14ymedio, Madrid, 31 January 2023 — The Cuban Observatory for Human Rights (OCDH), based in Madrid, has launched a new online tool to denounce any violation committed by the authorities against citizens. The alert, channeled through a web page, can be sent through a WhatsApp message, by filling out a form or a Word document.
The organization admits complaints from very different fields, from the police or judicial, including unjustified fines, arrests, threats or persecution, through labor rights — expulsions, unpaid wages, sanctions or disciplinary measures — and lack of social protection. This last section includes lack of supplies, housing in poor condition or medical and pharmacological neglect.
The objective is to be able to document and account for all kinds of problems that affect citizens, although for this the complaint will first be subjected to verification, the details of which have not been provided.
This is the second mechanism of this type that the OCDH has activated, after the launch of Digno Trabajo [Decent Work] last year, in alliance with the Independent Trade Union Association of Cuba (Asic). On that occasion, the tool consisted of a Telegram robot (bot) capable of answering labor-related questions, as well as reporting cases of abuse in the workplace.
Digno Trabajo allows “asking and receiving information”, “reporting” or “contacting” and, according to the observatory, claims are dealt with “directly and personally” to report the “circumstances or situation” of the workplace of the interested party.
In its last annual report, from 2022, the OCDH recalled that the social indicators have deteriorated even more with the crisis that is affecting the Island and that it has caused an extreme shortage of food, the prices of which have also risen by around a 40% in the official market. At least 72% of the population lives below the poverty line and 8 out of 10 Cubans have problems getting medications.
Access to basic supplies, especially electricity, has also worsened, with cuts for at least six months that have exceeded 16 hours.
Throughout the year, more than 5,499 repressive actions were verified, at least 1,447 detentions of activists, opponents or relatives of prisoners in their homes and at least 1,354 arbitrary detentions, of which 832 corresponded to women.
In addition, throughout 2022 trials have been held against 11J (11 July 2021) protesters, some of whom have resulted in prison sentences of more than 25 years for crimes of sedition, which have been rejected by lawyers from around the world and human rights associations.
The repressive pattern that has most characterized the year has been the forced exile of a multitude of opponents of the regime, intellectuals and journalists, while the population has emigrated massively; the population lost in the last year is estimated to be close to a quarter of a million people.
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