3 new political prisoners in March make 128 condemned among the opposition in Cuba

Prisoners Defenders

Cuban Prisoners Defenders’ report, April 1, 2020:

Prisoners Defenders updates its list of political prisoners

  • Of the 128 convicts present on our list, (see list) this March there have been 3 new, two Convicts of Conscience and one Condemned of Conscience, who entered it during the month of March.
  • Yanier Joubert Cisneros (UNPACU) and Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara (artist from the San Isidro Movement) joined the list in March as convicts of conscience, although the last one was recently released, and Omar Portieles Camejo (UNPACU) as convicted of conscience with a sentence of forced labour without internment due to pre-criminal social danger.
  • In the last 7 months, 24 new Convicts of Conscience have entered the list of Prisoners Defenders, indicating that Cuba continues to be at the highest level with respect to the imprisonment of dissent.
  • As we have previously reported, all the indicators point to the increase in the repression of the “regime” due to an ideological weakening of the implanted system, which is beginning to have “notable” critics who could be one more critical factor in achieving democratic changes in Cuba.
  • The political prisoners have supposed a first clash of opinions between the “regime”, which holds power as granted by article 5 of its Constitution, and the “apparent” president of the country, Miguel Díaz-Canel

Recognized political prisoners in opposition to the Castro Regime: April 1, 2020

We recognize in CPD, as of April 1, 2020, 128 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-criminal”, that is, without any crime, which we discuss in section 3 of this press release.

The 128 politically 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:

73 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. 7 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), Roberto de Jesús Quiñones Haces (lawyer and independent journalist) and Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara (artist from the San Isidro Movement).

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 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).

It’s worth to indicate, too, 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 2 new convicts of conscience entered our list, Yanier Joubert Cisneros (UNPACU) and Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara (artist of the San Isidro Movement). The first entered prison, sentenced to 3 years for unpaying arbitrary fines. The second entered prison for his revelry against Decree 349.

Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara was under house arrest for a cause of “aggravated contempt” when he suffered an unexplained change in measures and returned to prison. In those same days he was accused of damage to property, and in parallel the regime created yet another cause for outrage against the symbols of the homeland for his art work “The flag as a second skin”. International pressure led Miguel Díaz-Canel to communicate to José Ramón Machado Ventura, Second Secretary of the Communist Party, the need for his release, which, after consulting with Raúl Castro, he refused. It was only after Silvio Rodríguez wrote the words that defeated the repressive attitude of Machado Ventura and, of course, the attitude of the one who gave the order, Raúl Castro, that Luis Manuel Alcántara obtained freedom, as a consequence of the hypocritical attitude that leads the Communist Party to punctually moderate the constant excess of repression only to maintain social calm among the bases that, like Silvio, for years have maintained and encouraged, sometimes actively and sometimes by omission, the brutal repression. It is significant and positive, however, that Silvio enters the political arena and undoes what he has wrongly been doing to contribute to the best of his ability to stop the barbarism. The words of Silvio Rodríguez still pleasantly surprise almost a month after they were written: “I think that the country has enough problems with its destructive enemies and also with other internal, who are malfunctioning, that for every 5 minutes we are involved in a scandal about freedoms. There has to be another more sensible and intelligent way to deal with these issues than they are obviously being dealt with. There is no week in which there is no such show. It is a constant mockery. Moreover, it is shameful. I would put those who promote those policies in jail. They are discrediting the country.” After this writing, Luis Manuel Alcántara was released.

Lázaro Rodríguez Betancourt, independent artist best-known in the artistic world as Pupito en Sy, has been sentenced to 3 more years of deprivation of liberty this past month. Pupito was in prison for opposing Decree 349. International pressure led to his release in September 2019, after spending more than 10 months in prison. The trial seemed to be frozen.

In November, inspectors asked him to enter his house to perform a mosquito study of his water tank, and he told them that the tank was outside the house and therefore they did not have to enter his house to do so. Although, evidently, they did not find any health problem, they recorded the facts as the denial of an epidemiological inspection in his home, they brought him to trial and sentenced him to one year in prison for “spread of epidemic”. Immediately afterwards, the courts reinstated the previous case for opposing Decree 349, namely of “attack” and “contempt”, that had been frozen by the international pressure, and sentenced him to another 3 years in prison.

Aymara Nieto Muñoz, Lady in White and UNPACU activist, was transferred, without any justified cause, from Havana to Las Tunas to a prison more than 600 km away from her home.

Eider Frómeta Allen‘s mother reports that her son, Convicted of Conscience, had a new cause created in prison and he was sentenced to one more year in prison. It consisted of a falsely creation of a problem with a common prisoner who, working for the State Security, it put him in Eider’s cell to fabricate the situation. Although he asked to be transferred, the prison denied him this option until the false cause was created.

Two convicts of conscience were released from prison for different causes. Ismael Boris Reñi (UNPACU) was released for full compliance with his false 2-year contempt sentence. For her part, Ayda Expósito Leiva (a Christian who went to prison for applying homeschooling to her children to avoid Castroist indoctrination in schools, a case whose coverage would mean prison for Roberto Quiñones) went on parole under threats.

26 Condemned of Conscience

These suffer forced domiciliary work, measures of limitation of freedom or parole under threats, and that the regime, in addition, usually revokes and reinserts them in prison if the activists do not cease in their 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. Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara was a clear example of this during the month of March and Lázaro Rodríguez Betancourt in past months, among many other cases. Omar Portieles Camejo was summarily prosecuted for Pre-Criminal Social Danger and sentenced to one year of forced labour without internment, adding his case to this list.

29 other political prisoners

A group that’s not included in the previous categories, and 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.

The complete list can be obtained in this link:

The responsibility of the personalities who sustained the regime

As we have been communicating for months, Prisoners Defenders begins to see a growth in the incipient ideological separation between the different sensibilities of those who until recently formed a monolithic ideological whole with the regime, allowing it to carry out repression without barriers or internal censorship. The repression of human rights at this time, despite and precisely because of this ideological weakness, is growing and can be expected to grow further.

Added to this is the greater fundamental ideological distance between the State of Cuba, that is, those officials who are not part of the regime and who suffer against their most intimate will the same yoke of oppression to which the common citizen of the the island and professionals on foreign missions, and the Cuban Regime (fundamentally the dark apparatus of State Security personally directed by Raúl Castro and a handful of politicians and military personnel he trusts). However, it is necessary that the officials and positions that want a prosperous Cuba fight for the rights that are radically violated today.

We have encouraged, and will encourage, people of media relevance who are “untouchable” for the regime to speak out for a Cuba with a rational and rights-based future, as has been the case with singer-songwriter Silvio Rodríguez, who recently spoke about the arrest of the artist Luis Manuel Alcántara: “I think that the country has enough problems with its destructive enemies and also with other internal, who are malfunctioning, that for every 5 minutes we are involved in a scandal about freedoms. There has to be another more sensible and intelligent way to deal with these issues than they are obviously being dealt with. There is no week in which there is no such show. It is a constant mockery. Moreover, it is shameful. I would put those who promote those policies in jail. They are discrediting the country.

The historical responsibility of each Cuban, of each official, and much more that of these “untouchable” personalities for the regime, is evident. They cannot look the other way while the regime subjugates the population and the State itself, keeping Cuba as a wasteland in terms of liberties and progress, and exempt from any personal and social, individual and collective hope. We hope that each one understands their strength and their possibilities to exert pressure for the inclusive change that Cuba needs.

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.

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.

In addition, 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. [1] 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» [2]

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 info@prisonersdefenders.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.

[1] Cuba, Fidel Castro, los gays y el legado de “Fresa y chocolate”:

[2] Homophobia map. Chronology of repression and censorship of homosexuals, transvestites and transsexuals on the Island, from 1962 to date:

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