CubaBrief: Extrajudicial killings continue in Cuba. Cuban workers in semi-slave conditions exploited by Castro regime & Western corps. Regime admits to 710 on trial.

Today is the 169th anniversary of the birth of José Martí, Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, one of the leaders of the San Isidro Movement, is on day 10 of a hunger and thirst strike protesting his unjust imprisonment in Cuba. Hundreds of sons and daughters of Cuba are being subjected to political show trials for expressing themselves, peacefully assembling, and/or reporting on what happened during the protests of mid-July 2021.

Extrajudicial killings continue in Cuba, and the dictatorship does all it can to cover up these crimes, but some information not usually reported on, was published in The Washington Post with links to substantiate them January 27, 2022.

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel appeared on state television after the 11J protests started on July 11, stating, “The order of combat is given, revolutionaries take to the streets.” This directive incited government security forces to commit violence against civilians. They shot and killed unarmed demonstrators.

Authorities recognized one death in these protests. Diubis Laurencio Tejeda was a 36-year-old singer who was shot in the back by the National Revolutionary Police (PNR) in Havana on July 12. There are others, but they have not been officially recognized.

Christian Díaz, age 24, disappeared after joining the protests. Relatives on July 12 reported him missing to the PNR in Cárdenas. Police told his father that Christian was jailed in Matanzas. On Aug. 5, officials informed his family he’d drowned in the sea and was buried in a mass grave. His family is convinced he was beaten to death.

This isn’t the first time Havana has covered up state murders. The 2012 killings of Cuban dissident leaders Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero by security forces are two high-profile examples.

Diubis Laurencio Tejeda (age 36) and Christian Díaz (age 24) killed by Castro regime.

Euronews on the same day reported on the exploitation of Cuban workers by the Castro regime citing that “human rights organisations and MEPs have claimed that European companies are using Cuban workers in conditions of semi-slavery.” European Parliament vice-president, Dita Charanzova, called on Europe to uphold its human rights standards.

“The European Union has a framework agreement with Cuba and it was actually the European Parliament that had a condition during the ratification process of this agreement, which was a strong Human Rights clause,” Charanzova told Euronews. “I think it is really now the time to properly implement and enforce this agreement. And I think that these cases demonstrate the urgency for the European Union to have a ban on forced labor.” The income international Cuban missions generate is the main source of revenue for the Cuban Government abroad since at least 2005.

Reuters reported on information released by the Castro regime regarding the hundreds of show trials taking place. The official claim is that 710 Cubans have been charged, but there is no way to independently verify the information through official channels.  The data provided by the prosecutor’s office cannot be trusted. This leaves human rights defenders having to reach out  to families of the detained, who are threatened by the secret police. This is a difficult and necessary process to obtain at least partial numbers.

The Cuban prosecutor’s office said Tuesday [ January 25] it had thus far charged 710 people with crimes including vandalism, assault against people or property, and “grave public disorder.”Human rights groups, the U.S. government and the European Union have slammed the trials of the protesters, saying they lack transparency and that long jail sentences were disproportionate with the crimes committed.

Transparency is non-existent in Cuba, and the efforts of the governing regime is to increase the cost for spontaneously reporting on events unfolding in the island that portray the government in a negative light. Whereas, the U.S. Guantanamo Naval Base has granted the International Committee of the Red Cross over a 100 visits to the prison there since 2002, Havana has permitted zero visits to Cuban prisons over the same period.

Some of the Cubans currently subjected to these politicized proceedings.

The Washington Post, January 27, 2022

Letters to the Editor

Opinion: Extrajudicial killings continue in Cuba

Oswaldo Payá, seen here in 2006, was killed in July 2012 while in a car in Cuba. (Javier Galeano/AP)

The Jan. 23 editorial “Cuba’s show trials roll on” was spot on, but it left unsaid that the extrajudicial killings also continue.

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel appeared on state television after the 11J protests started on July 11, stating, “The order of combat is given, revolutionaries take to the streets.” This directive incited government security forces to commit violence against civilians. They shot and killed unarmed demonstrators.

Authorities recognized one death in these protests. Diubis Laurencio Tejeda was a 36-year-old singer who was shot in the back by the National Revolutionary Police (PNR) in Havana on July 12. There are others, but they have not been officially recognized.

Christian Díaz, age 24, disappeared after joining the protests. Relatives on July 12 reported him missing to the PNR in Cárdenas. Police told his father that Christian was jailed in Matanzas. On Aug. 5, officials informed his family he’d drowned in the sea and was buried in a mass grave. His family is convinced he was beaten to death.

This isn’t the first time Havana has covered up state murders. The 2012 killings of Cuban dissident leaders Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero by security forces are two high-profile examples.

John SuarezWashington

The writer is executive director of the Center for a Free Cuba.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/01/27/extrajudicial-killings-continue-cuba/

euronews, January 27, 2022

brussels bureau

Holiday cruise giant MSC using Cuban workers as ‘slaves’, says NGO

By Alberto De Filippis • Updated: 27/01/2022

The MSC Grandiosa cruise ship is harbored in Civitavecchia, Central Italy, Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022. Copyright Cecilia Fabiano/LAPRESSE

Human rights organisations and MEPs have claimed that European companies are using Cuban workers in conditions of semi-slavery.

On Wednesday, the NGO Prisoners Defenders, with the support of Human Rights Watch, accused, among others, MSC Cruises, of taking advantage of the situation of workers from the Caribbean island.

The holiday cruise giant is said to be working with Selecmar, the Cuban authority which “lends” Cuban workers all over the world.

According to Javier Larrondo, director of Prisoners Defenders, they have evidence that has been presented to the International Criminal Court.

“We have a lot of proof. These documents detail the terrible conditions of Cuban workers abroad,” Larrondo said.

“For example, the confiscation of their property, including documents, and a ban on returning to Cuba for eight years, keeping these workers away from their little children, if they abandon their jobs or fail to return to Cuba at the end of their contracts.

“But we also have Cuban legislation [which confirms that],” he added.

“We also have work certificates from Selecmar that sells Cuban workers for luxury cruises and withholds 80% of the workers’ wages and [we also have] certificates from the Cuban Ministry of the Interior proving these allegations. All this is ratified by more than 1111 complaints.”

In a response to Euronews, MSC Cruises said: “Like all shipping companies we had to engage our Cuban crew members through Selecmar since it was a requirement of the Cuban authorities. We have and always will treat all our crew members equally and fairly in terms of salary and working conditions on our vessels regardless of nationality.”

The sale of services by Cuba’s Selecmar, includes medical and health services, but also the provision of sail crews.

Much of the money obtained, however, does not go to the workers, but to the Cuban government.

According to one of the European Parliament’s vice-presidents, Dita Charanzova, this scandal cannot be tolerated in Europe.

“The European Union has a framework agreement with Cuba and it was actually the European Parliament that had a condition during the ratification process of this agreement, which was a strong Human Rights clause,” Charanzova told Euronews. “I think it is really now the time to properly implement and enforce this agreement. And I think that these cases demonstrate the urgency for the European Union to have a ban on forced labor.”

The income international Cuban missions generate is the main source of revenue for the Cuban Government abroad since at least 2005.

https://www.euronews.com/2022/01/26/holiday-cruise-giant-msc-using-cuban-workers-as-slaves-says-ngo

Reuters, January 25, 2022

Cuba Defends Trials of Protesters as Fair, Rejects Accusations of Rights Violations

People shout slogans during protests against and in support of the government, amidst the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Havana, Cuba July 11, 2021. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini

By Dave Sherwood

HAVANA (Reuters) – Cuba rejected on Tuesday accusations by rights groups and diplomats that its court system had unfairly jailed protesters following widespread unrest on the island in July, defending recent trials as just and in line with Cuban law.

The July 11-12 protests – the largest such rallies since Fidel Castro’s 1959 revolution – saw thousands take to the streets in towns and cities across the island. Many voiced anger at the communist-run government and shortages of food, medicine and electricity at a time when coronavirus cases had soared.

The protests were largely peaceful, although state media showed some demonstrators looting and throwing stones at police.

They were followed by a flurry of arrests. The Cuban prosecutor’s office said Tuesday it had thus far charged 710 people with crimes including vandalism, assault against people or property, and “grave public disorder.”

Human rights groups, the U.S. government and the European Union have slammed the trials of the protesters, saying they lack transparency and that long jail sentences were disproportionate with the crimes committed.

Cuba’s state prosecutor on Tuesday said those accusations were “manipulations of public opinion.” It said it had “verified compliance with the rights and constitutional guarantees of due process” under Cuban law.

“The right to defense was guaranteed, lawyers presented evidence and had access to the case files,” the office said in a statement.

The U.S. Embassy in Havana has for months called on Cuba to increase due process protections in the trials, tagging messages on social media with the hashtag “Prisoners, for what?”

Cuban foreign minister Bruno Rodriguez said on Twitter late on Monday that its northern neighbor and long-time rival was seeking to discredit Cuba.

“The U.S. is well aware that current legal processes in Cuba are conducted in full compliance with the law and internationally accepted standards,” Rodriguez said. “It lies to tarnish Cuba’s exemplary work in the protection of its children and justify criminal coercive measures.”

Nearly 70% of those accused are being held in detention as they await their trials, the prosecutor’s statement said, and 55 of the 710 facing charges are between the ages of 16 and 18.

Rights groups observing the process and advising those accused say penalties for dozens already sentenced, including for sedition, have ranged from four to 30 years behind bars.

The Cuban prosecutor said the penalties “correspond with the seriousness of the crimes, the level of participation (of the accused) and the damage caused to society.”

(Reporting by Dave Sherwood, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)

Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.

https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2022-01-25/cuba-defends-trials-of-protesters-as-fair-rejects-accusations-of-rights-violations