61.          Certain cases that occurred during the period covered by this report will illustrate the politics-based discrimination that a Cuban worker can experience:


a.          In December 2002, José Luis Blanco was fired from his job when authorities discovered that on his free time, he was working as an independent journalist for the Abdalá news agency.  Blanco was working in the Provincial Hygiene Center, an agency of Cuba's Ministry of Public Health, known by the acronym MINSAP.  He was dismissed when management learned that he was working for the independent press.  According to reports, the administrative officials told Blanco that they would not tolerate his opposition to the Cuban government.  The Commission has been told that firing those who engage in journalism on the side is routine practice for the Cuban authorities. [74]


b.          Two Guantánamo workers were fired from their jobs in November 2002 for having signed the Varela Project petition, a proposal suggesting a popular referendum on the laws in force in Cuba.  Rafael Zains Gallego, who was working as a driver at the Agostino Neto hospital, and Arturo Cortina Martínez, who was working at the Guantánamo Tobacco Company, were dismissed for the very same reasons.  According to the information provided, "the move had been cleared by the Tobacco Company's organized labor section and by the Communist Party." [75]


c.          Workers regarded as “counterrevolutionaries” or “untrustworthy” by officials of Cuban enterprises cannot file appeals with the so-called grassroots labor justice boards [Órganos de Justicia Laboral de Base-OJLB].   This is what Mario Year Sosa was told at the Centro Unión Eléctrica, where he worked as a meter reader until he was fired on July 4, 2002, for having said that contrary to what their spokespersons were claiming, management, the official union and the Communist Party were not looking out for the workers' interests.  The worker filed a claim with the grassroots labor justice board, but the authorities denied his claim because his superiors had declared him to be "untrustworthy." [76]


d.          Reinaldo Salmón Olivero, 29, was fired from the Ramal Railway Shop at the Santiago Refinery, where he was a category "B" mechanic, as he was branded a "counterrevolutionary."  Salmón Olivero was left unemployed because he did not pay the compulsory dues that must be paid to the government's political organizations (CDR), for not participating in the Communist Party's political activities and for having missed work on the date he was summoned for questioning by State security on November 10, 2002.  He was the victim of public censure at his workplace and left without a job. [77]


e.          Guillermo Paz Pérez, 45, was fired from the Empresa Reconstructora de Camiones [Truck Rebuilding Business] in Santiago de Cuba.  When management, the organized labor section and the Communist party learned of the opposition's activities at the plant, he was summoned and advised that he could not continue to work there because of his opposition to the revolution, as it was phrased at the meeting.  No written record was made and the worker was forced to acquiesce as he had no legal means to file a complaint. [78]


62.          Directly related to the right to work and to the conditions under which that right is to be exercised is the right of association "to promote, exercise and protect his legitimate interests of a … labor union …. nature.” [79]    Given the very nature of a "socialist State," in Cuba a worker's interests and those of his State employer should theoretically be the same.  However, an analysis of practice has found the contrary to be the case.


63.          In practice, the State exercises complete control over the country's organized labor movement, prohibiting even the existence of unions independent of the official Central de Trabajadores de Cuba (CTC).  It does this by waging a campaign of systematic harassment against anyone who attempts to form an association to protect his work-related rights. On the subject of ILO Convention 87 (Trade union freedom and protection of the right to organize, and specifically concerning relations between the Central de Trabajadores de Cuba (CTC) and the Communist Party, the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations of the International Labour Organisation stated, inter alia, that "the Committee emphasizes that a system in which there is a single party and a single central trade union organization is likely to lead in practice to external interference prejudicial to trade union independence. The Committee [of the ILO] requests the Government to guarantee in law and in practice the right of all workers and employers, without distinction whatsoever, to establish independent organizations of their own choosing, outside any existing trade union structure if they so desire (Article 2 of the Convention), and the right to elect their representatives in full freedom (Article 3 of the Convention)." [80]  


64.          The United Nations Special Rapporteur on violence against women confirmed this situation when she was in Cuba.  She wrote that  “[t]he 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." [81]


65.     By banning the creation of independent labor unions, the Cuban State is violating the international obligations [82] it has undertaken in this area; but it is also violating the principles upheld in its own Constitution, which recognizes the workers' right of assembly and association.  The Cuban Constitution declares that social organizations "enjoy the broadest freedom of speech and opinion, based on the unrestricted right to initiative and criticism." [83]   But with Article 62 of the Constitution, which the Commission has examined repeatedly, the State abridges and severely restricts all constitutionally recognized rights and freedoms.  That article states that no right or freedom can be exercised "against the Cuban's decision to build socialism and communism."  This restriction is compounded by the mandate of the only authorized trade union confederation, which is State controlled:  "political-ideological work to carry forward the fight in defense of socialism and its principles." [84]


66.          Although trade unions are given broad freedoms under the Constitution, the centralization of State power would not have been possible without restricting the freedoms that organized labor enjoys.  Because the right to freedom of association, moreover, cannot be exercised against the existence and purposes of the socialist State, the trade unions are not truly autonomous, since they are subordinated to the interests of the State and steered by the Party.  Moreover, the trade unions' main objectives have more to do with production and productivity than with defending workers' interests.  Recent reports received have pointed up the consequences of these restrictions, as workers who attempt independent organized labor activities to defend their labor interests end up being arrested. [85]




67.          In earlier reports, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has said how very disturbed it was by the conditions in Cuban prisons and about the deliberately harsh and degrading treatment given to prisoners.  These conditions and treatment constitute serious human rights violations.  The Commission has extensive testimony on record -for the year 2002 as well-attesting to the gravity of the prisoners' situation, especially those serving sentences for political crimes.  The Commission regrets that the Cuban State does not comply with the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners or the provisions of its own Constitution and laws on the subject.  Both the Constitution and the law contain principles that, if honored in practice, could ensure proper conditions for the prison population. [86]


          68.          The situation in Cuba's prisons is indicative of how the general human rights situation in Cuba has deteriorated.  Diet, hygiene and health care in Cuban prisons continue to be appalling and has caused illness and disease among the prison population.  Most of the prison population seems to suffer from anemia, diarrhea, skin diseases, and parasitism; in some cases, like Manacas and Combinado del Este prisons, there have been cases of tuberculosis.


          69.          Prisoners who have in any way complained about the treatment received or that refuse re-education-the latter being understood, based on the reports received, as political and ideological instruction-have been the victims of reprisals such as beatings, confinement in punishment cells-extremely small cells whose doors are kept closed and where a prisoner can be left for months without seeing the light of day-, transfers to prisons that are normally far away from the family home, suspension of family visitations, or denial of medical treatment.  

          70.          The numerous reports the Commission has received from various civic groups paint a bleak picture of Cuban prisons.  One piece of testimony the Commission has on file is that of Maritza Lugo Fernández, who became prominent in Cuba as President of the “Partido Democrático 30 de Noviembre Frank País”.   Because of her activities in defense of human rights, she has spent a total of five years in prison.  Amnesty International declared her a prisoner of conscience.  She went into exile on January 11, 2002.  The following are excerpts from her testimony on file with the IACHR:   




Living conditions in Cuban prisons are inhumane.  Punishment cells are only one meter wide and two meters long.  An 8-inch hole in the floor at one end of the cell is for the prisoner's physiological needs; rats and roaches climb through the hole into the cell, especially at night.  Just above the hole is a two-inch pipe to provide the prisoner water to drink and to bathe.  However, prison officials turn on the water for only a few minutes and the pump is so strong that when it hits the wall it soaks everything, including the place where the prisoner sleeps, which is nothing more than a concrete slab, very much like a tomb, with no mattress, sheets and nothing to cover it with during the day.

At around 11:00 at night, the prisoner is given a nylon sack stuffed with rags to use as a mattress.  At the same time, the prisoner is also given any sheet her family might have provided for her sleep.  If the family has not provided any sheet, then the prisoner will have nothing with which to cover herself from the cold and the mosquitoes.  The mattress and sheet are retrieved at 6:00 in the morning.  In winter the cold in these places can be bitter.  In the summer the heat and humidity are unbearable and the mosquitoes bite.


Punishment cells are windowless and unlit; no light or ventilation passes through the vent in the cell.   A prisoner inside the punishment cell has no way of knowing whether it is day or night.  She can only guess by the lunch and dinner timetable.  One can't even sleep.  Some prisoners suffer from the conditions in the place.  Others suffer nervous collapses from claustrophobia or fear of isolation.  Some who could not tolerate the punishment cell attempted suicide.  Suicidal prisoners have their clothing taken away from them and are left in a bare cell, to tolerate any cold in the winter or the heat of the summer.  The mosquito bites in the summer make these places a real hell for the women prisoners.


In winter, the rats seek out the prisoners' body heat and bite them from time to time.  This is a form of torture for the prisoners, both physical and mental.  So when the women prisoners do something the authorities don't like or complain about something, the authorities threaten them with the punishment cell and the women become terrified. 




The food the prison feeds the inmates is the worse kind.  The meager portions are badly prepared and sometimes have already gone bad.  There is no variety in the prison diet; the same thing is served for days on end, until there is no more.  For example, when cabbage is in season, it is served for lunch and dinner, in different forms -raw, boiled- every day as long as there is some.


Many women in prison trade their belongings for food because by "lights out" they are already starving.  Many are also affected by the timing of lunch and supper, which is never the same.  Breakfast, consisting of a small portion of something and a little bread, is at 7 a.m. approximately; lunchtime is when the meal is ready, at around two or sometimes earlier, in order to finish early.  The day's third meal is served virtually on the heels of lunch, in order not to have to shut down the stove fires.  But by then the stew served at lunch has not been digested.  Within 5 or 6 hours hunger pains set in, and the prisoners almost always go to bed hungry.  When the meal was very late, prisoners were told that because there was no fuel for the fire, firewood had to be used, and that they had better not complain.  If they complained they were taken to the punishment cells.  The hunger pains only got worse.




Although the Cuban dictatorship claims to be a medical power, medicine and medical care are a real disaster everywhere on the island, but even more so in prison …….


In order for an inmate to be seen by a doctor, she has to sign up several days in advance; if, when the time comes, the prisoner has had no problems and if there are guards available, they take her out; not everyone who needs medical care gets it, because there are so many who need it and they have so many problems.  (…)  There have been cases where women were not treated on time and died as a result, especially in cases of asthma and suicide ….. 


There are outbreaks of diarrhea from time to time, caused by food that has gone bad.  Every so often, the prison authorities have large quantities of guava remedy prepared.


The women are all infected with parasitic diseases that develop and grow because of the lack of hygiene, the dampness and the contaminated, stagnated water that the inmates have to use for drinking water and to bathe …


Women with AIDS are incarcerated in the same prison as women without AIDS.  This poses a grave risk to the latter.  Prisons are violent places, which means that blood is often spilt.


When a prisoner is pregnant after a conjugal visit or when she enters prison, the prison administration does everything possible to get the woman to have a therapeutic abortion ….




When that day that everyone looks forward to arrives-visiting day-prisoners are forced to tolerate degrading and humiliating body searches and inspections.  They have to remove their clothing and are then searched by several guards.  The guards check their hair.  They order them to squat down nude, to check whether they are hiding anything in their private parts; they also check their shoes and other belongings...

Women prisoners are physically and psychologically tortured, especially in the punishment cells where the inmates are alone and there are no witnesses to what goes on.  The guards beat them with hard rubber batons called “Tonfa”….


          71.          The Commission believes that the Cuban prison situation can best be illustrated by citing several cases:


          a.          Political prisoner Jorge Luis García Pérez, known as “Antúnez”, complained of the mistreatment and abuse that political prisoners at Havana's Combinado del Este prison receive.  In a letter to former political prisoner Héctor Palacio Ruiz, Director of the Social Studies Institute, Antunez said that he had witnessed firsthand and had himself been the victim of the mistreatment, torture and systematic human rights violations.  In his letter, dated October 27, 2002, Antunez reported that political prisoner Carlos Oquendo Rodríguez, who has a lump on the chest, was denied medical treatment.  So far, he does not know whether the tumor is malignant or benign.  Antunez also spoke about prisoner Cecilio Reinoso Sanchez, 63.  He has glaucoma in both eyes, yet prison officials deny him the medical treatment that this condition requires. [87]


          b.          In August 2002, 8 prison officers at Cerámica Roja in charge of maintaining order inside the prison stripped political prisoner Virgilio Mantilla Arango, handcuffed him and then beat him.  They finally shut him inside a punishment cell.  It appears that prison officials were upset when hundreds of flyers with antigovernment slogans were found in various areas of the facility. [88]


          c.          From Boniato prison in Santiago de Cuba province, political prisoner Francisco Herodes Díaz Echemandía reported that a rectangular column in the vestibule of the office of head officer in charge of maintaining order in the prison has been used to thrash and torture prisoners at that facility.  In his words, "the verdugos -referring to the prison officers- handcuff the person to be punished to that column and then beat him with hard rubber batons [tonfas] and other blunt objects.  They leave the victim in that position for over 24 hours."  Again in Boniato prison, prisoner Wilfredo Martínez Cordero was brutally beaten on August 14 for having blamed prison authorities for the death of prisoner Mariano Rondón.  Martínez was hospitalized with tuberculosis when Rondón died.  Because of his complaint he was sent back to his cell with a new complaint added to his prison record.  In January 2002, Boniato prison authorities beat inmates Antonio Naranjo Figueroa and Eduardo Díaz Castellanos for having put up anti-Castro and civic posters with slogans like 'Viva Human Rights' at various places in the prison. [89]


          d.          In July 2002, at the Kilo 8 prison in Camaguey, Cuban political prisoners Humberto Real Suárez and Ernesto Durán Rodríguez Ponce were punished for marked the 8th anniversary of the deaths of those who perished when the 13 de Marzo tugboat sank.


          e.          A series of events took place in August 2002, involving human rights violations committed against prisoner of conscience Néstor Rodríguez Lobaina at Combinado de Sur in Guantánamo.  Prison officials are keeping him in a walled-in punishment cell and also ordered the common prisoners to throw feces at him.  On July 16, 2002, political prisoner José Manuel Pereira was hounded at Quivicán prison for having proclaimed human rights and for having demanded the release of all those incarcerated for political reasons.  While the director of the facility was speaking to the inmates, Pereira climbed to the roof of one of the barracks and began to yell "Viva human rights! Freedom for political prisoners!"   After this incident, political police agents searched Pereira's belongings and, because they considered them subversive literature,  confiscated three books titled "The ideas of Democracy", “Arms for Freedom”, and “Letters from Prison”.  Pereira is a member of the Martiana Civic League and has been incarcerated, without benefit of trial, since February 2002. [90]


          f.          In November 2002, the authorities at the Perdenales prison in Holguín province punished blind activist Juan Carlos González Leuva for protesting his arbitrary incarceration at the hands of Cuba's political police.  In addition to fasting, González shaved his head, mustache and beard, whereupon prison officials took away the blind man's shaver, switched his bed for a narrower one with a wooden plank for a frame.  They also put another prisoner in his cell.  He claims to be a clergyman, but González suspects he might be a political police agent or collaborator. [91]


72.          The testimony recounted in this section of the report is only a small portion of the complaints that the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights received in 2002.  The pattern of behavior these cases depict is one of cruel, degrading and inhumane treatment of Cuban prisoners by the Cuban State prison authorities.  The Commission has also received complaints to the effect that former political prisoners, once released, continue to be harassed by the State, which only prolongs, albeit in different forms of discrimination, the punishment these individuals received while serving their prison sentences.  The Commission therefore urges the Cuban State to provide former prisoners with the same living conditions that other persons of the same professional qualifications would enjoy, and that it desist from discriminating against them in any way for having served out a sentence on a political conviction.


73.          As indicated at the start of this section of the report, Cuba has laws on the books that, if properly applied and enforced, could improve prison conditions.  Unfortunately, in these cases the deeds do not fit the law, as the Cuban State not only disregards the principles of its own Constitution and its penal law code, but also routinely violates the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man [92] and the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.  The Commission once again advises the Cuban State that deprivation of freedom must have well established objectives.  Those objectives cannot be overstepped by prison authorities, not even in the disciplinary action that they are authorized to take.  Prisoners must not be marginalized or discriminated against; the goal is to get them back into society.  In other words, prison practices must observe one basic principle: imprisonment must not be compounded by any more suffering than what it already represents.  The prisoner must be treated humanely, in a manner commensurate with the dignity of his person, while the system endeavors to reincorporate him into society.



74.          The Commission has been closely following the measures taken to lift some of the embargo restrictions imposed on Cuba.  The Commission is hopeful that those measures necessary to bring an end to the trade embargo against Cuba will continue to be adopted.  Economic sanctions and unilateral measures calculated to isolate the Cuban regime have a severe effect on the Cuban people’s economic and social rights.  The Commission also believes that internal political and economic reforms would be facilitated if Cuba’s present isolation ended and that the protracted policies of economic sanctions have become a way of justifying the limitations and the system’s lack of openness.


75.          Through resolutions adopted by the United Nations General Assembly resolutions and in the inter-American sphere, the international community has on numerous occasions renounced the unilateral measures, which do nothing to help foster a peaceful transition in Cuba.  The inter-American community has a duty to see that adequate humanitarian assistance is provided to the Cuban people in need of such assistance and to strengthen multilateral and bilateral technical and financial cooperation with Cuba to enable both the Government and the people of that country to undertake, by consensus, the political and economic reforms that the present situation urgently demands. 


76.          In exercise of its functions and authorities, the Commission will continue to observe the human rights situation in Cuba and is hopeful that those rights will become fully effective by decision of the Cuban authorities and people and with the support of the inter-American community of which Cuba is part.




Based on the information reported herein, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has arrived at the following conclusions:


1.          The Commission finds that with the present system of laws and regulations, the Cuban political system establishes principles that, if enforced, could adequately safeguard political rights.  The Constitution guarantees citizens the right to propose changes in the legal and political system.  It is obvious, however, that the Cuban authorities have no intention of introducing the kinds of changes that would set Cuba along the road to democracy and, by extension, to full, unrestricted respect for and observance of human rights in that country.  The Commission considers that the political system in Cuba today continues to give an unhealthy preponderance to the governing party.  Indeed, the party is, in practice, more powerful than the State itself.  This is not conducive to the kind of healthy ideological pluralism that is one of the pillars of the democratic system of government.


2.          Where civil and political rights are concerned, the Cuban State persists in its repressive pattern of conduct.  The State systematically represses anyone in Cuba who seeks to peacefully exercise his rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association.  Far from enacting laws that comply with international human rights standards, the State continues to promulgate laws that severely restrict and limit the Cuban people's basic rights. The year 2002 saw more of Cuba's familiar pattern of harassment, disciplinary measures, accusations, temporary detentions, official warnings, job dismissals, and imprisonment.  The Commission is disturbed by the repressive measures taken against peaceful members of opposition groups, independent journalists, leaders of organized labor and human rights defenders who suffer of abuse and discrimination by agents of the State on purely political grounds.  Violations of the right to freedom of expression, assembly and association are cloaked in a mantle of legality woven from provisions of the Constitution and the criminal law system that are patently incompatible with the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man and the Declaration of Principles of Freedom of Expression.  The Cuban State must amend its Constitution and criminal laws to decriminalize such things as "enemy propaganda," "desacato" [contempt of authority], “unlawful association," “clandestine printing presses" "dangerousness", "acts against the security of the State," "official warning", "pre-delict and post-delict measures," “associations or relations with persons who pose a potential danger to society," "socialist legality,"  “socially dangerous."


3.          Concerning the right to a fair trial and the right to due process, the Commission again finds that the Cuban State has not effected any change that would allow, in practice and in law, unrestricted respect for and observance of the judicial guarantees and the right of the accused to a hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal.  Both in practice and in law, the administration of justice continues to be subordinated to the political power, which is detrimental, in practice, to the observance of those rights.  As the Cuban State does not have the separation of powers that ensures independence in the administration of justice, the right of the accused-especially those accused of political crimes- to a fair trial is being violated, which in turn can lead to violations of other essential rights such as the right to life, the right to individual liberty, the right to freedom of expression, assembly and association.


4.          In the labor area, the Commission observes that in employment, the State persists in practicing various forms of discrimination based on ideology and other related factors.  The largest sector in the ranks of the unemployed are persons whose political views are not those of the regime.  Employment discrimination for ideological reasons is an easy tool to use in an economy in which the State is the sole employer.  The hegemony of the State is also glaringly apparent by the fact that independent unions are prohibited and anyone who attempts to form an association to protect his labor rights is systematically harassed.  These practices are not just violations of international conventions signed by the Cuban State under the International Labour Organisation (ILO); they are also violations of the right of association recognized in the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man.


5.          Prison conditions continue to be very serious.  The deliberately harsh, degrading and inhuman treatment that the Cuban State gives to prisoners -common or political-constitutes a serious violation of human rights.  The many documented testimonies in the Commission's files illustrate just how serious this situation is, especially for those prisoners convicted of political crimes.  The Commission regrets that the Cuban State is not abiding by its own constitutional and criminal laws on this subject, as these bodies of law do uphold principles that -if enforced- could result in proper treatment of the prison population.  The Commission must reiterate to the Cuban State that deprivation of freedom must have very clear objectives which the prison authorities cannot overstep, not even under the mantle of the disciplinary authority invested in them.  The prisoner must not be marginalized or discriminated against; instead, he must be reinserted into society.




Given the persistence of human rights violations during the year 2002, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights feels compelled to reiterate essentially the same recommendations it made to the Cuban State last year. These measures would substantially improve the human rights situation, and in many cases require purely administrative decisions. Accordingly, pursuant to Article 63(h) of its Regulations, the Commission makes the following recommendations to the Cuban State:


1.          End the harassment of and sanctions against citizens for reasons related to the exercise of the right to freedom of expression, assembly, and association.


2.          Adopt urgent measures to continue releasing prisoners of conscience, without conditions.


3.          Eliminate from the criminal legislation all criminal provisions that impose sanctions in violation of internationally accepted democratic standards, the right to freedom of expression, association, and assembly. In the area of freedom of the press, annul all provisions and acts aimed at creating mechanisms for self-censorship or prior censorship.


4.          Eliminate from the Criminal Code the provisions on dangerous state, pre-delict security measures, and the terms “socialist legality,” “socially dangerous,” “norms of socialist co-existence,” and “socialist morality,” since their vagueness and subjectivity constitute a factor of juridical insecurity that creates the conditions enabling the Cuban authorities to commit arbitrary acts. In addition, the criminal provision referring to “official warning” by which individuals who have “ties or relationships with persons potentially dangerous to society” are threatened with sanctions, should also be eliminated.


5.          Adopt urgent measures to reform the country’s prison system, so as to improve the prison population's living conditions. The Cuban State should undertake an exhaustive background check of the prison authorities prior to placing them in the various prisons, to avert mistreatment and abuse of the prisoners.  It is important that the Cuban State adopt a set of regulations containing guidelines that the prison authorities are to follow so as not to overstep their authority.


6.          Adopt the measures necessary to allow for ideological and 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.  



          1.          On December 27, 2002, the draft report on the situation of human rights in Cuba was transmitted to the State, in keeping with Article 57(2) of the Commission’s Rules of Procedure, so that it might present any observations within one month.


          2.          Once the period expired, the Cuban State refrained from making observations on the contents of the report.


          3.          On March 7, 2003, the Commission adopted the report in its final form, and decided it should be published in Chapter IV of this Annual Report.  

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[74] CubaNet News, Inc., Coral Gables, Florida, United States, December 9, 2002.

[75] CubaNet News, Inc., Coral Gables, Florida, United States, November 27, 2002.

[76] Movimiento Sindical Independiente de Cuba [Independent Organized Labor Movement of Cuba], August 30, 2002, CubaNet News Inc., Coral Gables, Florida, United States.

[77] Confederación Obrera Nacional Independiente de Cuba (CONIC) [Cuban National Independent Confederation of Labor], Reporte de Violaciones a los Derechos Sindicales y Laborales en Cuba [Report of Violations of Trade Union and Labor Rights in Cuba], September 12, 2002.  CubaNet News Inc., Coral Gables, Florida, United States.

[78] Idem.

[79] Article XXII of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man.

[80] United Nations, International Labour Conference, 82nd session, Report III (Part 4A), Report of the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations, Geneva, 1995, pp. 329 and 330, in IACHR, Annual Report 1996, Situation of Human Rights in Cuba, Chapter IV, paragraph 86, p.707.

[81] United Nations, Report of the Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women,  op.cit., paragraph 79.

[82] On June 25, 1952, Cuba ratified the 1948 ILO Convention Nº 87 on freedom of association and protection of the right to organise.

[83] Article 54 of the Cuban Constitution.

[84] Silvia Martínez y Emilio del Barrio, “VIII Pleno del Comité Nacional de la CTC: Encara el Movimiento Obrero la lucha contra el Delito y otras Deformaciones”, Granma Diario, Havana, Cuba, 27 May 1998.

[85]   The IACHR learned, for example, that Jorge Luis Larrazábal Zulueta, a member of the Confederación Obrera Nacional Independiente de Cuba (CONIC) is currently in a punishment cell, according to a source at Guantánamo's Combinado del Sur prison.  He is serving a three-year sentence in case 22/2000, for the alleged crime of contempt of authority.  Members of his family have said that Larrazabal is serving his sentence in dangerously cramped quarters, is beaten by the prison guards and is sick because he has heart problems.  He has been denied medical care and has been in the punishment cell for three months now, completely isolated from the other prison inmates; Lázaro García Farah is serving a 25-year sentence at "El Típico" Prison in Las Tunas.  He is kept in an isolation cell because of his defiant attitude toward the regime and this year was denied visitation rights with his mother. García Farah is an honorary member of Cuba's Federation of Organized Labor for Electrical, Gas, Water Plants and Related Trades and Cuba's Independent National Worker's Confederation; Aleida Godínez Soler was summoned for questioning on August 9, at the headquarters of the political police, at the Villa Maristas general headquarters in Havana.  While there, serious threats of imprisonment were made against her to get her to cease and desist from her organized labor activities.  The authorities told her that they would not allow any type of meeting, either in the interior or in Havana.  The headquarters of the Confederación Obrera Nacional Independiente de Cuba was surrounded on the morning of January 14, 2002, as combined DSE-PNR forces conducted an eviction operation that went on well past noon.  Because of her activities, she has been the target of constant threats and on more than five occasions has been officially warned that if she continues to pursue his union activities, she could be jailed for spreading false information.  Godínez Soler is General Secretary of the Confederación Obrera Nacional Independiente de Cuba; Alicia del Carmen Zamora Labrada was also summoned on August 19 to appear before Lieutenant Barrios at State security central headquarters, where she was threatened with prosecution if she continued her union activities.  She was also unlawfully prohibited from leaving the Cuban capital for an unspecified period.  Lieutenant Barrios' treatment of her was brutal; he told her that if she persisted in her attitude, drastic measures would be taken against her.  Zamora Labrada is Director of the independent news agency “Lux Info Press” and Secretary of Information and International Relations of the CONIC.

[86] Articles 58 and 59 of the Cuban Constitution read as follows:

All those living within the national territory are guaranteed liberty and the 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.

No 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 body of law governing the treatment of prisoners, the Cuban Penal Code provides that prisoners shall be remunerated for any socially useful work they perform; they are to be provided with proper clothing and footwear; they are to be allowed a normal period of rest each day and one day of rest per week; they are to be provided with medical and hospital care in the event of illness; they are to be given the right to obtain long-term social security payments in the event of disability caused by workplace accidents.  In the event of death as a result of a workplace accident, the prisoner's family is to receive the corresponding pension.  Prisoners are to be given the opportunity to receive and expand upon their cultural and technical learning; to the extent and in the manner established in the regulations, they are to be given the chance to correspond with persons not incarcerated in prison facilities and to receive visits and consumer articles; assuming good conduct, and to the extent and in the manner prescribed in the regulations, prisoners are to be allowed to use the conjugal cellblock; they may be granted time outside the prison walls for limited periods of time;  they are to be given opportunities and means to enjoy recreation and practice the sports programmed by the prison facility, and are to have the opportunity to move from one penal system to another less severe.  Corporal punishment of prisoners is not allowed, nor is any other measure that might be humiliating to a prisoner's dignity (Articles 30(1) and 31 of the Cuban Penal Code).

[87] CubaNet News Inc., Coral Gables, Florida, United States, November 24, 2002.

[88] Idem., communication, August 18, 2002.

[89] Comité Ciudadano Programa Cubano para el Estado y Activismo de los Derechos Humanos en el Territorio Nacional [Citizen Committee, Cuban Program for the Status of Human Rights and Human Rights Activism in the National Territory], Informe sobre Violación de los Derechos Humanos en Cuba [Report on Violation of Human Rights in Cuba], August 2001-October 2002, Violaciones de Derechos Humanos en las Prisiones [Human Rights Violations in Prisons], Havana, Cuba.

[90] Idem.

[91] CubaNet News Inc., Coral Gables, Florida, United States, November 2002.

[92] Article XXV of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man states that every individual deprived of his liberty " has the right to humane treatment during the time he is in custody."