14ymedio, Havana, 4 January 2015 — The number of political arrests in the month of December in Cuba was almost twice that of December 2014, from 489 increasing to 930, according to the monthly report issued by the Cuban the National Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCDHRN).
The number represents a significant decrease from November, when there were at least 1,447 arrests. However, that figure was the highest in years, according to information from the CCDHRN, which reported December was the third worst month of the year, after the two months preceding it (there were 1,093 political arrests in October).
The CCDHRN is particularly concerned because five former political prisoners – released as a part of the negotiations between the Cuban and United States governments that led to the reestablishment of relations – were newly arrested and being held in high security prisons. These prisoners are
Wilfredo Parada Milian, Jorge Ramirez Calderon, Carlos Manuel Figueroa, Aracelio Ribeaux Noa and Vladimir Morera Bacallao, who was on a hunger strike between 9 October and the end of the year. The five have been imprisoned in “rigged processes without due process,” according to the organization led by Elizardo Sanchez.
Once again, the groups most affected by repression, the report denounced, are the Ladies in White and the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), who “apart from physical violence and all kinds of humiliations” suffered “acts of vandalism and the extrajudicial confiscation of toys intended to be distributed to poor children, computers, cellphones and other work tools acquired legally, as well as cash taken from many of the opponents who were arrested.”
The CCDHRN expressed despair because despite the expectations created by the restoration of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the US, “political repression increased steadily throughout 2015.” In addition, the report denounced that poverty has continued to grow, which has motivated, in the opinion of the organization, the migratory crisis of those “trying to escape Cuba by any means, including illegal emigration at the price of human suffering.”