CubaBrief: Int’l orgs call for freedom of all Cuban political prisoners and a country visit by a UN or inter-American delegation to verify state of political prisoners in Cuba.

The European Parliament today debated the breach of human rights in Cuba, and passed a resolution calling “for the immediate and unconditional release of José Daniel Ferrer, ‘Lady in White’ Aymara Nieto, Maykel Castillo, Luis Robles, Félix Navarro, Luis Manuel Otero, Reverend Lorenzo Rosales Fajardo and Andy Dunier García, and all those detained for exercising their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. The text notes, however, that these individuals are but a few examples of the hundreds of Cubans facing injustice and repression imposed by the country’s government.” Watch the debate in the video below.

The General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (OAS) issued a statement on political prisoners in Cuba demanding “the immediate release of all political prisoners who are arbitrarily imprisoned, while stressing that it is essential to remain attentive to the evolution of their health conditions and physical integrity.” The Secretariat also urged Havana “to immediately allow a visit to the country by a Humanitarian Mission of the universal and/or inter-American system for the protection of Human Rights that can verify the state and situation of political prisoners in the country.”

Felix Navarro (Left), and his daughter Sayli Navarro (Center) face prison for defending human rights.

Both the OAS and the European Parliament expressed concern over the plight of José Daniel Ferrer, of the Patriotic Union of Cuba. René Gómez Manzano, president of International Society for Human Rights (ISHR) -Cuba reports on the fate of the civil rights activist Felix Navarro, who is a member of the board of directors of ISHR Cuba, and has been arbitrarily jailed since July 12, 2021.Felix’s daughter, Sayli Navarro, a human rights defender in her own right and spoke out against her father’s arbitrary detention faces the possibility of an 11 year prison sentence. Brian A. Nichols, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, on December 15th tweeted about Sayli’s plight with the hashtag “#JailedForWhat”?

The European Parliament in their resolution referred to “hundreds of Cubans facing injustice and repression”, but Dr. Óscar Elías Biscet González in his OpEd published in Diario las Americas on December 15th highlighted and named scores of Cuban children jailed for their nonviolent exercise of their human rights:

Children ages 14 – 16 years

Christorpher Lleonart Santana (14 years); Leosvani Giménez Guzmán, (15 years ); Rubén Alejandro Parra Ricardo (15 years ); Rafael Jesús Núñez Echenique (16 years ); Glenda de la Caridad Marrero Cartaya (15  years ); William Chenier Ríos Arrieta (16  years ); Aniel Axel López Ramírez (16 years ); Giuseppe Belaunzaran Guada (16  years ); Leyany Hernández… (16  years ); Luis Manuel Díaz García (16  years ); Oscar Raúl Padilla Méndez (16  years ); Yasir Gámez García (16  years ); Exeny Beirut Sevilla (16  years ) and Brayan Piloto Pupo (16 years)

Females ages 17 – 18 years old

Gabriela Zequeira Hernández (17 years ); Exeynt Beirut Sevilla (17 years ); Amanda Hernández Celeya (17 years ); Karen Laura López González (17 years ); Katherine Martin (17  years ); Beatriz Valdés García (17  years ); Keyla Roxana Mulet Calderón (17  years ); Amanda Esther Reyes Izquierdo (18  years ); Lauren Martínez Ibáñez (18  years ); Nara Kelly Clavijo Jiménez (18 years ); Yerandi Sosa Bausalti (18 years ); and Yovanna Ávila (18  years ).

Males ages 17 – 18 years

Jonathan Torres Farrat (17 years ); Brandon David Becerra Curbelo (17 years ); Lázaro Noel Urguelles Fajardo (17 years ); Nelson Nestor Riveron Garzon (17 years ); Rowland Jesús Castillo Castro (17 years ); Yanquier Sardiñas Franco (17 years ); Yerman David Gutiérrez Dueñas (17 years ); Emiyoslan Román Rodríguez (17 years ); Alexander Morejón Hernández (17 years ); Andro Reyes (17  years ); Ayan Idalberto Jover Cardoza (17 years ); Alexander Morejón Hernández (17 years ); Bryhan Falcon Jaca (17 years ); Cristofer Galvez Santana (17 years ); Ernesto Abelardo Martínez Pérez (17 years ); Giancarlos Álvarez Arriete (17 years ); Jorge Enrique González Pérez (17 years ); Marcos Antonio Pérez Fernández (17 years ); Raúl Fontanillas Reyes (17 years ); Rey Alejandro Martínez Tamayo (17 years ); Raúl Xavier Díaz Pérez (17  years ); Samuel Torres Duran (17 años) y Yeral Michel Palacios Román (17 años). Marco Antonio Pintueles Marrero (18 años); Yeinier Ibañez Boudet (18 años); Yensy Jorge Machado González (18 años); Cristian Michel Scull Aranguren (18 years ); Eloy Bárbaro Cardoso Pedroso (18  years ); Alejandro Limonta Borge (18  years ); Alexander Piñeiro Pérez (18  years ); Francisco Javier González Hernández (18  years ); Harold Porto Venzant (18  years ); Jorge Luis Martínez García (18 years ); Kervin (Kender) Pezeta Godswold (18 years ); Vladimir Andreu Fernández (18  years ); Xaviel Álvarez García (18 years ); Yoel Ricardo Sánchez Borjas (18  years ) and Yohan Carlos López (18 years ).

This is a partial snapshot of the human rights crisis unfolding in Cuba today.

https://www.diariolasamericas.com/opinion/cuba-los-ninos-prisioneros-politicos-la-explosion-social-del-11j-n4239104

International Society for Human Rights, December 16, 2021

Felix Navarro

For more than five months now, Felix Navarro, a 58-year-old former teacher, has been imprisoned again in Matanzas, more than 100 kilometers east of Havana. Navarro did not participate in the massive protests occurred in the island on July 11, instead he was arrested and is currently prosecuted for inquiring about arrested members of the political party he presides “Pedro Luis Botiel” in a police station in Matanzas, the day after the events, on July 12.

Felix Navarro in the face of communist repression

One of the main leaders of the peaceful Cuban opposition has been imprisoned again by the Castro regime

Havana/December 15, 2021 – The fate of prominent Cuban opposition leader Felix Navarro Rodriguez is once again at the forefront of the international democratic press. For more than five months now, Felix, a 58-year-old former teacher, has been imprisoned once again in his native province of Matanzas, more than 100 kilometers east of Havana.

As it is known, this confinement represents nothing new in the life of the combative fighter against communist totalitarianism. In 2003, on direct orders from Fidel Castro, 75 peaceful opponents, independent journalists and human rights defenders were arrested in just a few hours and subjected in a matter of days to shameful judicial farces. This is what is known as the “Black Spring”. One of those Cubans was Felix Navarro.

In his specific case, because he was the leader of the Movement for Democracy “Pedro Luis Boitel”, he was sentenced to a whopping five years in prison! He was recognized as a prisoner of conscience. Due to his stance of not accepting his release in exchange for going into exile, he was one of the last prisoners of that “Black Spring” to be released. This was in March 2011.

Subsequently, and despite the fact that he had yet to serve 17 years of his unjust sentence, Felix continued his peaceful pro-democracy activity. He was recognized as one of the most prominent anti-communist leaders in all of Cuba, along with personalities such as José Daniel Ferrer Garcia, Guillermo (“Coco”) Fariñas Hernández and others.

The arrest that led to his current imprisonment occurred as a result of the Great National Anticommunist Uprising of July 11. This began as a protest in the small village of San Antonio de los Baños, about fifty miles southwest of the capital. As citizens from all over Cuba found out what was happening thanks to social media networks, more and more places where the popular discontent broke out, until it reached fifty places (sometimes several of them belonging to the same city, as it happened in the capital of the island).

One of those points was the town of Perico, a municipal capital located some 140 kilometers east of Havana, where Felix Navarro and his family live. But the arrest of the opposition leader did not take place on the same day of the uprising, but the following day: July 12. The pretext for this was the mere fact of going to the local police station to inquire about the fate of several members of his organization who had been arrested the day before.

Since then, the independent Cuban press (not the official press, of course, which is completely silent on the matter!) has been reporting on the harsh repression suffered by Felix in the Agüica prison where he is being held. It is a penitentiary center that the author of these lines knows well, since he was imprisoned there for years during his first political imprisonment. It is, to tell the truth, a true branch of terror.

The cruelty suffered there by Navarro was so great that he was forced to go on hunger strike from August 23 to September 21, in protest against the very fact of his imprisonment and the terrible conditions in which he was being held. Last Friday, August 10, the emblematic prisoner of conscience received a visit from his wife and daughter. Both ladies were able to see that the prisoner of conscience was somewhat recovered from the effects of the hunger strike, although he was still very thin and weak.

It is necessary for international public opinion to pronounce itself on the situation faced by exemplary men such as Felix Navarro himself or the aforementioned Jose Daniel Ferrer. Or others who are younger and who (precisely as a result of their young age) have less seniority in the pro-democracy struggles. This is the case of artists Luis Manuel Otero and Maykel Castillo (“Osorbo”).
Unlike other recent exiles (who have chosen to make use of what is their undoubted right: the right to travel to a foreign country), those mentioned in the preceding paragraph have chosen not to do so. And this despite the fact that the communist regime keeps them imprisoned in a totally arbitrary and cruel manner.

The current “president of the Republic”, Miguel Díaz-Canel, pays no attention to any claim made by his fellow citizens. For that reason, the only hope for the four mentioned above and for all the other hundreds of Cuban political prisoners is the pressure that can be legitimately exerted from abroad.
This represents a real possibility. The catastrophic economic policies adopted by the communist regime, coupled with the effects of the pandemic, have placed Castroism in a particularly vulnerable position. In such circumstances, any firm stance by foreign countries has the greatest chance of success.

Let us hope that democrats in Europe, Latin America, the United States and other parts of the world become aware of this reality and, within the frameworks provided and recognized by International Law, act accordingly.

René Gómez Manzano
Lawyer and independent journalist

René Gómez Manzano – President of ISHR-Cuba reports on the fate of the civil rights activist Felix Navarro, who is a member of the board of directors of ISHR Cuba.

https://ishr.org/felix-navarro-in-the-face-of-communist-repression/


European Parliament, December 16, 2021

Human rights breaches in Russia, Cuba and Serbia

  • The Russian state must end its persecution of human rights organisation Memorial

  • Cuban authorities must urgently release political prisoners

  • Serbia must investigate alleged forced labour at the Linglong factory

On Thursday, the European Parliament adopted three resolutions on the respective human rights situations in Russia, Cuba and Serbia.

The case of Russian human rights organisation Memorial

Parliament condemns the repeated persecution and the recent politically motivated attempts by Russian authorities to shut down the two legal entities of the human rights organisation Memorial – International Memorial and the Memorial Human Rights Centre. MEPs also call for all charges against Memorial to be dropped immediately and for guarantees that the organisation can continue to safely carry out its important work without interference from the state.

The resolution further calls on EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell to impose sanctions, under the EU global human rights sanctions regime, on Russian officials involved in the unlawful repression of Memorial and in the judicial proceedings against the organisations and its members.

Urging Russia to stop its ongoing crackdown on civil society, human rights defenders and independent media, MEPs also call on the EU Delegation in Moscow and national diplomatic representations in the country to closely monitor the situation and trials linked to Memorial, and offer targeted organisations or individuals any support they may need.

The text was adopted by 569 votes in favour, 46 against and 49 abstentions. For further details, the full version of the report will be available here. (16.12.2021)

The situation in Cuba

MEPs denounce in the strongest terms the ongoing systematic abuses against protestors, political dissidents, religious leaders, human rights activists and independent artists, among others, in Cuba. In particular, the resolution calls for the immediate and unconditional release of José Daniel Ferrer, “Lady in White” Aymara Nieto, Maykel Castillo, Luis Robles, Félix Navarro, Luis Manuel Otero, Reverend Lorenzo Rosales Fajardo and Andy Dunier García, and all those detained for exercising their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. The text notes, however, that these individuals are but a few examples of the hundreds of Cubans facing injustice and repression imposed by the country’s government.

The resolution further condemns the recent abduction and arbitrary detention of Cuban Sakharov Prize laureate Guillermo Fariñas and, in spite of his recent release, calls for an end to the regular and persistent arbitrary arrests and harassment he faces. MEPs also regret that despite the entry into force of the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (PDCA) between the EU and Cuba in 2017, the situation of democracy and human rights in the country has not improved but has instead deteriorated seriously. They restate that, as part of the PDCA, Cuba must respect and consolidate the principles of the rule of law, democracy and human rights.

The text was adopted by 393 votes in favour, 150 against and 119 abstentions. It will be available in full here. (16.12.2021)

Forced labour in the Linglong factory and environmental protests in Serbia

Parliament expresses deep concern over alleged forced labour, human rights violations, and the human trafficking of around 500 Vietnamese people at a Chinese-owned Linglong Tire factory construction site in Zrenjanin, northern Serbia. It urges the Serbian authorities to investigate the case carefully and ensure respect for fundamental human rights in the factory, especially labour rights, to provide the EU with the results of its investigations, and to hold the perpetrators to account.

Noting that Serbia is granting China and Chinese industrialists more and more legal privileges in the country, even when these are contrary to EU law, MEPs express their concern over China’s increasing influence in Serbia and across the Western Balkans in general. They call on Serbia – an EU candidate country – to improve alignment with EU labour law and to comply with the relevant International Labour Organization conventions it has ratified.

In addition, MEPs are very worried over the increasing violence by extremist and hooligan groups against peaceful environmental demonstrations in the country. Widespread protests have recently been reported across Serbia against the backdrop of the rushed adoption of two laws, one of which is seen as opening space for controversial foreign investment projects, with a heavy impact on the environment. The text also regrets the amount of force used by the police against demonstrators.

The resolution was adopted by 586 votes in favour, 53 against and 44 abstentions. For further details, the full version will be available here. (16.12.2021)

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20211210IPR19224/human-rights-breaches-in-russia-cuba-and-serbia

Organization of American States, December 16, 2021

Statement from the OAS General Secretariat on Political Prisoners in Cuba

December 16, 2021

The General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (OAS) continues to continuously monitor the political and social situation in Cuba, with special attention to the condition of political prisoners imprisoned by the regime.

In this sense, the violation of their fundamental rights and their arbitrary detentions constitute a flagrant violation of human rights in the country, which goes against all international instruments on the matter.

For this reason, the General Secretariat of the OAS demands once again the immediate release of all political prisoners who are arbitrarily imprisoned, while stressing that it is essential to remain attentive to the evolution of their health conditions and physical integrity.

In this context, special concern is expressed for the integrity of José Daniel Ferrer, leader of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (Unpacu), a political prisoner of the regime, and whose health appears to have deteriorated rapidly in recent weeks.

Ferrer is confined to a small walled cell, without any contact with people other than the guards who guard him and without access to natural light. His reported breathing problems, vision loss and other issues have been attributed to the inhumane conditions where he is detained for exercising his legitimate civil and political rights.

The OAS General Secretariat urges Cuba to immediately allow a visit to the country by a Humanitarian Mission of the universal and/or inter-American system for the protection of Human Rights that can verify the state and situation of political prisoners in the country.

The presence of a Humanitarian Mission is essential in a context such as the present one, and the General Secretariat will continue to monitor and remain alert to the existing situation.

Reference: E-117/21

https://www.oas.org/en/media_center/press_release.asp?sCodigo=E-117/21