Cuban Prisoners Defenders’ report, March 2, 2020:
- From the 127, (see list) a new Convict of Conscience integrates our list: Luis Ángel Leyva Domínguez (UNPACU). In the last 6 months, 22 new Convicts of Conscience have entered the list of Cuban Prisoners Defenders.
- The reports and/or declarations of the UN, the Borrell team’s and the European socialists’, in recent weeks/days, aligning with the demand for human rights that drive regional organizations, such as are the IACHR and the OAS, corner the regime and empower government officials who disagree with the regime and its state of widespread repression which even affects the State to start developing changes.
- From Prisoners Defenders we see the message of the Socialists and the High Representative Borrell team’s message as a giant step towards the correct approach to solutions to Cuba’s problems: respect for human rights.
- It is therefore found that the EU and the United States have the same diagnosis, although they differ in the possible solutions, a fact that should not be an obstacle, now, to be able to carry out a more coordinated and joint strategy that offers the best results in the search for the aforementioned purpose, in a coordinated manner and in synergy with regional organizations such as the OAS and the IACHR.
- Since the end of 2018, there has been a marked increase in the repression, control and cold war rhetoric of the elements of the «regime».
- Prisoners Defenders frames the increase in the repression of the «regime» as a sign of weakness of its apparatus as, while being well-known that it is the author of the ideological transgressions to an ideology that at the same time it promulgates, it tries to control an increasingly disaffected population of the prevailing system, even among the cadres, and an international public opinion that is less and less manipulable.
1. Recognized political prisoners in opposition to the Castro Regime: March 1, 2020
We recognize in CPD, as of March 1, 2020, 127 political convicts and condemned by opposition to the regime but, in addition, other 11,000 civilians not belonging to opposition organizations, 8,400 of them convicted and 2,538 condemned, both groups on conscience with average sentences of 2 years and 10 months, 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:
74 Convicts of Conscience
These 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 six 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). For Roberto Quiñones and Josiel Guía Piloto, in addition, the United Nations has highlighted the arbitrariness of their arrests in reports dated November 15, 2019 the first, and February 11, 2020 the second, indicating the need for their release, that of two other activists, Marbel Mendoza Reyes and Iván Amaro HIdalgo, and the cessation of the persecution to which both independent journalists and human rights defenders in Cuba are subjected, as well as the dependence of the legal profession and judicial processes to the executive power, as well as multiple mechanisms designed to prevent alternative expression (See UN report on Roberto Quiñones and see UN Report on Josiel Pilot Guide, Iván Amaro Hidalgo and Marbel Mendoza Reyes).
Finally, indicate that 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.
This month there was 1 new convict of conscience who entered prison, Luis Ángel Leyva Domínguez (UNPACU), whose case is especially tragic. He was arrested on February 12 when he was going to the hospital to visit his three-month-old daughter, who was dehydrated in the intensive care room of the pediatric hospital of Palma Soriano. The food he was carrying was seized and thrown away by the police. Six police officers arrested him, beat him and put him on patrol. He made a hunger strike for a week, demanding his release and in that state was taken to a summary trial. The trial was held behind closed doors on February 17, and he was not allowed to bring witnesses or the assistance of his relatives. The lawyer was ex officio.
Other prisoners served the sentence with integrity and were released (Misael Espinosa Puebla and Ovidio Martín Castellanos), and Francisco García Puniel was released on February 5 after the court ordered a change of cause.
24 Condemned of Conscience
These ones 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. Those present on this list are, therefore, highly threatened and in the process of conviction again any time because of their manifestation of conscience or their activism. A new Convict of conscience has passed to this list as a result of his change of situation: José Luis Álvarez Chacón passed to house prison in a five-year sanction he began serving in December 2016. Salvador Reyes Peña, in turn, fulfilled his sentence on February 16 and has been removed from this list.
29 other political prisoners
They are not in the previous categories, and from these there have been no releases or premature pardons, and among these there are the highest sentences and prisoners with longer periods of compliance in the prisons of the Cuban regime.
The complete list can be obtained in this link:
2. The Case Ferrer approximates democrats: the Cuba Regime is isolating
The trial of one of the Prisoners of Conscience on the list, José Daniel Ferrer, appointed so in 2003 after the Black Spring of Cuba, founder and General Coordinator of the peaceful opposition Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) captured all the attention of different international organizations. This has had a disastrous collateral effect for the island’s regime: it has captured all the world’s attention at the time the largest number of resolutions in the last 15 years by the United Nations have exposed the gravest violations of human rights in Cuba. Cuba has taken a step whose reversibility passes through the inevitable freedom of Ferrer, but not only that will be enough.
Ferrer’s freedom is defended by, among others, the European Socialist Group of parliamentarians, who met last week with the Cuban government and the Legislative Assembly and later gave a firm press conference where they expressed concern about the Ferrer case and violations of human rights, at the same time that they exposed their position contrary to the United States trade embargo and support for the process of dialogue with the European Union, which leaves their position without criticism on the island. Ferrer’s freedom is also supported by the IACHR, which he recalled has precautionary measures that must be respected, his case is defended by the OAS, which defends his immediate freedom, by the UN, which has denounced very serious irregularities in his process, by the European Union, which has demanded its freedom both from the European Commission and from the Parliament, the United States, that have issued a statement for his release, and by numerous non-governmental organizations, such as Amnesty International, Freedom House or Civil Rights Defenders, among many others.
In fact, by this case, and as a result of the different human rights violations in Cuba that have gained unprecedented dissemination, there is a unity of diplomatic and political criteria on the globe, at the public level, as it has not been seen for many years about human rights violations in Cuba. All this together with a geopolitical situation of self-isolation and very negative confrontation for the «regime».
The different solutions of some (the dialogue, in the case of the EU), and others (the economic pressure, in the case of the US), so far suffered from the exercise of the fundamental unanimous political pressure, firm but diplomatic at the same time, that must unite all those who, under minimums, know well, now encouraged even by the United Nations, that the most fundamental human rights are violated in Cuba. The United States issued a diplomatic note for the freedom of José Daniel Ferrer who had the same format of respect, something that allows the message to penetrate among the Cuban State, as of demanding basis. Similarly, the European Commission statement was as respectful, because it did not express a threat in terms of dialogue («a word to the wise in enough»), as well as firmness. Something he already did first, in a more subtle but very obvious way, King Felipe VI on his last visit to Cuba. The key to both messages now lies in the fact that certain officers and positions of the Cuban State, moderate and liberal, feel empowered to fight to decouple State decisions from the dark hand of the terrible repressive apparatus, the «regime», whose sole purpose is its livelihood at the expense of any of the more than 11 million Cuban citizens living on the island, including any of the State officials.
The case of the top leader of the judiciary of Cuba, Edel González Jiménez, who belonged to the State apparatus but was against the interference of State Security in his social mission, allows us to foresee that in the State there may be similar initiatives that, without the intention of changing the system with respect to its roots, instead try to make it compatible with human rights, which all of them know that today does not happen.
Given this scenario, Cuba would face the situation not only of not having its own productive economy, but an inability to continue altering the image of what really happens on the island in the field of human rights, and a geopolitical situation that, for the first time in many years, does not favor it in any way.
The Cubans, tired of 60 years of sacrifices in pursuit of something that they already desmerit and most of them not believe anymore (the communist party does not stop having casualties among the population, and only a minor part of the mid-range officials are from the communist party) , begin to have spontaneous manifestations of confrontation with elite police and military forces, something that is not remembered had ever happen in many years.
For Prisoners Defenders, the obvious solution is to make progress and changes in human rights ostensibly and as quickly as possible. First, correcting, as an obvious demonstration, the great icons of this unreasonableness, such as the review of all judicial cases of political prisoners, which would result in their release not as hostages of a negotiation, but as the sovereign assumption of past mistakes, or as the economic freedom of the self-employed, to raise the economy of the country, or as the extension of the guarantees of right of the investments before the State in the Law of Foreign Investment that makes them really safe, or how to regulate the capacity that any organization of defense of human rights or different political ideology can be registered and operate legally without persecution and even be entitled to press and television spaces as long as it has and obtains followers or representatives in the elections at the local level. In addition, due to the current geopolitical circumstances, the withdrawal of Cuba from Venezuela as a minimum would be imperative. This aspect, the most delicate, because the Cuban economy depends on it, would have to be subject to frank and direct negotiation in the set of measures if one wants to expect a speedy transition supported by the economy of other much bigger countries.
But the «regime» should be in a hurry. After all, it seems clear that Maduro’s dictatorship is destined to fail, which would lead to an unprecedented crisis in Cuba that both «regime» and «State» in Cuba fear greatly, and against which the State should propose solutions above the criteria of State Security.
Indeed, Latin American, American and European diplomats, consulted by Prisoners Defenders, have stated that, in the face of any such real step, relations with Cuba and international credit and resources that would open would not have a precedent for its magnitude. “The economy of the island could multiply in just 5 years and be a paradigm of economic and political transition. We believe in the strength and the Cuban spirit, but this one is bound by a cell that is more repressive than ideological today. Almost no one in the State believes that repressive communism is a valid ideological path or political solution. The great future of Cuba is now being inhibited by its State Security apparatus and also, at this time, without this neither benefiting anyone from the State nor the nation. The damage is widespread. The tiredness of the solution based on confrontation and brutality is usually found among the members of the state apparatus. They themselves want changes”, a senior diplomat who has preferred to remain in a discreet plane told us in frank conversation.
3. Proven: 11,000 prisoners of conscience for convictions defined in the Criminal Code as “pre-criminal”
Prisoners Defenders also recognizes 11 thousand people who are Convicted or Condemned of Conscience for Pre-Criminal Security Measures, with penalties from 1 to 4 years. Prisoners Defenders, certain journalists and diplomats have the official documents of the government of Cuba that prove that there are 9,000 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 very near future, and in collaboration with various organizations, these documents will be made public.
Prisoners Defenders made this report public on January 13 as well as supporting documents to press media and diplomats. Given the undisputed analysis of experts presented along with the documents, this information had a relevant impact in numerous countries (New York Times, Telegraph, ABC, Le Point…). As examples, also, Prisoners Defenders made public a representative part of the hundreds of conviction cards of said inmates (See actual examples of said files).
In all of them it is appreciated that the cases are not personalized, but qualified with exactly the same 3/4 sentences:
«PROVEN THAT THE ACCUSED WAS NOT FOUND LABORALLY LINKED OR BELONGED TO ANY ORGANIZATION OF MASSES [all the mass organizations are the ones subjugated to the Communist Party], IN ADDITION TO MEETING WITH ANTISOCIAL ELEMENTS AND ALTERING THE PUBLIC ORDER [however, there are no criminal offenses or court cases public order put in place,but it is only a police assessment] IN STATE OF INEBRIATION [in all 8,400 cases the phrases are similar, there are only a few models]. HE WAS INFORMED IN MANY OCCASIONS BY HIS HEAD OF SECTOR AND COMMUNITY FACTORS [leaders of the Communist Party organizations] THEREFORE IT IS PROCESSED TO THE MEASURE OF ASSURANCE BY THE MUNICIPAL COURT OF HAVANA CENTER. CONDEMNATION: 3 YEARS OF DEPRIVATION OF FREEDOM”
A simple police report with evaluative aspects, identical for all those convicted and condemned, and are treated in summary judicial proceedings, without any principle of contradiction, and with an inquisitorial form (without the principle of contradiction or the ability to present evidence to the contrary), it’s cause for 11,000 people, without any offense/crime committed, serve sentences of 2 years and 10 months of imprisonment on average.
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:
- “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…”
- “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 …”
- 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» Raúl Castro
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.
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 www.prisonersdefenders.org.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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. Our website is www.prisonersdefenders.org and our Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/CubanDefenders. Our Twitter, in addition, is @CubanDefenders.
 Homophobia map. Chronology of repression and censorship of homosexuals, transvestites and transsexuals on the Island, from 1962 to date: