PRESS RELEASE: The Castro regime shot and imprisoned adolescents from the beginning. Trials against minors in Cuba demonstrate continuity of excessive and brutal repressive methods


The Castro regime shot and imprisoned adolescents from the beginning.

Trials against minors in Cuba demonstrate continuity of excessive and brutal repressive methods

Washington, D.C., January 27, 2022

Contacts: John Suarez and Janisset Rivero (612) 367-6845

Center for a Free Cuba (CFC). Washington, DC, January 27, 2022. Given the complaints from mothers and relatives of adolescents imprisoned in Cuba during and after the massive July 11, 2021 protests, the Center for a Free Cuba recalls that these methods have been used by the Castro’s regime since the 1960s, as corroborated by a communication sent by the OAS Human Rights Commission dated October 22, 1964 and addressed to the then Minister of Foreign Affairs Raúl Roa García.

“The Commission has been informed of cases of minors who have been sentenced by Cuban courts, without regard to their age and their physical and mental immaturity. The Commission has also been informed that in some cases the death penalty by firing squad has been applied, as in the case brought against Rubén Acosta and Justo García, minors under 16, who were tried in Calimete, Matanzas province, on April 12, 1964, under the charge of sabotage against sugar cane plantations. The Commission has also been informed that other minors accused of so-called “counterrevolutionary” crimes have been interned in prisons for adult criminals,” the document said.

This reality aggravates the current events and the circumstances in which Cuban adolescents are judged without procedural guarantees, with impunity and as a drastic measure to increase terror in the people of Cuba.

During the 1960s and 1970s, adolescents, including 12-year-olds, were taken to adult prisons and sentenced to long sentences in rigged trials or without trials, as is the case of Santos Orlando Mirabal, who was arrested in September 1967. at 12 years and 9 months of age, confined to the State Security headquarters in Matanzas for two years along with three other children of the same age, and then sentenced to reach adulthood (21 years) in prison. Mirabal remained in captivity for a total of 18 years. His father, Ismael Mirabal Alvarez, also served time in prison and disappeared in the 1990s with his sister Julia Caridad Mirabal, and he would never know their whereabouts again. Armando Loo, who was arrested on April 3, 1961, when he was only 16 years old, was confined in the VIVAC of Camagüey along with some 15 adolescents on that same date. At age 17, he was confined in the Castillo de El Príncipe until he turned 18, when he was transferred to the Isla de Pinos Prison along with other youths who were taken to forced labor camps.

“In the forced labor camps of a juvenile center in Aguacate, Matanzas, the detained children who tried to escape were killed right there, and there is no record of that,” Santos Mirabal explained to the Center for a Free Cuba.

The list of adolescents incarcerated and sentenced in Cuba today, as in the past, is partial because a large number of cases are unknown because families are afraid to report them. According to the IACHR in a complaint from 1964, the list of minors incarcerated and sentenced to between 3 and 30 years in prison in La Cabaña Prison alone reached 100 at that time. (

The Center for a Free Cuba alerts and calls on the international community to strongly intercede in favor of Cuban children and adolescents who continue to be the target of repression and harassment by the Castro regime for 63 years. It is unacceptable that the world remains silent in the face of this outrage.