‘We’re Facing a New Version of the Black Spring,’ Says Martha Beatriz Roque

The Human Rights report mentions the case of the reporter and activist Iliana Hernández, whose home has been surrounded by police for more than two months. (Facebook)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 10 June 2021 —  A total of 13 new political prisoners were registered in Cuba during the month of May. According to the latest report by the Cuban Center for Human Rights (CCDH), led by the opposition activist Martha Beatriz Roque, it is the highest number since March 2003, which makes this repressive wave “a new version of the Black Spring.”

The document highlights that the greatest repercussions came from the forced hospitalization for a month of the artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara. The cruelty, says the CCDH, has been “targeted” with all the artists and activists who, like Alcántara, are linked to the song ’Patria y Vida’.

In any case, the report says, prosecuting opponents, no matter how well known the person is, has become “the latest way the dictatorship has adopted of reducing to the minimum those who do not support the system.”

The document also indicates that last month the non-payment of fines, together with the crimes of contempt, public disorder, disobedience, spread of epidemic, illicit economic activity or pre-criminal dangerousness, have been used to imprison and “remove from circulation” dissidents and human rights defenders.

The Havana-based organization explains that it is “very difficult” to collect information on political prisoners because, due to the Covid pandemic, prison visits are prohibited. The report also mentions “an outbreak of coronavirus” in the provincial prison of Sancti Spíritus where, according to reports, they have placed restrictions on visits and phone calls from prisoners so that information is not leaked, a “very difficult” situation for inmates.

People who are constantly besieged by the government and its repressive forces and who are not allowed to leave their homes without even having been given any document issued by the authorities, are also detailed in the report.

The Center also mentions the threat made by prosecutor José Luis Reyes Blanco on national television, when he said that opponents of the regime who are outside the island could be prosecuted and extradited so that they could be held criminally responsible for a crime committed.

With regards to “harassment” against the activists, the NGO details that it has been carried out on 102 people, 10 more than the previous month, and also notes that “repressive actions are increasingly intense.”

As an example, it cites the case of the reporter and activist Iliana Hernández Cardosa, who has had a police cordon around her home for more than two months, and those of Iván Hernández Carrillo, the Ladies in White, the members of the Patriotic Union of Cuba and of the Opposition Movement for a New Republic, who have been under siege for the entire month.

Regarding the economy and the crisis that the country is experiencing, the report indicates that every day “the amount of products and services” that are sold in foreign currency in state stores increases, as do “people’s complaints about exorbitant product prices.”


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