Prohibitions on Free Movement Inside and Outside Cuba are Denounced to the Human Rights Commission

The activist Anamely Ramos was not allowed to return to Cuba in February of last year, after a three-month visit to the US. (Captura)

14ymedio biggerEFE (via 14ymedio), Los Angeles, March 10, 2023 — Several Cuban activists denounced this Thursday before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) the violations of the right to movement of people on the Island, as well as the ban on the return of many citizens.

The complaints of these “forced expatriations” were made on the fourth day of public hearings of the 186th session of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR), which takes place this year in Los Angeles (California, U.S.)

The testimonies presented agreed that the right to movement of people has been one of the most violated in recent years by the authorities of the Island and has been used to repress people who participated in mass protests such as those of July 11, 2021.

The activists highlighted that, despite the fact that this right is enshrined in the 2019 Cuban Constitution, several decrees on national security have been used to limit the free movement of people, including the prohibition of departure or entry into the country of Cubans who represent “a danger,” despite the fact that there is no legal accusation against these individuals.

“It’s a tool of control to prevent the work of defending human rights in the field,” said Cuban lawyer Laritza Diversent, director and legal advisor of Cubalex, about the decrees, which also deny the issuance of passports.

The proof of the extent of these violations was the physical absence, during the hearing, of Juan Antonio Madrazo, coordinator of the Citizens’ Committee for Racial Integration of Cuba, who was not allowed to leave the country to participate in the meeting.

“There is a permanent threat that the situation may worsen if we do not comply with the police provisions that would result in criminal proceedings,” Madrazo warned through a video. He also said that these travel bans are affecting the mental and physical health of activists.

The participants denounced practices of the Cuban government to force the banishment and exile of opponents and human rights defenders, as is the case of activist Anamely Ramos, who was not allowed to return to Cuba in February last year, after a three-month visit to the United States.

In her testimony before the IACHR, Ramos said that she is in the United States “contrary to her will,” and there is no reason beyond her activism not to be allowed to return to her country.

In this sense, Soledad García, a member of the NGO Justicia 11J, referred to the expulsion of 222 Nicaraguan politicians who were removed from their country by the regime of Daniel Ortega a month ago, and stressed that although this practice has been used by the Cuban Government for decades, in the “last years it has become visible.”

Ramos, who also presented the cases of writer Carlos Manuel Álvarez and professor Omara Ruiz Urquiola — who has tried to return to Cuba four times — also drew attention to the U.S. airlines that have executed these return bans.

“The protocol that exists between the airlines and Cuba is not public, so we cannot rule out that flights to Cuba go through a political filter commissioned by the Cuban State; this must be reviewed,” Ramos urged.

The commissioners of the IACHR, an autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS) based in Washington, highlighted the importance of the testimonies given at the hearing because it helps them to continue with the work they are doing in defense of human rights in Cuba.

They regretted the absence of the representatives of the Cuban State at the hearing. However, they assured that they will continue to demand answers on the complaints and to process the precautionary measures.

Commissioner Edgar Stuardo Ralón Orellana called for the creation of an international protocol to help people forcibly expelled from their countries.

This Friday, the IACHR concludes a round of 17 public hearings, covering human rights that affect migrants, the LGBTI community, women, indigenous peoples, human rights defenders and journalists in the OAS member countries and the Americas as a whole.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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