`New Castro, Same Cuba` Says Top Rights Group

admin

CaribWorldNews, NEW YORK, NY, Thurs. Nov. 19, 2009: Fidel Castro may no longer be the President of Cuba but his brother is essentially continuing the same trend of human rights repression, a top global organization said Wednesday.

Human Rights Watch, in a 123-page report, claims that the Raúl Castro government has relied in particular on the Criminal Code offense of `dangerousness,` which allows authorities to imprison individuals before they have committed any crime, on the suspicion that they are likely to commit an offense in the future. This `dangerousness` provision is overtly political, defining as `dangerous` any behavior that contradicts Cuba`s socialist norms.

The body says the Raúl Castro`s government has locked up scores of people for exercising their fundamental freedoms and allowed scores more political prisoners arrested during Fidel Castro`s rule to languish in detention.

Rather than dismantle Cuba`s repressive machinery, Raúl Castro has kept it firmly in place and fully active, the report says. The report`s analysis was based on a fact-finding mission to Cuba and more than 60 in-depth interviews in which the government has imprisoned individuals under the `dangerousness` provision for exercising their basic rights.

Among them was Ramón Velásquez Toranzo, who set out on a peaceful march across Cuba to call for respect for human rights and freedom for all political prisoners, was arrested and sentenced to three years in prison for `dangerousness` in January 2007. Raymundo Perdigón Brito, a journalist who wrote articles documenting abuses by the government and published them on foreign websites, was sentenced to four years in prison for `dangerousness` in December 2006.

He has endured repeated beatings by guards and solitary confinement during his incarceration.  Alexander Santos Hernandez, a political activist who was sentenced to four years for `dangerousness` in 2006, told Human Rights Watch, `[The police] picked me up at 5:50 a.m. while I was at home sleeping, and by 8:30 that morning they were already reading me my sentence.` Santos was denied a lawyer, and the sentence he was given was dated two days before his trial took place.

`In his three years in power, Raúl Castro has been just as brutal as his brother,` said José Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch. `Cubans who dare to criticize the government live in perpetual fear, knowing they could wind up in prison for merely expressing their views.`

HRW recommended that the Barack Obama administration secure commitments from the European Union, Canada, and Latin American allies to unite to press Cuba to meet a single, concrete demand: the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners within six months.

A spokesman for the Cuban Interests Section in Washington said in a statement that his country `does not recognize the legality or moral authority of this organization` that compiled the report.

The report comes as a hearing is set for today by the House Foreign Affairs Committee on whether to lift U.S. restrictions on travel to the island.

 

Next Post

Guyana Remembers The Victims Of Jonestown On Anniversary

CaribWorldNews, PORT KAITUMA, Guyana, Thurs. Nov. 19, 2009: The government of Guyana is remembering the victims of the 1978 Jonestown tragedy. Thirty-one years after the Jonestown catastrophe, Guyana`s Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce Manniram Prashad joined the Charge d` Affaires of the United States Embassy in Guyana, Karen Williams, […]