This subordination of the administration of justice to the
political power causes great insecurity and fear among the citizenry,
which is reinforced by the weakness of procedural guarantees, particularly
in cases where peaceful opponents of the regime or human rights activists
are on trial. Following are
examples of trials conducted by the Cuban courts, where the outcome
reflects the prevailing situation in that country:
In a trial held on February 25, 2000, Dr. Oscar Elías Biscet,
President of the Lawton Foundation for Human Rights, was convicted and
sentenced to three years in prison for the crimes of "insulting
patriotic symbols", "inciting to delinquency", and
"public disorder". The
deeds that gave rise to this sentence took place on October 28, 1999,
during a press conference that the doctor held with a number of Cuban
non-violent opposition members, on the occasion of the Ibero-American
summit in Havana, where they displayed upside-down flags as a sign of
protest against human rights violations in Cuba, and called for a peaceful
march to demand the release of political prisoners.
According to the prosecutor's conclusions, "the accused, Oscar
Elias Biscet Gonzáles, has performed no socially useful activity since
the month of March, 1998, at which time he was punished by dismissal from
his position as a physician in the Maternal-Infant Teaching Hospital, on
October 10, for serious violations of the center's discipline and rules;
he is the head of a counterrevolutionary faction, the "Lawton
Foundation for Human Rights”, he consorts exclusively with antisocial
elements, former prisoners and counterrevolutionaries, maintaining links
with factions comprised of individuals of the same persuasion, he has
taken part in various scandalous activities on public streets, and has
provided false and distorted information on our revolutionary process to
subversive broadcasters in Miami. These
deeds constitute the crime of public disorder, defined and punished in
Article 201.1.2 of the Criminal Code.
The penalty that must be imposed on the accused, Oscar Elias Biscet
Gonzáles, is three years in prison and a fine of 500 quotas of 10 pesos
each." The Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National
Reconciliation, reporting from Havana, referred to the prosecution of
Biscet and other dissidents in the following terms:
our opinion, the four dissidents convicted to date are completely innocent
of the crimes with which they are charged, since they were exercising, or
attempting to exercise, elementary civil and political rights in an
absolutely peaceful manner. The
legal basis for convicting them is highly debatable, since the existing
Criminal Code clearly criminalizes the free exercise of essential rights
enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other documents
of United Nations and of the Ibero-American community.
respect to the prosecution of Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet and his two
codefendants, we consider that it was dramatically and objectively flawed
by attacks from the highest level of the State and by other factors of
great public influence. Therefore,
taking into account the vertical nature of the prevailing model of
political and juridical organization in Cuba, it was unthinkable that any
judge would vote to acquit the accused, or to impose non-criminal
of the non-governmental observers of our Commission, Carlos Mendez, was
intercepted and ordered to leave by police agents when he attempted to
enter the courthouse where Dr. Biscet and his codefendants were to be
tried. The same thing
happened to several dozen citizens who attempted to attend the trial on
the grounds that, in accordance with Cuban law, all trials must be public
except those where overriding reasons of national security or the
preservation of moral integrity or the private life of individuals
indicate the contrary.
should also be noted that on February 25, immediately after the sentencing
of Biscet, Eduardo Diaz Fleitas, vice president of the Movimiento 5 de
Agosto, and Fermin Scull Zulueta were convicted by the same court, on the
charge of disrupting public order. Diaz
Fleitas was sentenced to a year in prison, and Scull Zulueta to a year
under house arrest.
The preventive arrest ad
infinitum of people who are imprisoned without trial is another
irregularity in the administration of justice in Cuba.
Osvaldo Diaz Palacio, President of the José Marti National
Commission on Human Rights, complained in May, 2000, that eight prisoners
in the provincial jail of Villa Clara were still being held after two
years, without ever being brought before a competent, independent and
impartial court. Mrs. Mayra
Rodriguez Martin, the mother of one of the prisoners, said: "My son,
Lázaro Carbajal Rodriguez and seven other prisoners have gone on hunger
strikes several times, some of them for as long as two weeks.
They are demanding that they be tried or that they be released, but
no one listens to their demands."
The Villa Clara prison is popularly known by the name of “La
Pendiente” [“the holding tank”].
Provisional detentions of indefinite term are common practice in
the Cuban judicial system: for example, the four members of the Internal
Dissidents’ Group (GDI), Marta Beatriz Roque Cabello, Felix Bonne
Carcases, Rene Gomez Manzano and Vladimiro Roca Antunez were held without
trial for a year and five months.
The weighing of evidence by the Cuban courts is another serious
problem facing persons accused of political or common crimes.
Ernesto Pérez Ramirez, who was held as a common prisoner in the
Valle Grande prison in the La Lisa district of Havana, issued an appeal to
international public opinion to intercede on his behalf.
According to the report, Ramirez was arrested on August 14 by
agents of the Technical Investigations Department (DTI) of the Havana
Criminal Police, who took him to the headquarters of the Ministry of the
Interior. There he was
accused of having stolen a pig three months earlier. Testimony given by witnesses on his behalf during the oral
hearing, to the effect that on the day of the offense Ramirez was in a
place far removed from the "violent theft of the pig", were to
no avail. He was sentenced to
30 years in prison. In his
letter, Ramirez considers this penalty to be excessive, even on the
assumption that he had stolen a pig, but that such penalties are commonly
imposed by the so-called Peoples' Courts in lopsided trials that offer no
procedural guarantees for the accused.
"My case is not an isolated one", he stresses in his
note. Nevertheless, Ramirez
declares that he is innocent of the crime for which he was imprisoned.
Another case that occurred during the period covered by this report
involved Eduardo Ricardo Arabi Jimenez, whose wife presented an appeal for
habeas corpus on his behalf, after he was accused of being a fugitive from
a prison farm. "This appeal went nowhere.
I want to say that the interview was conducted entirely surrounded
by political police officers, and once again the process was marked by
lies and deceit. The presumed
officer of the Ministry of the Interior alleged that the fingerprints
found at the farm coincided with those of my husband.
That was another lie. My
husband has never been in prison, he has never been arrested, he has never
been registered in the government investigation offices. His only crime is to be an opponent of government
totalitarianism, and of course something worse: he is a Christian."
The Inter-American Commission was also informed that, after hearing
evidence for only 50 minutes and deliberating for only 15 minutes, the
Municipal Court of Rancho Bayeros convicted Lázaro Planes Farías, 34
years old, to 3 1/2 years in prison for the crime of contempt.
According to the prosecutor, Planes Farías was heard, in the early
morning of October 10, shouting "Down with Fidel!
Down with communism!", which constitutes the crime of contempt
under Article 144 of the Cuban Criminal Code.
To back up this charge, the prosecution presented three witnesses: Regina
Matos, Rosa Hernandez and Rafael Ramos, who were caught in evident
contradictions when they gave their account of what had happened.
The defense, represented by the lawyer Antonio Pilli, was formally
reprimanded for trying to demonstrate the inconsistencies in their
testimony by asking questions that the prosecutor and the President of the
court considered to be "trick questions".
A minor incident occurred at the beginning of the trial, when the
mother of the accused, Marta Farías, was forced to insist loudly that she
be allowed into the courtroom, since the premises were for some reason
completely filled, and none of the defendant's friends or relatives had
been able to find a seat. Lazaro
Planes Farías had already been convicted the day before to six months in
prison by the same court, for resisting authority, and he is awaiting
further trial for the same offense. This
young man was one of the political prisoners who received a pardon after
the 1998 visit to Cuba of His Holiness John Paul II. State Security forces were in full evidence, both in the
courtroom and in the vicinity of the courthouse. The trial began at 10:30, and ended at 11:35.
Another procedural irregularity committed by the Cuban courts is to
amend rulings after an individual has been sentenced.
René Pérez Vega, 29 years of age, a member of the Liga Civica
Martiana, was sentenced to three years in prison for the alleged crime
of contempt against President Fidel Castro.
Pérez Vega was sentenced on September 7 and taken to prison 1580,
known as El Pitirre. As
it turned out, in March, at the corner of Bejucal and Pernichet streets,
in the Capri sector of Arroyo Naranja in Havana, Pérez Vega, indignant
over the crisis gripping the country and feeling powerless in the face of
the fatal cancer from which one of his daughters was suffering, left out
shouts of "down with Fidel!", upon which he was seized, taken to
the Ninth Police Station in the locale, and beaten by 7 police officers.
During this beating, this human rights activist lost consciousness
on two occasions. In the
month of July, Pérez was placed on trial in the Municipal People's Court
of Arroyo Naranja, where he was sentenced to three years’ deprivation of
liberty without imprisonment, although the prosecuting attorney asked for
only two years. Nevertheless,
in August, the penalty was changed to three years in penitentiary.
On July 21, 2000, Néstor Rodríguez Lobaina and Eddy Alfredo Mena
González, President and Coordinator of the Cuban Youth Movement for
Democracy, were tried on charges of inciting to public disorder and
contempt for the Commander in Chief, by the Provincial People's Court of
Santiago de Cuba. The
accusations were based on an incident in which members of the official
organization, Committees for the Defense of the Revolution, attempted to
beat Mena González while he and Néstor Rodríguez were giving speeches
in the street about human rights. During
the trial, the Rapid Action Brigades and State Security agents prevented
their family members from entering the courtroom.
Moreover, as it turned out, the defense was allowed to present only
one witness, who declared before the independent press that:
was the last witness to testify, and I was the only one allowed by the
prosecution. As for the
prosecution witnesses, the people that Rodríguez Lobaina and Mena González
had allegedly injured, they were questioned in a threatening way, and they
were forced to answer. The
trial was not based on determining the facts, but on simply finding a way
to incriminate the accused at all costs.
The prosecution asked for four and a half years for Néstor Rodríguez
Lobaina and 10 years for Eddy Alfredo Mena González.
On August 10, 2000, it was learned that Rodríguez was sentenced to
six years in prison, a year and a half more than the prosecution asked,
and Mena González to five years.
Other irregularities committed by the Cuban authorities involve
making arrests without a warrant. On December 3, 2000, the activist
Leonardo Bruzón Avila, President of the Movimiento 24 de Febrero
and director of the independent library that bears that name, was
arrested. According to
information provided, the first charge maintains that Bruzón Avila
refused to be arrested because no official arrest warrant was presented. The second accusation is that he held religious services in
his home every Sunday, led by the pastor Ibrahim Pina Borges, President of
the United Pentecostal Church of Cuba, in which people prayed for
political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, and requested amnesty for
Another trial that was surrounded by serious irregularities was
that conducted in January, 2000, against the independent journalist Víctor
Rolando Arroyo Carmona, a member of the "Union of Independent Cuban
Journalists and Writers", who was sentenced to six months in prison
for the crime of speculation and hoarding.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights was informed that,
two days prior to the trial, officers of State Security and the National
Revolutionary Police assigned to the Pinar del Rio towns of Cabañas and
Mariel attempted to persuade the defense witness, Moisés Rodríguez Valdés,
not to testify to the innocence of the independent journalist.
When Rodríguez Valdés refused to comply, the officers arrested
him and held him in a police unit in Mariel on the pretext of
investigating an alleged theft and illegal slaughter of livestock. The
witness was released only after the trial of Arroyo Carmona was over.
The Cuban courts apply ideological and political criteria in their
rulings, in contrast to correct judicial procedures.
Moreover, sentences are consistently in favor of the idea of the
Executive over that of appropriate justice.
The principal limitation is found in the Constitution itself, which
stipulates that none of the liberties recognized may be exercised
"against the existence and aims of the socialist State".
The importance of this rule lies in the fact that it regulates, at
the highest level, the exercise of all rights and liberties recognized by
the Constitution for Cuban citizens, in their relations with State organs. There are also unacceptable constitutional limitations on
rights and freedoms in the form of such subjective and vague criteria as,
for example, "the decision of the Cuban people to build socialism and
criteria are clearly outside the juridical scope, and fall squarely in the
political field. Consequently,
it is the sole governing party in Cuba that decides, in the end, whether
exercise of a freedom or a right is contrary to this rule.
This eliminates any possibility for an individual to defend himself
against the political power, and gives constitutional backing to the
arbitrary exercise of power over the Cuban people.
IV. ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS
The Resolution of the Ninth Inter-American Conference held in Bogotá,
Colombia, in 1948, which gave rise to the American Declaration of the
Rights and Duties of Man, declares in its preamble that the American
peoples " have as their principal aim the protection of the essential
rights of man and the creation of circumstances that will permit him to
achieve spiritual and material progress…" The American Declaration enshrines not only civil and
political rights, but also economic, social and cultural rights.
One of the economic and social rights to which the Commission
attaches great importance is the right to health.
This right is enshrined in Article XI of the American Declaration,
which provides that “every person has the right to the preservation of
his health through sanitary and social measures relating to food,
clothing, housing and medical care, to the extent permitted by public and
The legal framework for the right to health in Cuba is the
Constitution, which guarantees that "no one who is sick shall lack
for medical attention."
Article 43 stipulates that "the State enshrines the right secured by
the Revolution for all citizens, without distinctions to race, color of
skin, sex, religious beliefs, national origin or any other consideration
contrary to human dignity… to receive care in all health
Article 50 of the Constitution provides:
has the right to care and protection for his health. The State guarantees this right:
When it comes to the right to health, during the period covered by
this report, the Commission was informed of the First Ibero-American
Conference on Telecommunications and Society that was held in Cuba, and
which revealed that Cuba has a national network of telemedicine centers
covering six provinces and 27 health institutions.
According to the World Health Organization, telemedicine means the
use of information and telecommunications technology for the diagnosis,
treatment and prevention of diseases, through continuous education for
public health providers. During
the event that was held at the Hotel Nobotel, Juan Enríquez Landeiro, a
coordination expert for that network, declared that the areas with this
advanced technology were Holguin, the City of Havana, Santiago de Cuba,
Guantánamo, Ciefuegos and Villa Clara.
Work is currently underway in the areas of general radiology,
education (virtual library and university), genetics, pathology and
ophthalmology. According to
the information provided, the system has benefited more than 2000
patients, and has considerably reduced hospitalization costs.
It was also indicated that Cuba is preparing for the qualitative
step of making telehealth into a full-scale program, and that a national
program is being designed. Also
in the health field, it was learned that during the year 2000, the
filling, freeze-drying and packaging plants of the Centro Nacional de
Biopreparados (BIOCEN) of Havana processed and completed 15 drugs,
among which is a vaccination for hepatitis B, a recombinant prepared by
the Institute with the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology.
Other drugs included Alpha and Gamma interferon, the transfer
factor and the recombinant streptoquinate against myocardial infarctions,
and various blood derivatives. A vaccine against ticks and other
veterinary products were also being processed, in collaboration with the
National Center for Laboratory Animal Production (CENPALAB).
It should be noted that BIOCEN has ISO 9002 certification for its
products, and at the end of last year it was evaluated by the World Health
Organization as part of the acceptance process for the recombinant
hepatitis B vaccine. The Inter-American Commission was also informed that, as part
of its health program, the Cuban State spends some $3,500,000 annually on
the purchase of anti-cancer drugs to save the lives of nearly 25,000
Cubans who suffer each year from this disease.
In Cuba, cancer constitutes the second cause of death, after heart
disease. It has been
demonstrated that a third of such tumors are preventable, a similar number
are curable, and that it is possible to improve the quality of life for
patients. Since the 1960s, health institutions have been struggling to
control this disease. In 1986
the National Cancer Program was initiated, in order to reduce its
incidence and mortality rates. Cancer
therapies are subsidized by the State.
Also during the period covered by this report, Carlos Lage,
Secretary of the Executive Committee of the Council of Ministers,
re-inaugurated the 26th of July National Training Center, the new
headquarters of the Cuban Association for the Physically Handicapped (ACLIFIM),
on the outskirts of Havana. This
building, located on the Cacahual Highway, has been totally remodeled, and
will serve as more than just a school.
It will also provide a venue for meetings, cultural and sporting
activities, and will host international congresses and events.
In the opening ceremonies, Lage urged all agencies of the State
Central Administration responsible for dealing with associations of the
handicapped to continue their efforts to ensure that the Center has
optimal conditions of convenience, and the resources for carrying out its
The protection of infants and children is another right protected
by the American Declaration, Article VII of which declares that "all
children have the right to special protection, care and aid".
The Cuban Constitution provides in this regard:
With respect to children's rights, the Inter-American Commission
was advised that the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund, UNICEF,
classified Cuba in its annual report as setting an example in early
childhood care, covering children under five years of age.
In its report on “The State of the World’s Children 2001”, it
indicates that among Latin American countries, only Cuba is on a par with
industrialized countries, with an infant mortality rate of eight per
thousand live births (compared to six or seven in developed countries). With
respect to care from birth to three years, a stage that has enormous
influence on later development, UNICEF points to Cuba as an example.
As well, that agency indicates that Cuba has established a
successful system of day-care centers and education programs that today
embraced 98.3 percent of children under six years.
It cites a 1998 study of 11 Latin American countries, covering
students in the third and fourth grades, among whom Cuban children
obtained superior results in mathematics and Spanish. The
report notes that infant mortality is closely related to life expectancy,
since it is a fundamental indicator for measuring child well-being.
In its section on Latin America and the Caribbean, UNICEF sets life
expectancy for children born in 1999 and 2000 at 70 years, six years more
than the world average, and eight years less than that for industrialized
Cultural rights are also enshrined in the American Declaration,
Article XIII of which declares: “Every person has the right to take part
in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts, and to
participate in the benefits that result from intellectual progress,
especially scientific discoveries. He likewise has the right to the
protection of his moral and material interests as regards his inventions
or any literary, scientific or artistic works of which he is the
Article 39(d) of the Cuban Constitution provides that "the
State, in order to enhance the culture of the people, promotes and
develops artistic education, the creation and cultivation of art, and the
capacity to appreciate it." On
this right, and also on the rights of children in Cuba, the Inter-American
Commission was informed that, during the period covered by this report, a
group of 19 children from the provinces of Havana, Matanzas, Villa Clara
and Holguin were winners of the prize at the Third Competition of the
World Food Program for child artistic creativity, 2001.
Germán Valdivia, Representative of the World Food Program in Cuba,
declared that this cultural event, which has been held since 1998, is
intended to support and enhance national culture with respect to food, as
one of the vital characteristics of the human being.
There were a total of 126 entries in this competition, which
involved participation by Havana representatives of the United Nations
Children's' Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Special laurels were awarded to the children Manuel Andrés Basallo
and Dorianne Martel, of Havana, and Yasel Gonzáles of Villa Clara.
The representative in Cuba of the World Food Program and Ricardo
Pascoe, Mexico's ambassador in Cuba, next inaugurated an exhibition
relating to this third competition, in the Casa Benito Juárez
Gallery, showing 36 works by 31 children participating in the event.
With respect to the right to socioeconomic well-being and
development, which is enshrined in Article XI of the American Declaration,
the Commission considers it relevant to cite a summary of progress
achieved in this field by the Cuban State, prepared by the Information
Bureau of the Cuban Human Rights Movement:
A start has been made at generating electricity by wind power; 2)
illegal theft and slaughter of livestock has decreased by 52 percent; 3)
the first photovoltaic power station has opened in Santa María de Lorto;
4) the sugar harvest amounted to 3.78 million tons, and efficiency was
improved, although it was still not profitable; 5) a draft Constitutional
Control Act has been prepared; 6) aquaculture produced 80,000 tons of fish
and is growing steadily; 7) 250 million pesos and $125 million were
devoted to restoring strategic watersheds; 8) Decree Law 185 came into
effect, and a start was made at property registration; 9) prices of
agricultural products are on a downward trend; 10) the proportion of
housing units in irregular or poor condition declined from 54 percent to
47 percent; 11) there has been growth in bank loans to individuals and
savings accounts are now available at fixed term, with maximum interest of
7 percent; 12) public telephone service has been expanded; 13) there has
been a notable reduction in power blackouts; 14) there were 580,000
voluntary blood donations, thereby maintaining the index of 1 per 19
inhabitants called for by the World Health Organization (WHO); 15) the
proportion of university students without access to computers declined:
from one computer for every 18 students, there is now one for every 12;
16) the number of underweight births is the lowest in history, at 5.9 per
thousand; 17) energy intensity has declined to 5.4, and 55 percent of
electricity is now generated by national energy carriers; 18) domestic
production of refrigerators has started up again after 10 years of no
production; 19) salaries for doctors, teachers and police officers have
risen by some 620 million pesos; 20) there has been a general increase in
non-sugar agricultural output, except for milk, meat and rights; 21) more
than 780,000 workers are now sharing in the profits from their output; 22)
the budgetary deficit has declined to 2.4 percent of GDP, and the exchange
rate to the dollar has stabilized at 1:20; 23) the anti-drug campaign:
Cuba signed 24 cooperation agreements with nations in various regions of
the world; noteworthy among these is a training agreement with the Royal
Canadian Mounted Police already underway; 24) infant mortality has
declined; 25) people purchased nearly 800,000 domestic appliances in 1999,
and sales of fax machines are off to a successful start, with demand
exceeding expectations, although they cost at least $200 apiece; 26) there
were a record number of surgical operations, 927,000; 27) the proportion
of the population with foreign exchange holdings rose to 62 percent,
although the process is marked by significant stratification; 28)
computers started to be sold to the public; 29) book publishing has
increased modestly; 30) nightlife in Havana is picking up noticeably; 31)
the national currency market is growing noticeably; and 32) there is a
notable increase in vehicle traffic in Havana.
In terms of the right to work, the American Declaration provides as
Article XIV. Every person has the right to work, under proper conditions, and to follow his vocation freely, insofar as existing conditions of employment permit. Every person who works has the right to receive such remuneration as will, in proportion to his capacity and skill, assure him a standard of living suitable for himself and for his family.
As will be noted, the American Declaration specifies the modalities
associated with the concrete exercise of the right to work: it must be
performed under proper conditions, in accordance with the vocation of the
person who performs it, and it must be adequately remunerated.
Directly related to the right to work and the conditions under
which work is performed is the right of association "to promote,
exercise and protect … legitimate interests of a … labor union …
While there is complete identification of interests between Cuban workers
and their State employer, in theory, because of the very nature of the
"socialist State", it is important to examine labor union
practice in terms of the specific function of defending the concrete
rights of workers. This leads
to an analysis of the means that unions have available to promote their
demands: the right to strike and the right to collective bargaining.
The Cuban constitution enshrines the right to work in Article 45:
Article 46 of the Constitution gives workers "the right to
rest, which is guaranteed by a workday of eight hours, weekly time off and
paid annual vacations. The State encourages the development of vacation facilities
and plans." It also
guarantees a social security system for "the proper protection of all
workers who are incapacitated by reason of age, disability or illness.
If the worker dies, the State guarantees similar protection for his
The Cuban State also "protects, through social assistance, elderly
persons without support or resources, and any person unfit for work who
has no relatives in a position to help him."
As well, Article 49 of Constitution "guarantees the right to
protection, safety and hygiene in the workplace, through the adoption of
proper measures to prevent occupational accidents and illnesses.
Anyone who suffers an accident at work or contracts an occupational
disease has the right to medical attention and an allowance or pension in
the case of temporary or permanent incapacity for work".
Articles 42, 43 and 44 of the Constitution forbid discrimination in
employment on grounds of sex or race; in order to guarantee this
principle, it calls for the incorporation of women into the workplace, by
granting a series of facilities such as child care centers, boarding
schools, maternity leave (before and after birth), care for the elderly,
and working schedules compatible with maternal duties.
"The State will make every effort to create conditions for
giving substance to the principle of equality."
The Cuban State has fulfilled this last aspect in practice, as the
United Nations Special Rapporteur on violence against women noted from her
own observations: “the Communist system in Cuba provided Cuban women
with an economic and social safety net that puts them in a better position
statistically than most of their Latin American counterpart.
In terms of education (95 per cent female literacy), participation
in the workforce (42.5 per cent) and professional and technical training
Cuban women are way ahead of women in most other countries.
In addition, the Special Rapporteur was informed, 55.16 per cent of
trade union leaders at workers’ centers are women.
Five of 19 trade unions are led by women (the sciences, public
administration, culture, commerce and communications unions).
Non-discrimination against women at the workplace is a
constitutional right. (…) As a result of collective bargaining, women
workers have equal rights under the social security law and are protected
by maternity laws and by specific laws concerning women workers.
Maternity laws provide for 18 weeks’ fully paid maternity
leave, after which there is an option to take a further six months’
leave on 60 per cent pay, and the right to return to work up to
one year after the birth. Special
programs also exist for single working mothers.
The Special Rapporteur noted positively the social services
available for women workers.”
The Commission notes the progress that the Cuban State has made in
the area of women's economic rights and the existence of legal, economic
and social mechanisms for exercising labor rights.
Nevertheless, the Commission must observe that it has received
testimony and complaints indicating that there are various forms of
discrimination in the provision of work, for ideological and other,
related reasons. Thus, the
Commission was informed that people who display political disagreement
with the regime are those who are most likely to be unemployed.
As well, the relatives of political prisoners suffer discrimination
at work, as do those prisoners themselves, once they are released.
The Commission has also received complaints that such treatment is
applied to the relatives of émigrés, when they undertake activities
abroad that are antagonistic to the Cuban political system.
Discrimination in employment is a mechanism that is easy to apply
in an economy where the State is the sole employer.
Human Rights Watch/Americas confirms this point about State
control, as follows:
Cuban government's virtual monopoly on jobs allows it to exercise tight
control over the nation's workforce. Cuban authorities maintain labor
files (expedientes laborales),
which record any individual's politically suspect behavior. Often, the
government's first move against potential dissenters is to fire them from
their job. Most of Cuba's prominent dissidents lost their jobs as they
became more involved in independent organizations or rejoined society
after prison terms imposed for criticizing the government. Since jobs in
the non-State-controlled sector are few, and rarely include housing, job
loss often spells financial disaster for workers and their families.
Dissidents who cannot count on remittances from abroad have a particularly
difficult time and risk further problems with the government if economic
necessity pushes them to violate regulations on individual employment.
Cuba only allows limited opportunities for self-employment, such as
selling produce, driving taxis, and running small restaurants, which are
This State control also makes itself felt through the prohibition
of labor unions that are independent from the Central de Trabajadores
de Cuba (CTC), and a systematic harassment of anyone who attempts to
set up an association to protect labor rights. The Committee of Experts on
the Applications of Conventions and Recommendations of the International
Labor Organization under Convention 87 (Trade union freedom and protection
of the right to organize) on relations between the Central de
Trabajadores de Cuba (CTC) and the Communist Party stated, inter
alia, that “the Committee [of the ILO] insists that in a
single-party context and with a trade union federation the practice of
outside interference might be favored, to the detriment of union autonomy.
The Committee [of the ILO] calls on the Government [of Cuba] to guarantee
in legislation and in practice the right of all workers and employers,
without distinction, to freely form independent professional
organizations, outside of all existing trade union structures, if they so
desire (Article 2 of Convention 87), as well as the free election of their
representatives (Article 3 of the Convention)”.
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on violence against women
also confirmed the situation when she was in Cuba.
As she reported: "The Special Rapporteur was informed by the
Minister of Justice that, in order to form an association, an
application must be submitted to the Ministry of Justice in accordance
with the law on associations. The
proposed statute of the association will then be examined to determine
whether the objectives are in accordance with legislation.
In this connection, the Special Rapporteur is concerned that the
Cuban law on associations (Ley de Asociaciones No. 54 (1985) y su
Reglamento (1986)) requires all associations and organizations to
cooperate and coordinate with relevant State organizations and (…)
effectively bars the legalization of any genuinely independent
organization, requires associations to accept broad State interference in
their activities and provides arbitrary State authority to shut them
The fact that the Cuban State prohibits the creation of independent
unions not only violates its international contractual obligations, but also the principles
enshrined in its own political constitution, which establishes workers'
right of association and assembly and declares that social organizations
"enjoy the broadest freedom of speech and opinion, based on the
unrestricted right to initiative and criticism."
Nevertheless, the Commission notes that the State places severe limits and
restrictions on all the freedoms recognized in the Constitution's Article
62 (frequently examined by the IACHR), which declares that those freedoms
cannot be exercised "against the existence and aims of the socialist
State, nor against the decision of the Cuban people to build socialism and
limitation is supplemented by the mandate of the single labor
confederation authorized and control by the State, which calls for
"political and ideological work for deepening the struggle to defend
socialism and its principles."
Although the Constitution recognizes broad freedoms for unions, the
concentration of State power would be impossible without restricting union
freedoms. The right of
association, on the other hand, cannot be exercised against the existence
and aims of the socialist State; labor unions are therefore not truly
autonomous, since they are subordinate to the interests of the State, and
the guidance of the party. Moreover, the main objectives of the unions are
related to output and productivity, and not to defending the interests of
workers. These limits on
union activity were highlighted by recent information relating to the
arrest of workers who were engaging in independent union activities, in
order to defend their labor interests.
The organization Pax Christi Netherlands, in its Fifth Report on
Cuba, notes that:
struggle for the realization of labor rights is frustrated by the complete
absence of all countervailing power in Cuban society. The ruling Communist
Party not only determines the legislative process; it also controls the
appointment of prosecutors, defense lawyers and the judges. They work in a
political setting which is based on the assumption that any opposition
against the ruling party and the State is tantamount to political treason,
making futile all calls for unbiased investigation of complaints about
Cuba's labor practices in Cuba.
The above-quoted organization also notes that Cuba systematically
violates the following ILO conventions to which it is party: 1) Convention
Nº 87 on trade union freedom and protection of the right to organize
(1948), ratified by Cuba on June 25, 1952; 2) Convention Nº 98 on the
right to organize and to bargain collectively (1949), ratified by Cuba on
April 29, 1952; Convention Nº 111, on discrimination in respect of
employment and occupation (1958), ratified by Cuba on August 26, 1965; and
Convention Nº 95 on protection of wages, ratified by Cuba on April 29,
1952. Pax Christi provides
the following detailed summary of how the Cuban State violates its
international obligations in this field:
workers don't have the right to choose their place of employment, the
nature of such employment or the wages to be received for said work. The
same system is used to deny Cuban students freedom to choose their
get a regular job, a worker in Cuba is asked to sign a pledge or contract.
An essential dimension of the pledge is a record of support for the
Communist Party and all it stands for. Anybody without this document is
locked out. This practice is a violation of the fundamental ILO Convention
Nº 111 (concerning discrimination in respect of employment). Also
students need to sign a pledge in order to enter university. Furthermore
students of the political elite are taking the very few places at the
better universities. The rest of the students have to choose between the
military academy and formal teaching education.
workers don't have the right to form labor unions of their own choosing,
to strike, to ask for better working conditions, to criticize any work
rules or even to complain about their supervisors.
official Cuban labor union CTC (Confederación de Trabajadores Cubanos)
is instituted and controlled by the ruling Communist Party. Membership is
obligatory for all workers and so is the payment of the membership fee.
Attempts by workers to organize themselves independently are illegal, and
are subjected to persecution, harassment and expulsion from work
(Violation of Convention Nº 87).
workers don't have the right to choose a place of employment at a foreign
special government employment agencies select people to work in the dollar
sector, i.e. foreign companies. In general these people are selected on
basis of their loyalty to the party, not capability. This is a direct
violation of the fundamental ILO Convention Nº 111 (concerning
discrimination in respect of employment).
workers and foreign employers are prohibited to freely negotiate wages.
speaking, foreign employers in Cuba do not pay wages to their employees at
all. They are compelled to make payments to government agencies, in return
for which these agencies dispatch workers to the production sites. The
compensation that the workers receive from the agencies is not freely
negotiated with these agencies and, furthermore, is quite unrelated to the
payments that the companies make. Workers are compelled to accept salaries
far below the subsistence level. This practice, by which workers receive
less than 10% of the sums that the companies pay the agencies, violates
the provisions of ILO Convention Nº 95.
vast majority of the Cuban workers don't have the right to open their own
businesses, can't employ more than four people, all of whom have to be
workers must perform "voluntary" (non-paid) work and attend long
political rallies as directed by the Communist Party.
workers are encouraged to spy on their neighbors and to report any
activity of which the Party feels is against its directives.
is common practice to put in each workplace, including foreign companies,
militant supporters or spies to deal with troublesome co-workers. In doing
so the government violates Convention Nº 87, Article 3.2, which States
that 'the Public authorities shall refrain from an interference which
would restrict this right [freedom of association] or impede the lawful
The control that the Cuban State exercises over workers is also
felt in the area of foreign investment.
Thus, for example, there is no collective bargaining, and the
processes involved in hiring, paying wages, terminating employment and
other labor-related aspects are not conducted directly between the firm
and the employee, but rather through an employer entity designated by the
State. The same
discriminatory ideological criteria that prevail in other areas can also
be applied to these companies, so that State control over their workers is
assured. The Inter-American
Commission was also informed that wages are not paid directly to workers,
but rather to the State agency, which collects them in hard currency and
subsequently pays them out to the worker in national currency.
The difference between the salaries paid by the business and what
is actually paid to the worker by the State agency represents a
considerable sum, which allows the State to obtain substantial benefits at
the expense of the worker who could have received them.
In addition, the law provides that when a mixed enterprise or a totally
foreign-owned business considers that a certain worker does not meet its
workforce requirements, it may ask the agency to replace him by another,
without affording him any legal protection.
According to the newspaper Granma, the official organ of the
Communist Party, Cubans wishing to make a career in the foreign sector
must have idoneidad (suitability).
To get a job, such a person must be a member of mass organizations, be an
impeccable "revolutionary", never create problems, and most of
all: be recommended by organs
of the State. Pax Christi Netherlands notes in its report that, in this
situation, “Cubans who are not ardent fans of the government resort to
falsifying their credentials through bribery or other means in order to
have a chance to work in a foreign company. In response, the Government
now insists that the person must remain idóneo
to keep the job, and the job can be taken away at any time if the
Government deems otherwise. Once within the system, one has to become an
accomplice in order to stay in it. It creates an understanding among the
elite that everyone else is involved and, therefore, will not turn them
in. As a result the conspiracy of silence is strengthened.”
It has also been noted that, in the new economic system, “the
State has been developing a network of loyal supporters who must keep
totally silent. At the top are the people closest to the government who
are slowly being placed in executive positions in each joint venture that
is formed. (…) These people are often retired military or government
officials, or they may have simply moved up the ladder by keeping silent
and remaining politically loyal”.
The Inter-American Commission was informed that the following persons have
been expelled from their workplace for expressing political ideas that
differ from the official line:
Early in the year 2000, Pedro Emilio Pacheco Pérez, who worked as
senior professor of oral health at the dentistry faculty of the Instituto
Superior de Ciencias Medicas in Santiago de Cuba.
Official Resolution Nº 11,897 withdrew his status as senior
professor; Sergio Lazaro Cabarrouy Fernandez, engineer and professor at
the Faculty of Technical Sciences in the University of Pinar del Rio. By
Resolution Nº 7499 he was stripped of his status as teaching instructor
for being an active collaborator of the magazine “Vitral”, the news
and information service of the Diocese of Pinar del Rio; Belkis Cantillo
Ramírez, teaching assistant of the Circulo Infantil “Sueños
de Marti” was expelled on February 3 by the administration of the
center; Vladimir Montano Morales, an export tobacco worker, was expelled
from the La Bejucaleña tobacco factory; Jorge Dante Abad Herrera, a
teacher, was expelled from the “Julio Delgado Reyes” construction
institute; Francisco Correa Delgado, a warehouse worker, was expelled from
the Empresa Municipal de la Marina, Ministery of Industry; Jorge
Luis Larrazabal Zulueta, a fumigation and vector control worker, was
expelled from the municipal health department of Guantánamo; Lesme Gainza
Toledano, a chemistry professor, was expelled from the “Rafael
Morejon” secondary school; Odalys Zayas Miranda, a veterinary
doctor, was expelled from the Empresa Pecuaria San Cristóbal,
Ministry of Agriculture; and José Antonio Montano Morales, a medical
internist, who worked at the Julio Trigo Teaching Hospital in Havana, was
transferred to a lesser post after obtaining a visa to emigrate to the
United States. Currently he is working a watchman’s shift at the center
until the Minister of Public Health, Dr. Carlos Dotres, determines his
On April 21, 2000, Mario Paulino González Rodríguez was expelled
from the Empresa Comercio y Gastronomía of Perico, in Matanzas,
after being declared "unfit" or "unsuitable" to
perform his function, for having declared political opinions distinct from
those of the State, for being affiliated with an unauthorized political
party, and having participated in a street march to demand the release of
political prisoners and prisoners of conscience.
He appealed this measure to the labor justice court, and was told
that he had no grounds for appeal.
Lazaro Vera is a delegate of the independent labor organization,
the Consejo Unitario de Trabajadores de Cuba (CUTC) in Cienfuegos
In March, 2000, Pedro Mendez Fundora, alias “El Pire”, a
Captain of the State Security Forces, reported to the municipal director
of the bakery “Panadería Los Pinos” where Lazaro worked as a
baker's assistant that this person was an opponent of the government and
that he was not "trustworthy" because he might poison the bread
for public consumption. For
this reason he was unable to continue working in the bakery.
d. The Commission was also informed that Alberto Sigler Montes de Oca, a gardener at the “Ignacio Agramonte” primary school, was dismissed from his work for his political ideas. In June, Alberto Sigler was kind enough to take one of the children to his home, since his parents had not come for him, and it was already after 6 PM and the teacher had to leave. Three days later, officials of the Municipal Education Department of Perico visited the school to inform the director, Carmen Casanova, that Mr. Sigler Montes de Oca could not continue working at that center, because the boy’s stepfather, Jorge Pérez Llerena, a State Security Captain, had complained to the Department of Education that no government opponent should work with children. The director of the center did not agree, considering that Alberto was a magnificent worker, but her opinion carried no weight and that of State Security prevailed. Alberto Sigler Montes de Oca is an opponent of the regime and has been harassed on several occasions for his ideology.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights considers that, in
light of the reforms that have been undertaken in the economic and labor
areas, it is becoming ever more essential to have free and independent
labor unions that can defend the rights of workers.
It is in this area of rights that the Commission finds the greatest
contradiction between the system's ideological postulates and their
practical implementation. Indeed,
one of the postulates of the system that prevails in Cuba today is that of
building socialism in order to achieve an egalitarian society where people
are neither exploiters nor exploited.
Yet current circumstances and legal provisions allow situations of
exploitation to proliferate. The
right to association for labor purposes is neither recognized nor applied:
only official unions are authorized.
The function of the unions has been denatured, and instead of
focusing on defending the concrete interests of workers they are used as a
vehicle for transmitting government instructions; the unions have
therefore become yet another instrument of control.
In this context, the right to strike is denied in reality, and
constitutes a punishable crime, while collective bargaining is virtually
non-existent. In terms of
corporate organization, the vertical structure allows no institutional
channels for workers to participate in the management of productive units,
even though, theoretically, they are the owners of the means of
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has declared its
profound concern, in earlier reports, over prison conditions and the
deliberately severe and degrading treatment that the Cuban State accords
prisoners, which facts constitute serious violations of human rights.
Ample testimony in the hands of the Commission demonstrates, for
the year 2000 as well, the severity of the status of prisoners in Cuba,
and especially those that are serving sentences for political crimes.
The Commission also regrets that the Cuban State has not complied
with its own constitutional and legal standards in this area, which in
theory establish principles that, if they were respected, should provide
adequate safeguards for prison conditions.
The Cuban Constitution provides, in Articles 58 and 59:
those living within the national territory are guaranteed liberty and
inviolability of their person. No
one may be detained except in the cases, in the manner and with the
guarantees prescribed by law. The
personal integrity of the prisoner or the detainee is inviolable.
one may be prosecuted or convicted except by a competent tribunal on the
basis of laws predating the crime, and in accordance with the formalities
and guarantees established therein. The
accused has the right to defense. No
violence or coercion of any kind may be used against persons to force them
to make statements. Any
declaration obtained in violation of this precept is null and void and
those responsible are liable to punishment according to law.
In the juridical context of treatment during imprisonment, the
Cuban Criminal Code provides that prisoners are to be paid for any
socially useful work that they perform; they are to be provided with
proper clothing and footwear; they are to be allowed the normal daily
hours of rest, and one day of rest each week; they are to be provided with
medical and hospital care in case of illness; they have the right to
receive long-term social security benefits, in the case of total
disability arising from occupational accidents.
If a prisoner dies as a result of an occupational accident, his
family is to receive the corresponding pension.
They are to enjoy the opportunity to broaden their cultural and
technical development; they are to be allowed, in the manner and form
established in the regulations, to exchange correspondence with
non-prisoners and to receive visits and articles of consumption; depending
on their behavior, they are authorized to use the married quarters, in the
manner and form established in the regulations; they are to be allowed
leave from prison for limited times; they are to be given the opportunity
and means of recreation and to practice sports in accordance with
activities programmed for the prison, and they may be promoted from a
penitentiary system to one of less severity.
As well, a prisoner may not be subjected to corporal punishment nor
subjected to any measure that signifies humiliation or that diminishes his
The current situation, nevertheless, betrays a glaring
inconsistency between the facts and the law.
In its 2001 annual report, Human Rights Watch notes that “whether
detained for political or common crimes, inmates were subjected to abusive
prison conditions. Prisoners frequently suffered malnourishment and
languished in overcrowded cells without appropriate medical attention.
Some endured physical and sexual abuse, typically by other inmates with
the acquiescence of guards, or long periods in isolation cells. Prison
authorities insisted that all detainees participate in politically
oriented ‘re-education’ sessions or face punishment. Political
prisoners who denounced the poor conditions of imprisonment were punished
with solitary confinement, restricted visits, or denial of medical
This organization has made an in-depth analysis of the labor system in
Cuban prisons, showing that, in practice, the Cuban authorities are
violating their own legal and constitutional rules, as well as the United
Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners:
Cuban prison labor program's sales of prisoner-made products, such as
mattresses, in conjunction with the refusal to pay inmates for their work,
highlighted Cuba's apparent interest in profiting from prison labor,
rather than rehabilitating prisoners. Beyond selling to domestic markets,
some former prisoners told Human Rights Watch that they produced items for
sale in Cuban government dollar stores or made materials for use in the
Cuban tourism industry. (…) Prison authorities apparently coerce some
prisoners into working by threatening to deny prison benefits, including
The situation is no different in the case of independent
journalists serving sentences in Cuban prisons.
In April 2000, the Inter-American Press Association declared its
concern over the constant harassment that independent journalists suffer
in Cuba, and it "condemned, especially, the terrible conditions and
continuous punishment that many of them face in the country's prisons.
Punishing, harassing and discrediting independent journalists is a
mechanism commonly used to undermine their work.
We are alert to the situation and hope that the rights of prisoners
will be respected, and that the government will provide guarantees of
judicial review and due process."
This organization complained that the independent journalist Víctor
Orlando Arroyo, sentenced to six months in prison for the alleged crime of
hoarding, was facing dreadful health and nutritional conditions, and was
allowed only limited family visits. Joel Jesús Díaz Hernández remains
in an isolation cell in the Canaleta prison in the province of Ciego de
Avila. Bernardo Rogelio Arévalo
Padrón and Manuel Antonio González Castellanos, who have been in prison
since 1997 and 1998 respectively, are also limited in their family visits
and in their access to reading materials.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights also received, from
Havana, a report of the Comisión Cubana de Derechos Humanos y
Reconciliación Nacional [“Cuban Commission for Human Rights and
National Reconciliation”], which records the number of political
prisoners in Cuba and the outlook for the year 2001:
In addition to the above information, the Commission also received
the following denunciations:
In February, 2000, Armando Sosa Fortunay, a political prisoner held
at the Kilo 8 prison in Camaguey, showed serious health problems after he
had been held for two months in the provincial headquarters of the State
Security department, in an isolation cell without access to daylight and
without any medical care. In April, 2000, Marcel Valenzuela Salt, a political prisoner
held in prison 1580 in Havana, declared a hunger strike over the refusal
to give him medical attention after he was unable to digest the rotten
food that he was given. On
more than one location he approached the prison authorities seeking
transfer to a hospital, but without success.
In May 2000, the common prisoner José David Germán Aguilera, who
had joined in the complaints of political prisoners held at the Kilo 8
prison in Camaguey, suffered pain in his appendix and in one leg, and as a
result of his political views he was refused medical attention.
The political prisoner of conscience, Jorge Luis García Pérez “Antúnez”,
held in the prison Nievas Morejón in Sancti Spiritus, suffered chest
pains, lack of air, advanced kidney infection and constant attacks of
hypoglycemia. The refusal of
medical assistance by the prison authorities led Antúnez, together with
several relatives and opponents in the vicinity, to begin a hunger strike
on May 23, 2000, demanding his removal to hospital.
The strike lasted until June 1, when the prison authorities
promised to provide assistance. At
the time this report was being prepared, Antúnez was once again on a
hunger strike, demanding that he be provided medical care.
In August 2000, all the prisoners in the isolation cells of the Las
Alambradas de Manacas prison, in Villa Clara, staged a protest to demand
medical attention for Pavel Acosta, a prisoner who was in a critical state
of health: the response of the prison authorities was to reinforce the
guard watch and bring in dogs trained to attack the prisoners.
As well, the Commission learned that the following common prisoners
died for lack of medical attention: Alexander Bojiano (22 years of age,
native of Trinidad), was complaining of intestinal pains, yet both the
physician and the prison authorities refused him medical care; Reiner Diaz
(29 years of age, native of Cabaiguan) was asthmatic and, during a severe
asthma attack, requested medical assistance from the guards, named Julio
and Enron, who told him that they could not help: hours later, he died of
asphyxiation in the prison's infirmary; Rubén Fragoso Quintero (28 years
of age), a hemophiliac, died in the provincial hospital of Sancti Spiritus
where he was refused the blood transfusions that were needed to save his
life; and Alexander Tati (29 years, native of Trinidad) complained of
chest pains and received no help, and subsequently suffered a fatal
The Inter-American Commission was also informed that the political
prisoner Francisco Chaviano González, held in the Combinado del Este
prison in Havana, was removed to an isolation cell and prohibited from
receiving visits from his wife or relatives for more than one year,
because he refused to wear the uniform of a common prisoner and he had
complained of mistreatment in the prison. Chaviano González is in a
delicate state of health, with a duodenal ulcer.
On August 22, 2000, the political prisoner Vladimiro Roca Antúnez,
held in the Ariza prison, Cienfuegos, was prohibited from receiving
visits. This man is President
of the Cuban Social Democratic Party, and the only one of the four signers
of the document "La Patria es de Todos" ["The
Homeland Belongs to All of Us"] who remains in prison.
From November 2000 until February 2001 visiting rights were
suspended for the political prisoner Lázaro Alejandro García Farah, for
his refusal to participate in political indoctrination classes given in
the El Típico prison in Las Tunas.
According to information received, the female political prisoners
Aidanet Jordan Cabrera and her sister Mayda Barbara Jordan Cabrera, were
sentenced to 10 and 15 years imprisonment, and are being held in the
“Nieves Morejon” Women's Prison, located in the province of Sancti
Spiritus, where they are suffering humiliation, harassment and beatings by
prison inmates. The
information indicates that Aidanet was severely beaten by prison officer
Carlos Bernal, and that her arm was broken. Mayda is suffering from a
severe psychiatric disorder resulting from these events.
The Jordan Cabrera sisters have been held in this prison since
1994; they are the mothers of two young children each, who are being cared
for by relatives.
The Inter-American Commission received testimony taken secretly
from the Mar Verde prison in Santiago de Cuba.
It reports that "in Mar Verde prisoners suffer from constant
harassment, and the cells are too small for the number of prisoners locked
up in them. For example, in
the so-called Detachment Nº 44, there are nine prisoners held together in
cells that measure approximately 2 m by 3m.
In Detachment No. 1, the cubicles are 6 by 5 meters, and each holds
18 prisoners. In Detachment Nº
7, where the cells measure 1.5 by 2.5 meters, there are six prisoners in
each compartment. The
prisoners sleep in three-place bunks with mattresses made of canvas and
stuffed with unrecognizable materials".
This testimony also relates how the "common prisoner Jose
Ismael Martínez Lavigne, confined in Detachment Nº 4, was brutally
beaten on April 26, 2000, by an internal security officer named Angel Luis
Fonseca, as a result of which Martínez Lavigne suffered inflammation of
the testicles and the right eye. This
attack occurred when the officer objected to the prisoner’s walking in
the prison corridor, which, as he explained, he was doing at the orders of
the physician, because of a pulmonary illness.
In protest at this cruel treatment, Jose Ismael Martínez Lavigne
stabbed himself in the stomach with a piece of thick wire.”
The Commission also received testimony on the conditions suffered
by the independent journalist Víctor Rolando Arroyo Carmona when he was
sentenced to the prison of Pinar del Rio:
The testimony described in this section of the report represents
only the complaints that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
received during the year 2000, revealing that there are serious
accusations of degrading and inhuman treatment of prisoners by
penitentiary authorities of the Cuban State.
The Commission has also received complaints that former political
prisoners, once released, continue to be harassed by the State, thereby
continuing, in other forms, the discriminatory punishment that they
suffered during their time of imprisonment.
The Commission urges the Cuban State to provide former prisoners
with the same living conditions as those granted to persons with
equivalent professional qualifications, and not to discriminate against
them in any manner for having served a sentence for political reasons.
As noted at the beginning of this section, Cuban legislation
contains positive mechanisms that, if properly applied, could improve
prison conditions. Unfortunately,
in these cases, there is an inconsistency between fact and law, and the
Cuban State not only ignores its own constitutional and legal precepts but
also systematically violates the American Declaration of the Rights and
Duties of Man
and the United Nations Minimum International Rules for the Treatment of
Prisoners. The Commission reiterates to the Cuban State that deprivation
of liberty must have clearly determined objectives, that these must not be
exceeded by the actions of the penitentiary authorities nor under the
guise of their disciplinary powers, and therefore the prisoner must not be
isolated or discriminated against, but rather reintegrated into society.
In other words, prison practice must observe a basic principle:
deprivation of liberty must not be compounded by even greater suffering
than that implied by imprisonment, i.e., the prisoner must be treated
humanely, in keeping with the dignity of his person, and the system must
seek to ensure his social reintegration.
VI. ECONOMIC SANCTIONS
In recent years, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has
repeatedly declared that "the inter-American community has the
responsibility to create external conditions that enable Cuban society to
overcome the situation currently affecting it, with a view to achieving
the full observance of human rights. In this regard, the Commission
considers that the adverse effects of the economic sanctions and other
unilateral measures aimed at isolating the Cuban regime constitute an
obstacle to creating those conditions that are so necessary for achieving
a peaceful and gradual transition to a democratic form of
The Commission also considers that this policy of economic sanctions
directed against the Cuban regime has a grave impact on the economic and
social rights of the population, which is the most vulnerable sector in
this whole problem. Because of the sanctions, the Cuban people have
suffered a steady deterioration in their living standards over the last
The Inter-American Commission is aware that, during the period
covered by this report, a number of decisions have been adopted with
respect to these unilateral measures. Thus, Human Rights Watch/Americans notes, in its most recent
annual report, that:
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women was
able, during her visit, to confirm in
situ the difficulties facing Cuban women in the social and economic
sphere as a result of these unilateral measures:
Special Rapporteur had to recognize in the course of her research that the
economic sanctions imposed by the United States of America
against Cuba have a significant impact on the social and economic
situation of Cuban women. The
lack of availability of medicines and pharmaceutical items was clearly
evident in the State hospitals the Special Rapporteur visited, although
the conditions in these hospitals were exemplary by third world
standards. In addition, in
relation to women’s quality of life, women’s groups presented evidence
to the Special Rapporteur of hardships for women in the home caused by the
embargo, and put forward the argument that the embargo and the hardships
resulted in domestic violence. The
counter‑argument is that the situation is not a product of the
embargo but of economic mismanagement by the central Government.
However, the Special Rapporteur is convinced from all that she
heard and saw that the embargo imposed unilaterally by the United States
has a particularly serious negative impact on the lives of Cuban women and
that other United Nations mechanisms, concerned with economic and
social rights, should investigate the possibility that the United States
embargo actually results in the denial of the economic and social rights
of Cuban women.
On a more detailed level, the Special Rapporteur declared that
“the economic embargo has a differentiating impact on women in society,
with women carrying the heaviest responsibility to find innovative means
to cope with the shortage of supplies, such as medicines, cooking oil,
soap, female hygiene products, nappies, paper, etc.
Women have been most affected by the embargo since they are the
principal actors in domestic life. The embargo also has direct consequences for women’s health
since medical supplies are short. In
particular women may suffer psychological consequences as a result of lack
of specific female medical care, such as lack of contraceptives and
pap-smears. In addition, as a
result of the food shortage, women often are the last in the family to eat
or do not eat at all. At the
same time, women’s innovative skills during the period of the embargo
have created an idiosyncrasy in society, where, because of these special
skills the real impact of the embargo is not perceived as being as strong
as it in fact is.”
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights considers that an
orderly program of reforms, both in the area of civil and political rights
and in that of economic and social rights, would be facilitated by putting
an end to the unilateral measures imposed against Cuba.
The prolonged policies of economic, trade and financial embargo
imposed against the island have had a negative impact over the years on
the political climate and on the country's economic conditions.
These measures have become an obstacle to the needed opening of a
system that is, to a large extent, shaped and justified by the perceived
need to confront external pressures.
It would also seem that many dissident groups within Cuba are
opposed to these unilateral measures, for the same reasons: "we
neither support nor seek measures to isolate Cuba from the outside world.
We also recall that, while we are isolated by the political and
economic order prevailing in our own country, it is mistaken to think that
Cubans benefit or participate with dignity in the various forms of
relationship with official Cuban institutions.
These forms of isolation do not justify each other.
Therefore, anyone who seeks to act in a morally consistent manner,
respecting our sovereignty and making common cause with Cuba, must always
demand an end to the embargo and a democratic opening within Cuba.”
The Commission trusts that the necessary measures will be adopted
to end the trade embargo against Cuba, since a policy of isolating the
country does nothing to improve the life of the Cuban people--the only
group really affected by this situation. If the inter-American community
wishes to contribute effectively to a peaceful transition to democracy and
the unrestricted respect for civil, political, economic, social and
cultural rights it will have to re-examine its strategy. In exercising its
functions and attributes, the Commission will continue to observe the
human rights situation in Cuba and hopes that human rights will be
effectively observed by decision of the Cuban authorities and people, and
with the support of the inter-American community, of which Cuba is a part.
on all the foregoing, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has
reached the following conclusions:
The Commission notes with concern an increase in the figures
reflecting violations of civil and political rights by the Cuban State
during the period covered by this report, in comparison with 1999 and
1998. It notes as well that
it is always towards the end of the year and the beginning of the
following year that the State steps up its repression against persons who,
deviating from the official line, attempt to exercise their rights to
freedom of expression, assembly and association.
In effect, harassment, disciplinary measures, accusations,
temporary arrests, dismissals from work, official warnings, and prison
sentences multiplied during the year 2000.
It is also clear that the positive changes that were made in 1998,
in light of the visit of His Holiness John Paul II to Cuba, and that at
the time generated great expectations, have been progressively diluted and
must be considered merely interim measures.
The Commission must express its concern over repressive actions
against peaceful opponents, independent journalists, labor unionists and
human rights activists who, year after year, suffer harassment and
discrimination for political reasons at the hands of the Cuban
authorities. Violations of
the freedoms of expression, assembly and association have been legitimized
in the Constitution and in criminal law, in a manner completely
incompatible with the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of
Man. The Cuban State must reform its constitutional and criminal
law provisions relating to such concepts as "enemy propaganda",
"contempt for authority", "illegal association",
"clandestine printing", “dangerousness",
"rebellion", "acts against State Security",
"official warning", "pre-crime and post-crime security
measures", "links or relationships to persons potentially
dangerous to society", "socialist legality", and
With respect to the right to justice and due process, the
Commission also finds that the Cuban State has made no change that would
allow, de facto and de
jure, the unrestricted respect for judicial guarantees and the right
of the accused to be tried by a competent, independent and impartial
tribunal. The administration of justice therefore remains subordinate to
the political power, with a detrimental impact on the practical observance
of those rights. The fact that there is no separation of powers in Cuba
that would guarantee the independence of the administration of justice
results in the grave violation of the right of the accused--and
particularly those accused of political crimes--to a fair trial, which
also limits other fundamental human rights, such as the right to life,
individual liberty, freedom of expression, assembly, and association.
From the procedural irregularities committed in trials of
dissidents, the Commission finds that Cuban tribunals continue to act and
render judgments based more on their convictions about revolutionary
values than on proper judicial procedures.
Moreover, the evidence at hand leads to the conclusion that
judgments are always favorable to the prosecution and not to the defense.
The principal limitation lies in the Constitution itself, which
stipulates that none of the recognized freedoms may be exercised
"against the existence and aims of the socialist State".
The importance of this rule is that it governs, at the highest
level, the exercise of the rights and freedoms recognized by the
Constitution for Cuban citizens, in their relations with State organs.
Also incompatible with the principles of due process are the
constitutional limitations on rights and freedoms conveyed in such
subjective and imprecise criteria as "the decision of the Cuban
people to build socialism and communism."
It is clear that these criteria belong not to the juridical but to
the political realm. Consequently,
it is the governing party that, in the final analysis, decides whether the
exercise of a given freedom or right is contrary to this postulate.
This situation eliminates any possibility of defense for the
individual against the political power, and gives constitutional blessing
to the arbitrary exercise of power over the Cuban people.
In the labor area, the Commission notes that the State has made
some progress of benefit to Cuban women.
This progress relates to women's economic rights and the existence
of legal, economic and social mechanisms that give effect to labor rights.
The Cuban system offers women a socioeconomic safety net that
places them, statistically, in a better position than most of the women of
Latin America. In terms of
education, work force participation and professional and technical
training, they are much further advanced than in most other countries of
the hemisphere. Nevertheless,
the Commission also notes that there are various forms of discrimination
in the allocation of work, for ideological or related reasons. People who
display political disagreement with the regime are those who are most
likely to be unemployed. As
well, the relatives of political prisoners suffer discrimination at work,
as do those prisoners themselves, once they are released.
The Commission also notes that the Cuban State applies the same
treatment to the relatives of émigrés who engage in activities
abroad that are antagonistic to the current political system.
Employment discrimination on ideological grounds is a mechanism
that is easy to apply in an economy where the State is the sole employer.
This State control also makes itself felt through the prohibition of
independent labor unions and the systematic harassment of anyone who
attempts to set up an association to protect labor rights.
These facts constitute violations not only of the international
agreements signed by the Cuban State within the context of the
International Labor Organization (ILO), but also of the right of
association enshrined in the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties
In terms of prison conditions, the Commission finds that they
continue to be very poor. The deliberately severe, degrading and inhumane treatment
that the State accords inmates, both common and political prisoners,
constitute serious violations of human rights. The ample testimony in the
hands of the Commission demonstrates the gravity of this situation, and
especially for those prisoners serving sentences for political crimes. The Commission also regrets that the Cuban State has not
complied with its own constitutional and legal standards in this area,
which in theory establish principles that, if they were respected, should
provide adequate treatment for prison inmates.
An inconsistency between practice and law, however, is clearly
demonstrated in the current situation.
In effect, the lack of medicine for treating sick prisoners, the
refusal of the prison authorities to allow relatives to bring medicines to
prisoners, the refusal of the authorities to allow prisoners to receive
medical and religious attention, mistreatment by guards and even by the
prison infirmary doctors, beatings, overcrowding, locking up political
prisoners with criminals and insane inmates, isolation cells with no
access to daylight, forced and unpaid labor, confrontation with prisoners'
relatives by State Security agents and prison authorities, and harassment
of prisoners' relatives are typical of the conditions prevailing today in
Cuban prisons. The Commission reiterates to the Cuban State that
deprivation of liberty must have clearly determined objectives, that these
must not be exceeded by the actions of the penitentiary authorities nor
under the guise of their disciplinary powers, and therefore the prisoner
must not be isolated or discriminated against, but rather reintegrated
into society. In other words,
prison practice must observe a basic principle: deprivation of liberty
must not be compounded by even greater suffering than that implied by
imprisonment, i.e., the prisoner must be treated humanely, in keeping with
the dignity of his person, and the system must seek to ensure his social
persistence of human rights violations during the year 2000 obliges the
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to reiterate essentially the
same recommendations to the Cuban State as last year. These measures would
substantially improve the human rights situation, and in many cases they
require purely administrative decisions. Accordingly, pursuant to Article
63(h) of its Regulations, the Commission makes the following
recommendations to the Cuban State:
Cease the harassment and punishment of citizens for reasons having
to do with the exercise of the freedom of expression, assembly, and
Adopt urgent measures with a view to continuing the unconditional
release of prisoners of conscience.
Eliminate from the criminal legislation all crimes that penalize,
contrary to internationally accepted democratic standards, the freedom of
expression, association, and assembly. In terms of freedom of press,
repeal any provision or decree aimed at creating mechanisms of
self-censorship or prior censorship.
Eliminate from the Criminal Code the provisions on dangerousness,
pre-criminal security measures, and the terms "socialist
legality," "socially dangerous," "norms of socialist
comity," and "socialist morality," as their vagueness and
subjectivity create legal insecurity, fostering the conditions for the
Cuban authorities to commit arbitrary acts. In addition, eliminate the
criminal provision that refers to "official warning," which is
used to threaten with punishment individuals who have "links or
relationships with persons potentially dangerous to society."
Adopt urgent measures with a view to carrying out a reform of the
prison system for the purpose of improving the living conditions of the
prison population. The Cuban State should carry out an exhaustive review
of the background of prison authorities before placing them in the
country's various prisons, so as to prevent mistreatment and abuse of the
prisoners. In this regard, it would be important for the Cuban State to
create a regulation with guidelines to be followed by those authorities to
ensure they do not overstep the bounds of their authority in performing
Adopt the necessary measures to allow for ideological and
political-party pluralism for the full exercise of the right to political
participation, in keeping with Article XX of the American Declaration of
the Rights and Duties of Man.
PROCESSSING OF THE REPORT
The draft report on the situation of human rights in Cuba was
approved by the Commission during its 110º regular session.
It was sent to the state on March 14, 2001, pursuant to Article
63(h) of the Commission´s Regulations, in order to allow for the
submission of observations within thirty days.
The Cuban State failed to present observations within the time
3. On April 16, 2001, the Commission
approved this report and its publication within Chapter IV of the present
Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, "Summary Report on known acts of political repression in Cuba
between November 1999 and February 2000", in Bulletin of the
Cuban Committee for Human Rights (Spain), Year XI, No. 32,
Spring-Summer 2000, page 20.
Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet, in a letter that he gave to his wife during a
regulation visit on March 15, 2000, at the provincial prison of
Holguin, declared his decision not to appeal the three-year sentence
imposed by the Cuban courts, saying that "the Communist court
convicted me on the basis of untrue and malicious statements by the
prosecutor and the political police.
My lawyer, who put up a magnificent defense, demonstrated my
innocence, and I carry that in my heart, and so my conscience is
There is also God's law.
My trial showed that there is no justice in this country.
I was reminded of the Inquisition courts of medieval Europe.
The justice system is subordinated to the law of the Council of
State, and its members to the ideology of the Communist Party.
The person responsible for both bodies, Fidel Castro, slandered
me in the media, abusing his position to influence the jury.
In light of the lack of impartiality and professionalism in
Cuban justice, the institutionalization of injustice, the conspiracy
against human rights activists, I refuse to make any appeal to the
courts of my country.
I confirm that the Castro government murders children in
hospitals through the use of abortion.
It killed 20 children when their parents were demanding
freedom, on the Remolcador on March 13.
It assassinates children's spirit by imposing on them a
single-minded education and indoctrinating them in evil, in communism,
and the murder of four young pilots and the torture of prisoners and
Dr. Oscar Elias Biscet, President of the Lawton Foundation for
Human Rights, Havana, Cuba, February 26, 2000.
See I-ACHR, Annual Report 1998, Volume II, Human
Rights Developments in Cuba, para. 15, OEA/Ser.L/V/II.102, Doc.,
rev., April 16, 1999.
Article 113 of the Code of Criminal Procedures allows the
police and other "authorities"--without specifying which
authorities--to arrest, without judicial order, any person accused of
a crime against State security or of acts that "have caused alarm
or are among those committed frequently in the territory of the
municipality." While the first situation, related to persons
suspected of political crimes, endangers dissidents, the wording of
the second one is so ambiguous as to allow the police to make arrests
legally, without a warrant, with a minimal justification. This
code also allows the police and the authorities to detain a person for
up to a week before a court reviews the legality of the detention. The
law affords the prosecutor an additional 72 hours to decide whether to
send the accused to prison, to release him, or to impose less severe
restrictions. The court only reviews the legality of the detention if
the prosecutor decides to imprison or place other restrictions on the
accused (Articles 243, 245 and 246 of the Code of Criminal
Procedures). I-ACHR, Annual Report 1999,
Volume II, Human Rights
Developments in Cuba, paras. 45 and 46.
Internal Dissidents’ Working Group (GTDI), Report
on Violations of Human Rights Committed by the Government in Cuba,
Havana, Cuba, 1999-2000.
Cuban Criminal Code, Contempt, Article 144 (1).
"Anyone who threatens, libels or slanders, defames,
affronts (injuria) or in any
other way insults (ultraje)
or offends, with the spoken word or in writing, the dignity or decorum
of an authority, public functionary, or his agents or auxiliaries, is
liable to imprisonment of three months to one year, plus a fine of 100
to 300 quotas, or both.”
Article 144(2). “If the act is committed against the
President of the Council of the State, the President of the National
Assembly of Popular Power, the members of the Council of State or the
Council of Ministers, or the Deputies of the National Assembly of the
Popular Power, the sanction is deprivation of liberty for one to three
Internal Dissidents’ Working Group (GTDI), Report
on Violations of Human Rights Committed by the Government in Cuba,
op. cit., page 157.
Idem, page 210.
At the time this report was prepared, Néstor Rodríguez Lobaina had
just ended a hunger strike in protest over being kept in solitary
confinement for eleven months, and over the mistreatment and
humiliation that members of his family had suffered throughout the
Rolando Arroyo was convicted after the police confiscated toys that he
was planning to hand out to poor children in Pinar del Rio, as part of
a project known as "The Three Kings of the Millennium" [Reyes Magos del Milenio], promoted by a lawyer named Rodríguez Valdés.
Amnesty International has declared Arroyo a prisoner of
Article 9(b) of the Cuban Constitution.
La Palestra Cívica No. 18, October 2000, Information Bureau of
the Cuban Human Rights Movement, digital version.
Article XXII of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of
Article 47 of the Cuban Constitution.
Article 48 of the Cuban Constitution
United Nations, Report of the
Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, op. cit.,, paras. 68
Although the number of people working for their own account had
apparently grown to as many as 208,000 in 1996, by September 1998 it
had dropped to 143,406.
This decline reflected heavy regulations and taxes.
"Cuba: Cuba's small private sector shrinks", Reuters News
Service, Sept. 11, 1998.
As well, the Labor Code defines labor files as records of a
worker's on-the-job performance, and they are kept by the worker's
Nevertheless, State Security agents and other government
officials have apparently used these files to monitor the political or
anti-government ideas of workers or their relatives.
Article 61 of Law No. 49, in Human Rights Watch/Americas, Cuba's Repressive Machinery, op. cit., pp. 191 and 192.
United Nations, International Labor Conference, 82nd Meeting, Report
III (Part 4A), “Report of the
Committee of Experts on the Applications of Conventions and
Recommendations”, 1995, pp. 329 and 330, in I-ACHR, Annual
Report 1996, Human Rights
Developments in Cuba, Chapter V.
United Nations, Report of the
Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, op. cit., para. 79.
Cuba ratified Convention No. 87 of 1948 on trade union freedom and the
right to organize, on June 25, 1952.
Article 54 of the Cuban constitution.
Sylvia Martínez and Emilio del Barrio, VIII Pleno del Comite
Nacional de la CTC: “Encara
el Movimiento Obrero la lucha contra el Delito y otras Deformaciones”
[“The Workers’ Movement tackles the struggle against crime and
other distortions”], Granma daily newspaper, Havana, Cuba, May 27,
The IACHR learned, for example, that on Oct. 13, 2000, Pedro Pablo
Alvarez Ramos, an independent labor leader, was arrested to prevent
the holding of the Congress of the Consejo Unitario de Trabajadores
de Cuba (CUTC).
Alvarez Ramos was held in prison, without trial and without any
legal explanation, until early February, 2001.
Some months previously a number of labor activists were
arrested throughout the country to prevent meetings related to that
Congress in Havana.
As well, the Commission learned that the President of the
Independent College of Teachers, Roberto De Miranda, was arrested on
Oct. 22, 2000, at his home in Havana, to prevent a preparatory meeting
for the First Congress of Cuban Teachers since 1959.
That meeting was held in any case, and De Miranda was
threatened by officials of Villa Maristas that, if he continued with
these meetings, he would be imprisoned.
Pax Christi Netherlands, “The
European Union and Cuba: Solidarity or Complicity? Fifth Report on
Cuba”, September, 2000, PO Box 19319.3501, Dh Utrecht, The
Netherlands, page 6.
Idem, pages 6 and 7.
Decree Law Nº 77 on Foreign Investments, of 1995, establishes the
basic principles governing foreign investments.
Its provisions relating to labor are set out in more detail in
Resolution Nº 3/96, Regulations to the Labor System in Foreign
Investments (March 1996) and Decree Law Nº 166 on Violations of the
System of Personnel Contracting and Other Labor Regulations (July,
Law 165 on Free Zones and Industrial Parks (June, 1996)
establishes rules for investment in free zones and industrial parks in
Pax Christi Netherlands reports that “the foreign employer pays the
agency for every Cuban worker an amount that fluctuates between US$800
and US$1,500 per month. The same worker receives an average salary of
250 Cuban pesos per month, pesos that are worthless to them at the
current rate of 20 to 1. The State is keeping over 90% of their
salaries. This construction is in contravention of international
agreements, in particular ILO Convention 95, which protects the right
of workers to dispose freely of their salaries. (…) A German company
for example, offered to expand their operations and to provide up to
2000 new jobs but demanded in exchange the ability to directly pay its
workers. The State refused the proposal. Even bonuses to the employees
are often prohibited. According to a dissident, a foreign firm gave a
Christmas bonus to its employees, and the State took it away because
it was not in the contract.” Op.
cit., page 12.
According to the CUTC, there are 374 foreign investors in 32 sectors
from 46 countries. Fifty-two percent come from the EU, 19.0% from
Canada and 18% from Latin America. Out of this total there are 26
joint ventures in the tourist industry worth $900 million of which 24
are in the hotel sector. They also claim that there are 20 real estate
joint ventures for the exclusive construction, renovation and
administration of office buildings, apartments and commercial centers,
which are solely for foreigners. The above numbers vary depending on
the source but most agree that there are between 3,000 and 4,000
foreign entities operating in Cuba in one way or another. Pax Christi
Netherlands, Fifth Report on
Cuba, op. cit, page 8.
Idem, page 12.
Idem. A European journalist stated: “Often the foreign
investor is technically the chief executive officer of the company,
but the Cuban executive holds the real power due to his/her
connections to the government. They are able to get around the intricate web of laws and
restrictions through unofficial deals and bribes." Idem, page 12.
Articles 30 (1) and 31 of the Cuban Criminal Code.
Human Rights Watch/Americas, Annual report 2001, op. cit., page 26.
Human Rights Watch/Americas, "Cuba's
Repressive Machinery", op. cit., pages 183, 184 and 189.
Inter-American Press Association,
“SIP condena pésimas condiciones y hostigamiento contra periodistas
cubanos independientes in Prisión” [“IAPA condemns dreadful
conditions and harassment against independent Cuban journalists in
prison”], January 18, 2001, digital version.
Comisión Cubana de Derechos Humanos y Reconciliación Nacional,
Nota Informativa, Havana,
Cuba, January 9, 2001.
The American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man provides, in
Article XXV, that "Every individual … also has the right to
humane treatment during the time he is in custody.”
I-ACHR, Annual Report 1999, “Human
Rights Developments in Cuba”, Chapter IV, paragraph 64, OEA/Ser.L/II.106,
Doc. 3 rev., April 13, 2000.
Human Rights Watch/Americans, Annual Report 2001, op. cit., pages 28
United Nations, Report of the
Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, op. cit., para. 16.
Idem, para. 70.
Manifesto Todos Unidos,
signed by: Gisela Delgado Sablón, Centro de Estudios y Formación
para el Desarrollo Integral de la Mujer Cubana; Osvaldo Payá
Sardiñas, Movimiento Cristiano Liberación; Elizardo Sánchez
Santa Cruz, Comisión de Derechos Humanos y Reconciliación
Nacional; Roberto Larramendi Estrada, Movimiento Independiente
de Estudios Martianos; Carmelo Díaz Fernández, Unión
Sindical Cristiana; Carlos M. Ríos Otero, Cambio 2000 y
Sociedad Política de La Habana; Jorge Omar Lorenzo Pimienta, Consejo
Nacional por los Derechos Civiles; José Antonio Fornaris Ramos, Agencia
Cuba Verdad; Santiago Martínez Trujillo, Hermanos Fraternales
por la Dignidad; Regis Iglesias Ramírez, Movimiento Cristiano
Liberación; José Manuel Rodríguez y Manuel López Santos, Partido
Federalista; José Gabriel Román Castillo, Proyecto del
Instituto Independiente Cultura y Democracia; Roberto de Miranda
Hernández, Colegio Independiente de Pedagogos de Cuba; Héctor
Palacio Ruíz, Centro de Estudios Sociales; Adrián Gómez González,
Centro de Estudios Sociales; and 31 other non-governmental
Havana, Cuba, November 12 , 1999.