Skip to comments.Opposition: Number of Political Prisoners in Cuba Decreases, but Repression Continues
Posted on 08/12/2008 10:31:04 AM PDT by rrstar96
HAVANA (AFP) - The number of political prisoners in Cuba decreased from 234 to 219 in the last 6 months, but the human-rights situation remains "very unfavorable" under the government of Raúl Castro, an officially-illegal dissident commission denounced this Tuesday.
"Two years after certain readjustments at the high governing level, the civil-, political-, and economic-rights situation....remains very unfavorable," the Cuban Human Rights & National Reconciliation Commission (CCDHRN) said.
According to a report by this illegal commission, "arbitrary systematic" detentions and threats from the "enormous political and social repression apparatus" persist following Fidel Castro's illness-related exit from the government and his replacement with his brother Raúl.
In January 2008, there were at least 234 political prisoners, and 219 in late July. "It can be noticed that the difference between both figures is minimal" and the number remains "high", [the report] adds.
The text maintains that the government substituted brief and arbitrary arrests for long prison sentences, 640 of the former having been registered during the first semester [of 2008], compared to 325 for all of 2007.
It adds that the number of political prisoners is "one of the highest in the world" in relative terms, but that there is under-registering "due to the closed nature of the totalitarian regime."
The CCDHRN pointed out that, given "the government's lack of political will", there is "little probability the civil-, political-, and economic-rights situation in Cuba will improve, at least in the short term."
In addition, it foresees that, that in the international sphere, Cuba "will remain in collusion with the world's worst regimes (Zimbabwe, Sudan, Equatorial Guinea, Burma, North Korea) to block or delay any initiative within the U.N. system."
"Within that group of states, the government of Cuba will continue to play a negative leadership role," the report for the first semester of 2008 signed by Elizardo Sánchez detailed.
The CCDHRN considers that the death sentences Raúl Castro commuted in April "were between 20 and 30," but it denounces that the prisoners "remain in death row."
The dissidents ask for "the immediate ratification, with no reservations, or the least number of them" of the two U.N. Human Rights Pacts Cuba signed on to in February.
Of the 219 political prisoners, 67 were adopted as prisoners of conscience by Amnesty International. Havana considers the opponents "mercenaries" of the United States.