Castro’s Tortures

Inmates in the Combinado del Este are subjected to discriminatory treatment, labor violations, and physical and mental torture. (EFE)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Pedro Corzo, Miami, 10 June 2023 — The NGO Prisoners Defenders, led by Javier Larrondo, has presented a report entitled “First Comprehensive Study on Torture in Cuba,” a well-prepared work that demonstrates how the Cuban totalitarian regime ruthlessly abuses its citizens regardless of age, sex or any other condition.

According to the document, the work began in 2022 based on 15 patterns of torture and 181 victims, who “served as a random and statistically representative sample of a group of 1,277 civilian political prisoners, all of them tortured in Cuban prisons in the last 12 months.”

“Eighty percent of those random cases suffered more than five types of torture, and children and young people are two of the most tortured groups. Gabriela was a protester on 11J who went to prison at the age of 17. According to written and oral testimony, the guards made her squat, put their fingers in her vagina and threatened to rape her. She still suffers emotionally from the many things they did to her, says the document.

This kind of research is fundamental for those who remain determined not to see the tragedy that the Castro regime has meant for Cuba and Cubans, a situation that undoubtedly repeats itself in Havana’s allies (Nicaragua, Venezuela and Bolivia), as well as in other countries that are attracted by totalitarian temptation.

In 2012, under the direction of the filmmaker Luis Guardia and the pro-democracy activist Francisco Paco Lorenzo, we produced a documentary entitled Castro’s Tortures, a historic film that can be found on social networks, which shows how from the moment Fidel and Raúl Castro came to power, torture and the violation and abuse of human rights have not ceased on the Island.

The film begins with Castro saying that in Cuba there has never been repression, torture or murder, and it continues with former political prisoner Abel Nieves responding that even as a teenager he was tortured. They put him on his back, his arms at his sides, unable to move, with water running over his body. He concludes by saying that he spent seven days in that wet coffin, one of the gloomy drawers of the Atares Palace in Havana.

Abel, a 21-year-old prisoner, was a man of great moral integrity but very affected by the numerous abuses he suffered. His dedication to the Cuban democratic cause was absolute, and his commitment throughout imprisonment was extremely remarkable.

Orestes Pérez, a 28-year-old prisoner, like other prisoners in Topes de Collantes, was tied to a large stone and thrown into a pool to get him to denounce his companions. Evelio Ancheta was savagely tortured in the gloomy cabañitas with sudden and radical temperature changes. He was also thrown tied up into a swimming pool, and the family was misinformed about his condition. Aurelio Hernández, in the same place, was injected with sodium pentotal, received electric shocks and was subjected to simulated shootings , as was Rigoberto Hernández. Prisoner Annete Escandón did not suffer from mental problems but was given 20 electroshocks in the Mazorra hospital for three months, the same as other prisoners, including Raúl Salazar, who suffered severe consequences from the torture.

It would be painful to describe all the witness statements in the documentary.  In addition to physical abuse, there are “violations of labor rights, the legislated violation of due  criminal process, the violation of multiple fundamental rights and freedoms such as freedom of thought, expression, assembly, association, movement and religious freedom, among others. Other aspects are the legislated impunity for abuses by the authorities, arbitrary detentions, forced disappearances, provisional imprisonment and the lack of defense lawyers in Cuba.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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