Certain cases that occurred during the period covered by this
report will illustrate the politics-based discrimination that a Cuban
worker can experience:
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.
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."
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."
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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)."
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
By banning the creation of independent labor unions, the Cuban
State is violating the international obligations
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."
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
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."
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.
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
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.
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
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:
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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 …….
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 …..
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.
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
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
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 ….
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...
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”….
The Commission believes that the Cuban prison situation can
best be illustrated by citing several cases:
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
V. THE ECONOMIC SANCTIONS
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
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.
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.
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.
on the information reported herein, the Inter-American Commission on
Human Rights has arrived at the following conclusions:
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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:
End the harassment of and sanctions against citizens for
reasons related to the exercise of the right to freedom of expression,
assembly, and association.
Adopt urgent measures to continue releasing prisoners of
conscience, without conditions.
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.
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.
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.
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.
PROCESSING OF THE REPORT
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.
Once the period expired, the Cuban State refrained from making
observations on the contents of the report.
On March 7, 2003, the Commission adopted the report in its
final form, and decided it should be published in Chapter IV of this
Inc., Coral Gables, Florida, United States, December 9, 2002.
Inc., Coral Gables, Florida, United States, November 27, 2002.
Sindical Independiente de Cuba [Independent Organized Labor
Movement of Cuba], August 30, 2002, CubaNet News Inc., Coral Gables,
Florida, United States.
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.
Article XXII of
the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man.
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.
Report of the Special
Rapporteur on Violence against Women, op.cit.,
On June 25,
1952, Cuba ratified the 1948 ILO Convention Nº 87 on freedom of
association and protection of the right to organise.
Article 54 of
the Cuban Constitution.
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.
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
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
58 and 59 of the Cuban Constitution read as follows:
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
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.
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
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).
Inc., Coral Gables, Florida, United States, November 24, 2002.
communication, August 18, 2002.
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.
Inc., Coral Gables, Florida, United States, November 2002.
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."