CubaBrief: On Christmas Eve remember hundreds jailed in Cuba for exercising their rights, and those subjected to ongoing predetermined political trials

“Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.”- Hebrews 13:3

Communist regime’s do not stop on Christmas. On December 25, 2009 Chinese dissident and future Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo was sentenced to 11 years in prison in a Beijing court in what Human Rights Watch called a “predetermined political trial. ” He had been jailed for more than a year for being one of the authors of Charter 08, an initiative that gathered signatures in a petition calling on the Chinese regime to gradually shift toward democracy. Liu Xiaobo died eight years later on July 13, 2017, less than a month after his medical parole due to terminal liver cancer.

This holiday season, when there is less media scrutiny, the Castro regime is carrying out dozens of predetermined political trials that have a clear objective: to attempt to terrorize a new generation of Cubans from ever going out to the streets of Cuba to assemble peacefully and demand an end to dictatorship. Meanwhile, friends and family members are calling for a Christmas without political prisoners, and over 700 identified political prisoners remain behind bars.

Communist Cuba, like Communist China, does not have an independent judicial system, nor does it meet international standards of justice. Trials are underway across the island to condemn nonviolent protesters that took part in nationwide protests this past July. Diario de Cuba reported on December 23, 2021 on one set of proceedings in the courtroom for crimes against state security of the Diez de Octubre Municipal Court were sentences against 15 protesters were handed down and ranged from 12 years to 30 years in prison.

Cuban youth during the July protests in Havana (Reuters)

Their names are Dayron Martín Rodríguez, Alexander Guillermo Martínez Amoroso, Miguel Páez Estiven, Lázaro Zamora González, Marlon Brando Díaz Oliva, Alexis Sosa Ruiz, Elier Padrón Romero, José Luis Sánchez Tito, Jesús Enrique Vázquez Cabrera, Frank Aldama Rodríguez, Orlando Carvajal Cabrera, Dianyi Liriano Fuentes, Leoalys de la Caridad Valera Vázquez (six months pregnant ), Karen Vázquez Pérez and Brusnelvis Adrián Cabrera Martínez. These last three were on bail until the day of the trial; the rest were in prison.

The 15 protesters initially charged with “public disorder, damage to property, contempt, resistance” for participating in protests on July 12, 2021 in La Güinera found that a few weeks prior to trial, these charges were replaced with “sedition” – a crime against State security, and the Prosecutor’s Office requested sentences increased to 15, 18, 20 and 25 years in prison. These closed door trials took place on December 14,15, and 16th, and only one family member was able to attend the proceeding for each of the accused. Their sentences and guilt were decided before the trial began.

Elier Padrón Romero, 25 years old, sentenced to 18 years. Dayron Martín Rodríguez, 36, was sentenced to 30 years

Dayron Martín Rodríguez, 36, was sentenced to 30 years; Alexander Guillermo Martínez Amoroso, 25, to 20 years in prison; Miguel Páez Estiven, 25 years old, 30 years in prison; Lázaro Zamora González, 20 years old, sentence of 20 years; Marlon Brando Díaz Oliva, 20 years old, sentence of 18; Alexis Sosa Ruiz, 25 years old, sentence of 20 years. Likewise, Elier Padrón Romero, 25 years old, sentenced to 18 years; José Luis Sánchez Tito, 20 years old, sentence of 22 years in prison; Jesús Enrique Vázquez Cabrera, age 20, sentenced to 18 years; Frank Aldama Rodríguez, 20 years old, 22 years in prison; Orlando Carvajal Cabrera, 19 years old, 20 years sentence; Dianyi Liriano Fuentes, 20, sentenced to 20 years; Leoalys de la Caridad Valera Vázquez, 20 years old, sentence of 12 years; Karen Vázquez Pérez, 18 years old, 15 years, and Brusnelvis Adrián Cabrera Gutiérrez, 20 years old, sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Family members affirmed that the convicted persons were warned that, if they appeal, the sentences would be increased by several years and that in no case would the minimum sentence be less than ten years in prison.

Over 90 Cubans have been subjected to political show trials over the past ten days. On December 23, 2013, Ambassador Brian A. Nichols, Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs, tweeted a map highlighting where the trials were taking place across Cuba. The objective of these trials is to terrorize Cubans, silencing them and intimidating them from taking part in future peaceful protests.

Agence France Press reported on December 23rd the “US condemns Cuban trials of anti-government protestors” and quoted a State Department spokesperson who provided additional context to Ambassador Nichols’ tweet.

A State Department spokesperson said Nichols’ tweet was “intended to highlight the continued detention of hundreds of peaceful protesters following historic, peaceful protests in July, as well as, the Cuban regime’s politically motivated trials.”

“These current court proceedings, occurring simultaneously throughout the island, are an affront to Cubans’ human rights and their demands for freedom,” the spokesperson said.

“Cuban state prosecutors have manufactured false or unjust charges such as ‘sedition’ for the actions of peaceful demonstrators during July 11 in an attempt to silence dissidents, quash future peaceful protests, and intimidate regime critics,” the spokesperson added.

The State Department spokesperson said the Cuban government appears to holding the prosecutions during the holiday season to “hide their human rights abuses.”

On December 10, 2021, a group of intellectuals, artists, former diplomats, religious leaders, and human rights defenders from around the world made an appeal that during this holiday season Catholic bishops “issue statements backing their Cuban counterparts’ calls for the release of Cubans jailed for the events of July 2021 and before, and a rejection of violence by the regime,” and that they “include the freedom of Cuba’s political prisoners, justice for the victims of repression, and national reconciliation for Cuba in prayers said at Mass during this Christmas.”

Prisoners of conscience such as Maykel Castillo Pérez, Franco Benítez, Esteban Rodríguez, Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, Yandier García Labrada, José Daniel Ferrer García, Felix Navarro Rodriguez, Virgilio Mantilla Arango, Roberto Pérez Fonseca, Eloy Bárbaro Cardoso Pedroso, are in a precarious condition in facilities where COVID-19, Hepatitis, and other diseases run rampant with zero outside oversight.

Now is the time to demonstrate solidarity with those unjustly imprisoned for their political convictions. The late Vaclav Havel in an interview with Amnesty International in 2011 understood the need for people of good will to take action: “It’s up to all of us to try, and those that say that individuals are not capable of changing anything are only looking for excuses.”

Agence France Press, December 23, 2021

US condemns Cuban trials of anti-government protestors

Protestors taking to the streets of Havana on July 11, 2021 YAMIL LAGE AFP/File

Washington (AFP) – The United States on Thursday condemned the “politically motivated trials” of more than 90 Cubans who were involved in unprecedented anti-government protests in July.

“Since Dec 13, the Cuban regime tried 90+ #11J protestors across Cuba,” Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs Brian Nichols said in a tweet using a hashtag that refers to street demonstrations on July 11.

“The world sees the magnitude of these injustices,” the State Department official said. “Fraudulent charges to silence, & atrocious prison conditions for peaceful demonstrators.”

Nichols said the Cuban authorities were seeking sentences of up to 25 years in prison for some of the participants in the protests.

A State Department spokesperson said Nichols’ tweet was “intended to highlight the continued detention of hundreds of peaceful protesters following historic, peaceful protests in July, as well as, the Cuban regime’s politically motivated trials.”

“These current court proceedings, occurring simultaneously throughout the island, are an affront to Cubans’ human rights and their demands for freedom,” the spokesperson said.

“Cuban state prosecutors have manufactured false or unjust charges such as ‘sedition’ for the actions of peaceful demonstrators during July 11 in an attempt to silence dissidents, quash future peaceful protests, and intimidate regime critics,” the spokesperson added.

The State Department spokesperson said the Cuban government appears to holding the prosecutions during the holiday season to “hide their human rights abuses.”

The nationwide protests against Cuba’s communist regime were the largest since the 1959 revolution.

On July 11 and 12 thousands of Cubans screaming “freedom” and “we are hungry” took to the streets in some 50 cities and towns to protest harsh living conditions and government repression.

Around 1,270 people were arrested, according to the Miami-based human rights group Cubalex.

Havana has accused Washington of fueling the unrest.

© 2021 AFP

https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20211223-us-condemns-cuban-trials-of-anti-government-protestors