remained unconscious for about six minutes, and since then, she has not been able to walk. Doctors anticipate a the formation of a tumor on her spinal column as a result of the stoning. Maura Iset González resides at Calle Céspedes entre General García y Máximo González in the municipality of San Luis in Santiago de Cuba. Her telephone number, whose service has been interrupted for more than a month by State Security, is +53-2283604.

On October 14, 2005, several persons suffered injuries in the city of Santa Clara, among them three activists who received fractured collarbones. Alberto Gutiérrez suffered a detached left kidney after being kicked.

Through these acts, the government is desperately trying to wipe out the burgeoning civil society since the failure of the wave of repression of the Black Spring (March, 2003) in Cuba. The government has also invaded the last niche of personal intimacy of the Cuban family. Government representatives have arbitrarily broken into the bedrooms and other rooms of private dwellings with the purpose of thwarting peaceful meetings, although at some of these meetings there are fewer than five people who are in attendance. At these places, the authorities arrive very unexpectedly and even prohibit the family members from entering the houses of the opposition members.

Acts of repudiation are the main weapon of repression and terror currently used by the Cuban government, and in the last ten months, the government has carried out over 100 of them. During these acts, numerous people have been beaten in a pre-meditated fashion, which causes profound psychological damage as well to Cuban families, particularly to dozens of children. Among them are: Javi Rosa Domínguez Perdigón, eight years old, and a resident of Calle Obdulio Morales #50, Las Tosas, Sancti Espíritu, and Lorena Moraima Mayet González Jurquet, the nine year old daughter of Maura Iset González Jurquet.

All types of blunt objects are used in the beatings: sticks, stones, iron rods, tubes, cables, and other things, with the purpose of cultivating panic in the dissident movement and the community. All the power and resources of the State are used, and at the same time, the State transforms military personnel, prostitutes, alcoholics, and prisoners into the people who carry out these acts. Other tactics that characterize these acts include vulgarity, moral corruption, and pornographic references that are more appropriate for the orators and participants in the acts. All of this results in a complete educational and cultural aberration imposed by the government for almost a half century now.

Other forms of repression against the non-violent dissident members and independent journalists that are not directed at family members and friends but rather at a much broader sector of the populations exist. In order to impose its totalitarian rule, the regime arrests, threatens, interrogates, and jails opposition members. At times, the government fabricates common crimes, such as disobedience, resistance, disrespect, attempts on someone’s life, and public disorder, against them. The government admits that some opposition members have not committed any crime but declares the individuals prone to commit them, referring to them as dangerous to society. Through this judicial monstrosity, more than 1,000 young people were sent to jail in the last twelve months, where they received sentences of up to four years in prison in summary trials and in courts lacking guaranteed due process. People are thrown in jail without any just cause or accusation. Approximately fifty non-violent dissidents, suffering in maximum security conditions, find themselves in limbo from this sort of repression. They are serving sentences in this situation of up to three years without their cases having been heard by any public defender or court. Dr. René Gómez Manzano and more than twenty opposition members arrested last July are among this group.

Around 18 dwellings were broken into over the course of January and February of this year, and large numbers of independent libraries were destroyed by State Security, the National Police, and paramilitary mobs. Huge numbers of books, magazines, documents, fax machines, radios, and other means of mass communication were confiscated. In the majority of the cases, the searches were carried out in a way that violated the established laws of the socialist government. The government also represses people through fines of up to 3,000 pesos, the confiscation of land and property and other ways not mentioned here. Thus, the regime tries to stifle independent associations. This procedure has been used against Gualdimar Parra Santana, Manuel Guerra Rodríguez, and Israel Pérez Díaz, all of whom are directors of the Cuban League of Independent Farm Workers. Yoandri Quintana Sarría, who is deaf and who has had a very delicate operation on his skull, has been locked in a narrow and dark, insect infested, dungeon-like cell without water and electricity . This cell is located in Instrucción Policial, known as “Everyone Sings,” in the city of Ciego de Avila. Yoandri Quintana Sarría was locked up for founding and presiding over the Association of Independent Deaf People in Cuba. He was kept in the cell for a week. Currently, the government keeps him under harsh harassment through fines and the confiscation of his bicycle in which he kept the deed to his property. He has demanded it back through every legal avenue. Many other deaf people who belong to this organization and live in extreme necessity and terror were threatened as well.

The members of the Cuban Christian Movement suffer similar acts. The government accuses them as being counterrevolutionaries and threatens them with prison, telling them that they will all pay, along with the pastor and president of the Cuban Christian Movement, Delmídet Hidalgo López. This institution has its national headquarters in Batey Ognara in the municipality of Primero de Enero in Ciego de Avila. Pastor Luis Enrique Cervante Leiva was evicted from his home by the Department of Housing. This eviction took place in neighborhood of Vicente in Ciego de Avila, and when Pastor Cervante Leiva protested at the provincial Popular Poder, staying there with his family, he was physically beaten and arrested by officials of State Security and the government. He remained there for several days in the Police Station of State Security in Ciego de Avila, threatened with incarceration and open cause. Pastor Adventista Arnaldo Expósito Zaldívar from Holguín in Banes was beaten by groups of governmental paramilitaries in plain view in public during the first days of March. The attackers ran over him with a motorcycle and then grabbed him by the neck and punched him several times. This happened on March 2, 2006. Pastor Jesús Manuel Rosabarencibia was jailed at the Police Station in Matanzas around the middle of 2005 for holding a Christ-centered convention of his religious denomination that took place against the will of the government in San José de Las Lajas in Havana Province. Pastor Rosabarencibia is currently in a delicate state of health, suffering from peripheral neuritis.

The Cuban authorities place all sorts of obstacles on the preaching of the gospel, restricting preaching exclusively to religious temples and maintaining closed access to radio, television, and other media. They repress all preaching in parks, streets, and public plazas, as well as restricting the distribution of tracts and religious material from house to house. The opening of houses of worship and new churches is extremely limited and selective, and a policy of seizing houses of worship and religious temples is maintained, even when they have been built in accordance to the law. Agents of State Security keep watch on religious groups, and if the pastors or priests express criticism of the government, they are visited by an official on the provincial level of the Communist Party of Cuba who threatens them severely.

Prisoners have been denied religious assistance on numerous occasions, and they are prohibited in many cases from even reading the Bible.

II. Jails and Prisons

More than 500 political prisoners remain locked in Cuban prisons. Close to one hundred of them are prisoners of conscience. Almost daily, military officials in all the prisons of the country deal savage beatings to the prisoners in general, and they do not distinguish between common prisoners and prisoners of conscience, or that the beaten ones are handicapped, ill, old people, women, or those who suffer from psychological disorders. The prisoners are beaten with whips made from marabou, rubber straps, and hoses: they are also beaten physically. Large numbers of guards participate on every occasion; then the prisoners are dragged and thrown into narrow dungeons where they are deprived of all their belongings, including their clothing and mattress. Their food and water is cut back to insignificant quantities. The prisoners’ cells are enclosed (without light) with a hole in the floor for their bodily functions. Food is scarce and poorly prepared in prisons, and a practice has been made of serving them soured and rotten food. Breakfast is water with sugar or wheat water that at times is accompanied by a small piece of bread. At lunch and dinner, prisoners receive several tablespoons of rice without oil or corn flour and boiled pasta without dressing. This causes the prisoners to organize huge protests.

In the excrement hole, fecal material accumulates in heaps until from time to time, there is enough water to carry it away. Rats, cockroaches, ants, and other insects enter through the hole, contaminating everything.

The prisoners’ mattresses are made of nylon or a burlap sack filled with straw that contains bedbugs and other biting insects that, along with the heat, stench, and mosquitoes, prohibit the prisoners from being able to sleep. Because of these conditions, a great majority of the prisoners lose their will to live and experience a loss of their teeth and a noticeable loss of vision after being in jail for three or four years. They also suffer from other illnesses related to malnutrition and vitamin deficiency.

In the Provincial Prison of Canaleta in Ciego de Avila, there is not drain for the sewage that runs underneath the buildings. For this reason, this area is known as “El Patineo.”

Medical assistance is abysmal and in many cases, prisoners are denied it. The state of health of approximately 60 prisoners of conscience from the “Group of 75, the majority of whom are very sick in spite of being very healthy and full of life when they were jailed three years ago, requires special attention. Their illnesses, in our opinion, are the result of their treatment by State Security that deprives them of rest in order to destroy the physical and psychological health of these prisoners of conscience. Among the most seriously ill are Pedro Argüelles Morán, Pablo Pacheco Avila, Lester González Pentón, Alejandro González Fraga, Dr. José Luis García Paneque, Jorge Luis González Tanquero, Normando Hernández González, Juan Carlos Herrerra Acosta, Fabio Prieto Llorente, Dr.Oscar Elías Biscet, Dr. Luis Milán and others.

Cuban political prisoners suffer constant cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment, and State Security places them with the most dangerous common criminals so that the prisoners will be attacked. They are requizados and their rights to religion, correspondence, information, healthy food are violated. In addition,they are not allowed to be outdoors in the sun. It is a governmental practice to send them more than 500 km from their houses in order to also punish their family members with this and other forms of repression. They are also denied benefits such as conditional release and minimum punishment.

III. Death sentences

More than 50 people on death row are waiting to be shot in the halls of death of Cuban jails. We do not know of any executions during 2005 or of any other sentences to death. Nevertheless, those who are condemned to death are tortured psychologically and live in narrow and cold, dungeon-like cells. For example, prison officials have simulated three executions by firing squads on Héctor Santana Vega in the Maximum Security Prison Kilo 8 in Camagüey. Héctor Santana Vega, a resident of Jagueyal, in Ciego de Avila province, is asthmatic and in a wheel chair.


We want to emphasize our profound concern for the current increase in violence and terror carried out by the Cuban government, as well as the use of the National Revolutionary Police and bands of paramilitaries who are responsible for the violent mobs that physically beat members of the peaceful opposition movement. We are also concerned about the destruction of independent libraries, the interference by the government in private homes, and the critical state of thehealth of the prisoners of conscience and prisoners in general, as well as the general deterioration of the prison population. We regret that a report like this one cannot further detail the situation of the violations of human rights in Cuba. What is worthy of mention is that this document has been possible thanks to a year’s work of hundreds of activists and collaborators with the Cuban Foundation of Human Rights (FCDH) and other institutions of the civil society in Cuba.

Juan Carlos González Leiva
President of the National Association of the Cuban Foundation of Human Rights
March 13, 2006
Given from Ciego de Avila, Cuba, the national headquarters of the FCDH
Honrato del Castillo #154, entre República and Cuba, Ciego de Avila
Tel: +53-33-222235

Taped, transcribed, and translated into English by the Coalition of Cuban-American Women in the US
Tel: 305-662-5947 Fax: 305-740-7323
Transcription: Laida Carro
Translation: Tanya Wilder