Black October in Cuba: 8 new political convicts of conscience

Prisoners Defenders

Cuban Prisoners Defenders Report, November 1, 2019


  • The new political prisoners are: José Daniel Ferrer (UNPACU), Roilán Zárraga Ferrer (UNPACU), Fernando González Vaillant (UNPACU), José Pupo Chaveco (UNPACU), Yasiel González Quijano (MCRR), William Cruz Delgado (ASIC), Eliober Fuste Zamora (PNC) and Francisco García Puniel (FACOZT).
  • The longest political prisoner in the history of Cuba died in the hands of the government, Armando Sosa Fortuny, with 43 of his 76 years in prison. In his last imprisonment, he reached 26 years and 18 days of deprivation of liberty counted until the day of his death.
  • More than 10,000 Cuban civilians, not affiliated with opposition organizations, are Convicts of Conscience, and are currently convicted of “pre-criminal” accusations, to sentences between 1 and 4 years without any crime alleged, by just their disaffection and critical status with the system.
  • 15 opponents of the list have already been named Prisoners of Conscience by Amnesty International, 6 of them in the last 2 months. 4 have received the support of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
  • There were several end of term of sentences, we must regret serious health problems in several inmates for the infamous prison conditions, which even ended with the death of one of the political prisoners in the hands of the regime, so the net list of 1 November 2019 of Cuban Prisoners Defenders throws 127 political convicts for opposition to the regime.

Political prisoners recognized in opposition to the Castro regime: November 1, 2019

We recognize in CPD, as of November 1, 2019, 127 political convicts by opposition to the regime but, in addition, other 10,000 civilians not belonging to opposition organizations, 8,000 of them convicted and 2,000 condemned, both groups on conscience with sentences of 1 to 4 years, for charges referred to in the Criminal Code as “pre-criminals”, that is , without any crime, which we discuss in section 2 of this press release.

The 127 condemned among opposition organizations are divided into Convicts of Conscience, Condemned of Conscience and Political Prisoners of other categories. The classification of these is as follows:

77 Convicts of Conscience

77 Convicts of Conscience, that are prisoners deprived of liberty solely for reasons of conscience, with accusations either completely and proven false or fabricated, or of a non-criminal nature and absolutely of thought. 6 of them have been named Prisoners of Conscience by Amnesty International in the last two months. They are Josiel Guía Piloto (PRC), Mitsael Díaz Paseiro (FNRC-OZT), Silverio Portal Contreras (previously linked to various organizations but now independent), Edilberto Ronal Arzuaga Alcalá (UNPACU), Eliécer Bandera Barreras (UNPACU) and Roberto de Jesús Quiñones Haces (lawyer and independent journalist). Another of the Prisoners of Conscience on the list, José Daniel Ferrer, was named in 2003 after the Black Spring of Cuba, and who has already spent more than 8 years in prison, has been imprisoned again.

This month there were 8 new convicts of conscience who entered prison:

  • José Daniel Ferrer (UNPACU), Roilán Zárraga Ferrer (UNPACU), Fernando González Vaillant (UNPACU), and José Pupo Chaveco (UNPACU), were subject to a combined action of more than 60 special forces, police and officials of the Ministry of Interior and Justice. They violently entered Mr. Ferrer’s home and arrested whoever were there, except for the wife of José Daniel Ferrer, Nelva Ismarays Ortega Tamayo and the couple’s two young children, 4 months and 2 years old. José Daniel Ferrer’s 16-year-old son, José Daniel Ferrer Cantillo, was also detained for 5 hours. On the 25th of October, those who were not detained on the 1st were also arrested, including the 4-month-old baby, who remained detained with his mother for more than 6 hours in a police station without any care. The 4 detainees (José Daniel, Roilán, Fernando and José) remain dissapeared, as well as unknown is the cause that allegedly could be attributed to them or is going to be fabricated. The United Nations, the OAS, Amnesty International, Civil Rights Defenders, Freedom House, IRI, the United States Government, and many other institutions, have claimed the violation of their rights.
  • Yasiel González Quijano (MCRR), who has been imprisoned after refusing, his stepfather and him, to change their right to maintain a critical attitude towards the government, with the fabrication of a false theft.
  • William Cruz Delgado (ASIC), sentenced to 1 year deprivation of liberty thanks to the fabrication of a contempt. He has been in prison since October 5.
  • Francisco García Puniel (FACOZT), who entered prison on October 14 fhanks to the fabrication of a contempt.
  • Eliober Fuste Zamora (PNC), to whom CPD has entered in its list this October after analyzing the case, when the details of it were receptioned, but who he has been in prison since July 13 of this year.

Among those convicted of conscience are 4 inmates for whom the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has granted Precautionary Measures of International Protection: Iván Amaro Hidalgo, Josiel Guía Piloto, Jesús Alfredo Pérez Rivas and Edilberto Ronal Arzuaga Alcalá. Another 2 Convicts of Conscience and one Condemned of Conscience are being monitored and defended by the United Nations Arbitrary Detention Working Group. They are Iván Amaro Hidalgo, Josiel Guía Piloto, and the Condemned of Conscience who spent more than a year in prison and is now under domicile under threats, Marbel Mendoza Reyes. On the other hand, fully completing their sentences were Yanier Suárez Tamayo and Nieves de la Caridad Matamoros González. Xiomara de las Mercedes Cruz Miranda obtained an extrapenal license for the very serious illness that seriously affects her life and that has occurred in circumstances that Prisoners Defenders is investigating with a team of medical professionals for clarification. Maykel Castillo Pérez, a critic musician who entered prison for opposing Decree 349, that restricts all artistic freedom in Cuba, left prison only one day after we made public that the United Nations radically condemned said Decree and that this artist was in prison for such unfair cause.

21 Condemned of Conscience

21 Condemned of Conscience, that they are condemned who suffer forced domiciliary work, measures of limitation of freedom or parole under threats, and that the regime, in addition, the State usually revokes and reinserts in prison if the activist does not cease in his pro-democratic activity. Salvador Reyes Peñas, hasta ahora Convicto de Conciencia pasó a engrosa esta lista al obtener este régimen de libertad condicional bajo amenaza de volver a prisión en cualquier momento ante el más mínimo activismo prodemocrático y pacífico.

29 other political prisoners

29 other political prisoners, not in the previous categories, in which there have been no releases or premature pardons, and among those there are the highest sentences and prisoners with longer periods of compliance in the prisons of the Cuban regime. Finally, it is regrettable to indicate that the list of political prisoners has been diminished by the death of political prisoner, Armando Sosa Fortuny, who spent 43 years in prison, and over 26 years in his last sentence until the day of his death. Armando Sosa Fortuny was the example of what the preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is named as the “supreme resource of the rebellion against tyranny and oppression”: rebellion. However, he could not reach to it because he was arrested before he could even concrete any act of such rebellion. Armando Sosa Fortuny faced a monster, the tyranny and the oppression, which exceeded his physical capacity but not his indomitable spirit of freedom.

The complete list can be obtained in this link:

10,000 prisoners of conscience for convictions named in the Criminal Code as “pre-criminal”

Prisoners Defenders also recognizes 10 thousand people who are Convicted or Condemned of Conscience for Pre-Criminal Security Measures, with penalties of 1 to 4 years. Prisoners Defenders and certain diplomats have the official documents of the government of Cuba that prove that there are 8,000 Convicts of Conscience in prison for these sentences and another 2,000 condemned to forced labor with, all of them, from 1 to 4 years’ penalties. In the near future, and in collaboration with various organizations, these documents will be made public. In addition, this figure has been contrasted by interpolation of methods and additional information, which corroborate them. On the one hand, prisons have been censored and the percentage of these sentences established, and on the other hand the information has been contrasted with an internal source of the highest level in the regime.

Current situation

These measures, up to 4 years in prison, are applied through articles of the Criminal Code that are infamous and violate the most basic principles of justice adopted by the entire International Community and explicitly prohibited in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The regime arbitrarily qualifies, isolates from the community and subsequently criminally condemns innocents by thousands each year, through the use of its Criminal Code:

  1. Qualification:
    •  “ARTICLE 72. The special proclivity in which a person is found to commit crimes is considered a dangerous state, demonstrated by the behavior observed in manifest contradiction with the norms of socialist morality
    • ARTICULE 73.2. There are considered in dangerous state those who … disturb the order of the community
  2. Isolation:
    • ARTICULE 75. Who, without being included in any of the dangerous states referred to in article 73, for their links or relationships with potentially dangerous persons [those previously described as antisocial] … shall be subject to warning by the competent police authority … reflected in minutes …
  3. Condemnation with 1 to 4 years:
    • ARTICULE 76. 1. Security measures may be decreed to prevent the commission of crimes or on the occasion of their commission. In the first case they are called pre-criminal security measures, and in the second, post-criminal security measures
    • ARTICULE 80. 1. The reeducational measures are: a) internment [prison] … b) delivery to a work group [forced labor] … 2. The reeducational measures are applied to antisocials. 3. The term of these measures is at least one year and a maximum of four.”

The legitimacy for the application of the previous precepts is determined arbitrarily according to the criteria of the judges and without ordinary criminal proceedings with the right to defense, summarily, according to the provisions of the Law of Criminal Procedure of Cuba, in its Article 404 and in its article 415, where it expressly indicates the summary process:

‘’ARTICLE 404. It is the responsibility of the Popular Municipal Courts to know the Pre-criminal Danger Indices and the imposition of security measures established in each case by the substantive Criminal Law. ’’

“ARTICLE 415. The declaration of the index of pre-criminal danger of antisocial conduct, is summarily decided …”

Measure as ultra-communist as Nazi and ultra-fascist, and which portrays the Castro regime

We reiterate that this measure, which was introduced in the 1979 Criminal Code, could well be described as ultra-fascist or ultra-communist, but not socialist, since it has its origin in Nazi and fascist laws, textually, of the Hitler and Franco dictators, in addition to the most radical communist legislative measures taken in Spain before the Spanish Civil War. The radical populist movements of the left and the far right tend to converge both in similar and shared methods to establish their power. Regarding both the radical ultra-right and radical ultra-left origin of these measures, it is enough to write down the evidence:

  • Pre-criminal convictions for antisocials are inspired by those present in Nazi Germany, paragraph 42 of the Third Reich Criminal Code of 1937, calling offenders volksschädling (antisocial), a categorization that included, among others, prostitutes, homosexuals, beggars, mentally ill people, repeaters of jokes and comments against the Nazis, but especially those they called “lazy.”
  • The Cuban law is a copy, textual in terminologies, and exact extracted sentences, to several Spanish laws, such as the “law of lazy people”, “La Gandula”, which was a law of the Spanish Criminal Order of August 4, 1933 approved by the Courts of the Second Republic, signed by Manuel Azaña as President of the Council of Ministers, and which was highly reinforced by the dictator Francisco Franco in 1954 and then in 1970 with the “law on dangerousness and social rehabilitation”, where in all they establish the terms “social dangerousness”, or “security measures”, exact terms and copied in the law of Cuba. The dictator Franco had the initiative to include homosexuals in the law, what Fidel Castro and his little brother Raul did through the Military Units of Production Aid (UMAP).

Previously in Cuba other measures were antecedents of the Criminal Code of 1979. The evolution of the Nazi and fascist copy is evident. In Cuba, before the “law on danger and social rehabilitation” it was taken the ” law of lazy people” as a model to inspire the “Law against laziness”. Later in 1979, they took the terminologies of the “law on dangerousness and social rehabilitation” from the dictator Franco’s legislation.

Also, the harassment of homosexuals was inspired by Cuba in the initiatives of the dictator Franco. The Military Production Aid Units (UMAP), for example, were labor camps that existed in Cuba between 1965 and 1968. There were about 25,000 men, basically young men of military age who for various reasons refused to do military service mandatory (members of some religions), were rejected in the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Cuba or, above all, for their proven or alleged homosexuality “bourgeois”, and they had to be “re-educated” by the revolutionary government. Simply disgusting. As are the words of Raúl Castro, then minister of the Revolutionary Armed Forces, in April 1966:

«In the first group of colleagues who have been part of the UMAP were included some young people who had not had the best behavior in life, young people who had taken a wrong path to society because of the bad training and influence of the environment and had been incorporated in order to help them find a successful path that allows them to join society fully» [1]

These words, together with the indescribable suffering of such people in these UMAPs, leave no doubt about the deep sociopathic and fascist personality that Raúl Castro suffered since 1966.

The Law of the Vague, or “Law against laziness”, Law No. 1231 of March 16, 1971 published in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Cuba in its ordinary edition of March 26, 1971, was a law similar to the pre-criminal, in fact, was its predecessor, and was established to solve a problem inherent in the legal and labor vacuum created by the dictatorship itself at the beginning. This law was repealed and replaced by the current Criminal Code of Cuba, which includes pre-criminal law, on February 15, 1979.

The Law of Vagrancy, or Law of the Vague, was born because the intervention of all private businesses by the revolution abruptly changed the order of things. The intervening forces came in the name of the “people” to appropriate the business and all its assets. The excuse was that business was left to the “people.” The problem was immediate: who would be responsible for everything to continue to work? Who had the knowledge and commitment to do so with adequate business knowledge and motivation?

Since nobody planned it, the results were catastrophic for productivity. Some of the workers kept jobs, which in number were diminishing day by day given the low productivity, but the owners were immediately unemployed. What would this people do, used to leading projects, that had also been stripped of their work without even having the right to manifest without disagreement? The State’s creative solution was that they had to work for the revolution or else they had to be applied the “Law of the Lazy.” Thus, the former entrepreneurs became defined as “lazy” if they refused to work in favor of the “revolutionary” State.

With coercive measures, therefore, the slavery of Cuban professionals began at the dawn of the “revolution”, slavery that prevails in the Cuban medical missions, but also with all qualified Cuban professionals on and off the island, including the artists who work on behalf of the State.

By this Law against laziness of 1971 thousands of people were forced to perform heavy manual labor that none of them wanted to do. The composition of the group that the authorities considered “lazy” was finally applied to a mass of very heterogeneous people. There were those who, for various reasons, had been unemployed for a long time, such as the aforementioned entrepreneurs. Also affected were some who were caught in transit from one occupation to another, those who were leaving the country, or those who had just finished Compulsory Military Service and had no work location. It was the beginning of the 70s and Cuba already had a massive slavery law in a society that was just 10 years before of an entrepreneurial nature.

Once in the labor camps, the subjects were considered prisoners: anyone who left the place without authorization would be arrested, tried and sentenced to serve up to five years in prison.

The law fundamentally considers laziness as a pre-criminal state and so that state is clearly determined. An interesting study of this Law, and from which we have taken some references, among many other sources, can be read in this link.

Analysis on the duration and nature of the sentences

Regarding the duration of the sentences in force as of September 1, 2019, we see how the average of sentences in the Convicts of Conscience is located in the 4 years and 3 months, being the standard deviation of the series of sentences of 3 years. The great variability is due, together with the immense changes to the list this month, to the fact that there are 10 political prisoners who are in prison without trial and that in this series we have included prisoners who, like Lázaro Romero Hurtado or Bianko Vargas Martín, their sentences exceed 15 years in prison, despite the deviation to the set they might cause.

The slightest pro-democratic activism in Cuba is being paid, therefore on average and usually, with sentences of 4 years and 3 months imprisonment:

As for political prisoners who cannot be considered conscientious (third section of the list of Prisoners Defenders) solely for having attended other circumstances in their acts (the purely political condemnation caused timely overlapped with another accusation of common type, usually of low criminal entity), 29 cases, the sentences are distributed in a more radical way, the most usual being life imprisonment:

More than 72% of the political convictions of this group of 29 prisoners, in which there has been an aggravating crime in the events of opposition to the system and that cannot be framed exclusively in the context of “conscience”, have penalties over 20 years.

Knowledgeable of the application of these terrible sentences, that is why the opposition in Cuba is only peaceful and verbal. There is no possibility of obtaining sentences under 20 years when the activist makes the mistake of performing any act contrary to the criminal code on a crime considered common, and that is why the opposition is almost completely framed in a peaceful and conscientious action.

Even so, the work of Amnesty International and Prisoners Defenders has shown that the Cuban government imputes common crimes that are proven to be false to peaceful human rights activists.

Therefore, it is being progressively achieved that human rights organizations validate as cases of conscience penalties in which the regime falsely attributes violent attitudes to prominent members of peaceful opposition organizations, since the causes, once analysed, are unlikely and legally unsustainable.

Most representative pacific organizations

As for the organizations to which the convicted and/or condemned of conscience activists belong, the most prominent group is the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), with 52 pacific activists of conscience, convicted or condemned by belonging to that organization, [2] 53% of the total censored in Cuba by CPD, with a figure that is similar to last month for this organization: [3]

About Cuban Prisoners Defenders

Cuban Prisoners Defenders is an independent group of analysis, study and legal action, which counts on the collaboration of all dissident groups on the island and the relatives of political prisoners to gather information and promote the freedom of all political prisoners and rights Humans in Cuba. Cuban Prisoners Defenders is part of Prisoners Defenders International Network, a legally registered association based in Madrid, Spain, whose focus of action is the promotion and defense of human rights and democratic values, and whose Internet address is

The works of Cuban Prisoners Defenders are adopted by numerous institutions and are sent, among others, to the United Nations Organization, Organization of American States, Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Civil Rights Defenders. Freedom House, European Parliament, United States Congress and Senate FNCA, ASIC, UNPACU, Government of Spain, Spanish Transition Foundation, International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights, FANTU, Party for Democracy Pedro Luis Boitel, College of Pedagogues Independent of Cuba and the Citizen Movement Reflection and Reconciliation, among many other institutions and organizations of equal relevance.

REQUEST FOR REPORTS: Entities wishing to receive the work of Cuban Prisoners Defenders (list of political prisoners and of conscience, legal studies of political prisoners, legal studies on Cuba, studies on repression and prisons in Cuba, etc) please contact Cuban Prisoners Defenders at or by whatsapp or phone at +34 647564741. Disambiguation: Prisoners Defenders generates its contents and reports in Spanish, and then translates them into other languages with the sole purpose of facilitating reading, but in case of any need for nuance or disambiguation, it will be the reports generated in Spanish that prevail and are official, unless explicitly stated otherwise.

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[1] Mapa de la homofobia. Cronología de la represión y censura a homosexuales, travestis y transexuales en la Isla, desde 1962 hasta la fecha:

[2] One of the activists convicted by belonging to UNPACU was expelled from this organization for collaborating with the political police once inside the prison.

[3] On the total of the Convicts of Conscience and the Condemned of Conscience censored. That is, 98 = 77 + 21.

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