Cuban Government Focused Repression Against Independent Candidates

Aimara Peña, an activist from Sancti Spiritus who presented herself as an independent candidate for the elections. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 4 December 2017 — In November, the Cuban authorities carried out 302 temporary arbitrary detentions, a figure that according to the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCDHRN) is the second lowest since the beginning of 2017. The organization attributes this decrease to the fact that, during the past municipal elections, the Government “displayed its entire repressive muscle” and so was able to make “the least possible number of arrests.”

The Commission notes in its monthly report that the actions of the police forces prevented the nomination of every independent candidate for the position of delegate in the elections through temporary detentions, house arrest, summons and threats.

Along with the number of arbitrary arrests of dissidents for political reasons, the CCDHRN also verified that in November there were 7 cases of physical aggression and another 25 cases of harassment against dissenters. “Actions carried out, in all cases, by the secret political police,” said the note.

In its report, the Commission pays special attention to the case of Daniel Llorente Miranda, the man who, during the last May Day parade, raised the American flag in the Plaza of the Revolution and who, after being detained by State Security, was interned in Havana’s Mazorra psychiatric hospital where he has apparently been the object of “psychiatric abuses.”

“Some detained opponents are sentenced to maximum security prison on charges that seek to cover up the obvious political motivations,” the report also warns.

The CCDHRN also notes that the Government continues to repress the movement of any citizen within the country and prevents the exit of civil society activists abroad, citing the cases of Human Rights defender Wendis Castillo and journalist Augusto César Manrique Martín.

Meanwhile, on Monday the Cuban Observatory of Human Rights (OCDH) warned in a statement of the “broad scope” of the repressive strategy of the Cuban government, which according to the organization based in Madrid is able to monitor “the cracks of the incipient Cuban civil society and interfere in citizen privacy.”

In its monthly assessment, the organization claims that last November there were a total of 306 arbitrary arrests, and draws attention to the high number of arrests of women, which stood at 221 as opposed to 85 executed against men. Of the total arrests 11 of them were violent and in the case of another 35, the detentions lasted more than 24 hours.

The OCDH report denounces that there have been 4,665 arbitrary detentions in Cuba since the beginning of the year and that the Government persists in its “repressive dynamic” characterized by arbitrary detentions of short or long duration, the confiscation of personal property or means of work, the siege of activists in their own homes and the charging of government opponents with manufactured common criminal offenses, among other techniques.

According to the report, among the victims of these repressive practices exercised by the Government are the journalist Osmel Ramírez Álvarez, contributor to Diario de Cuba and Havana Times; the artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara; the director of the Center for Local Development Studies, César Mendoza Regal; and Karina Gálvez, economist and member of the Coexistence Studies Center, whose sentence for tax evasion was ratified at the beginning of last month. Gálvez has also been prohibited from practicing her profession.

The violation of human rights not only persists on the island according to the OCDH, but the organization also warns that it is “gaining ground in Venezuela thanks to the apathy and lack of commitment of more than a few democrats and institutions,” in direct reference to the United Nations Human Rights Council, of which Cuba and Venezuela are members.

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