Human rights abuses in Cuba
Miami Herald: The State Department’s latest report on human-rights practices effectively puts the lie to the idea that the piecemeal and illusory changes in Cuba under Gen. Raul Castro represent a genuine political opening toward greater freedom.
If anything, things are getting worse. The report, which covers 2012, says the independent Cuban Commission on Human Rights and Reconciliation counted 6,602 short-term detentions during the year, compared with 4,123 in 2011. In March 2012, the same commission recorded a 30-year record high of 1,158 short-term detentions in a single month just before the visit of Pope Benedict XVI.
Among the many abuses cited by the 2012 report are the prison sentences handed out to members of the Unisn Patriotica de Cuba, the estimated 3,000 citizens held under the charge of “potential dangerousness,” state-orchestrated assaults against the Damas de Blanco (Ladies in White), the suspicious death of dissident Oswaldo Paya and so on.
As in any dictatorship, telling the truth is a crime: Independent journalist Calixto Ramon Martinez Arias, the first to report on the cholera outbreak in Cuba, was jailed in September for the crime of desacato (insulting speech) and remained there until last week.
The regime is willing to undertake some meek economic reforms to keep people employed, but these are short-term survival measures, designed as escape valves for growing internal pressure. But when it comes to free speech, political activity and freedom of association the Castro regime’s only response is not a chance.
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