2020 Was the Hardest Year for Cuba, Says Human Rights Group

The arrest of journalist and writer Carlos Manuel Álvarez in the city of Cárdenas, in early December. (Screen Capture)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 5 January 2021 —  The Cuban Center for Human Rights (CCDH) is forceful in its December report: the year that has just ended has been “the hardest” for the Island. The reasons, according to the organization led by Marta Beatriz Roque, are not only due to the cCovid-19 pandemic, but to “the scarcity, the lack of freedoms and the repressed life that the Cuban leads, basically dedicated to subsisting.”

In his introduction to the document, Roque predicts that 2021 “will involve a labor and economic panorama considered one of the worst in the history of the nation, in the midst of a scene of exacerbated social conflicts.”

The report recalls that on December 10, the regime took to the streets to “celebrate” Human Rights Day, while State Security kept independent journalists and activists under siege.

It also emphasizes that the Government continues to harass the participants in the San Isidro headquarters in November, with the aim of “prohibiting them from leaving” their homes, including Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, Ileana Hernández, Esteban Rodríguez, Maykel Castillo, Omara Ruiz Urquiola, Anamelys Ramos, Zuleydis Gómez Cepero and Héctor Luis Valdés Corcho.

Mention is also made of the return to acts of repudiation in a generalized manner “to try to demoralize citizens who disagree within the country.”

Apart from reproducing the list of 138 political prisoners compiled by Prisoners Defenders, CCDH includes 103 arbitrary arrests carried out by State Security in December (slightly less than the 119 in November) and 144 acts of harassment. Among those arrested was the chief editor of 14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, detained for more than five hours on December 11.

The report covers the so-called ’Ordering Task,’ the measures that came into force on January 1 to, according to the Government, face the crisis, including the elimination of the double currency, and whose first consequence has been an increase in the prices of telecommunications, transport and some foods.

Regarding the economic and social situation, the CCDH echoes various unpublished citizen complaints, for example the one made by Liudmila Maya about the theft of luggage from travelers who have just arrived in Cuba through the José Martí International Airport.

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