RESOLUTION Nº 3/82
March 8, 1982
1. The following
was denounced in a communication of November 1979:
Capote Rodriguez was seized on April 11, 1966, and his trial was held on
June 15 of that year. This trial lasted 24 hours, where it was requested
that he be sent before the firing squad. But upon passing sentence, this
death penalty was commuted to a 15-year sentence Case No 141, and he was
transferred to the dungeons of San Severino Castle in the Province of
that time he has been transferred to several prisons and suffered
of July 22, he was in Combinado del Este, and without justified cause
was transferred together with a group of 114 people to the gloomy prison
of Boniato, where he has been ever since. He can receive no visitors
there, since the distance is great and transportation in Cuba is
2. In a note of
March 4, 1980, the Commission transmitted the pertinent parts of the
denunciation to the Cuban Government, so that it might furnish the
information that it deemed appropriate.
3. In a letter of
August 25, 1981, the Commission requested additional information from
the claimant. Specifically, the Secretariat asked whether Eduardo Capote
was sill in captivity, in view of the recent release of many prisoners.
It also wanted to know when he was tortured and what his present
4. In a letter
dated September 3, 1981, the claimant reported the following in reply to
the Secretariat's questions:
you are officially aware, in November 1979 I presented a written
denunciation to your prestigious agency on the inhumane ill-treatment
that Eduardo had been receiving daily for 15 years in the gloomy Cuban
this present document, I formally confirm the denunciation in every
respect, and I want to point out the extraordinary fact that, after 15
serving consecutive years, the full sentence imposed on April 11, 1966
by Military Tribunal No 1 of Havana, the prisoner was not released on
April 11 of this year, as he should have been. Without prior trial, he
was notified orally by the penitentiary authorities that his sentence
had been extended indefinitely. This is the practice usually followed
for persons arrested as "intransigent" political prisoners,
identified as those having the courage and public spirit to refuse to
accept the plans for re-education imposed by the communist government of
October of last year, Eduardo and other political prisoners have been
allowed only one visit from their relatives, and he, together with his
other companions now incarcerated in the Puerto Boniato Prison in the
Oriente Province, Cuba, are subjected to barbaric physical and mental
mistreatment, harsh inspections, and savage beatings, to the extreme
that they are left naked, without medical care, in walled cells where
not a single ray of sun can penetrate.
treatment received by political prisoners in the Puerto Boniato Prison
has been so inhumane that they several times protested manfully by
declaring a hunger strike, one of them lasting 33 days from October 31
to December 3 of last year. As may naturally be supposed, this is deadly
dangerous to men who are undernourished and whose health is already
broken by so many years of incarceration.
suffers from serious and painful wounds on both hands, as a consequence
of a criminal and cowardly attach on March 22, 1973 by the red militia,
armed with fixed bayonets, when he was imprisoned in the colonial
fortress of La Cabaña. This has disabled him for life.
5. On September
19, 1981, the claimant sent to the Commission a letter published in the
newspaper "Diario de las Américas" of September 23, 1981, in
reference to the "intransigent" political prisoners
incarcerated in Boniato, where the victim Eduardo Capote was also
confined. The letter reads:
begin by telling you that we are not at all well, and we are very
concerned about our situation which, although it seems unbelievable, is
becoming increasingly worse, and the Ministry (of the Interior) never
lets up. Hence, in view of so many irregularities, I am going to report
to you a number of acts that have befallen us since we were incarcerated
in this prison with its dark and gloomy cells. Since our arrival here on
July 24, 1979, we have suffered countless measures that are violating
our most elemental human rights more and more. These include:
located at a distance of 1,000 kilometers from our beloved families,
many of whom are old and sick. Consequently, many of us have been
visited only every 3, 4 or 6 months; what is more, some inmates have not
had even one visit in two years, which have been what is which have been
so long and hard that they seem like centuries totally deprived of that
upon our arrival, we had to go on hunger strikes because of our living
conditions: the inadequate medical care, scarce and extremely bad food,
no patio, and therefore no sun--in short, every facet of our human
existence. These measures became gradually worse and worse, until at
length, in November 1980, they were abusive and intolerable. We choose
that date because it was then that the second stage of our prolonged
dawn on November 7, 1980, escape, which was three inmates made an
attempt to scape, which was frustrated at the outset. There were caught
barely a few meters from the building where we are now incarcerated,
4-D. This action was taken by the authorities of the Ministry as an
excuse to precipitate their ultra-repressive policy against us. At 1:15
that same morning, all of us were imprisoned in a type of dining room
and there began the inspection. They took almost everything away. They
fed us neither breakfast nor lunch. The inspection lasted until 2:15
p.m. of that same day, the 9th. At that hour they tried to compel us to
strip ourselves like commoners (common prisoners). We refused, and they
therefore began to beat Luis M. Zuñiga Rey, Roger Reyes Hernández, and
Servando Infante Jiménez, who were consequently wounded and later taken
to the hospital. Because the food was so bad that day, we refused to eat
it. Thus, three of us were without food. The common prisoners of
corridor 4-B were moved and they began to wall up the cells of these
corridors. As the cells were walled up, we were led into them by threes.
This began on the morning of the 12th and ended at midday the same day.
We remained on a hunger strike in this corridor 4-B until December 12.
same day, the penitentiary authorities agreed to grant us general rights
and living conditions as human beings, and also to move us from the
corridor in the next 72 hours. Also, they left the doors of the cells
open for us. Ultimately, they did not live up to their work; rather,
they made our living conditions worse. This reveals the cowardly and
vile nature of those governing our country. I must emphasize that six
prisoners, Eloy Gutiérrez Menoyo, Ernesto Díaz Rodríguez, Ramón Méndez
Pimental, Julio Ruíz Pitaluga, Sergio Montes de Oca Gil, and Juan
Evelio Hernández Ramírez continued the strike, asking to be
transferred to Havana. This made us extremely anxious, since every day
we expected a fatal denouement. Thank God this did not happen and the
strike ended on April 9, 1981.
May 1980, we had no medical care, since they wanted us to undress for
the inspection that we have to undergo in order to be hospitalized, and
this we did not accept. On January 12, 1981, they authorized visits,
because our relatives were extremely worried about the situation. During
that visit, our relatives, many of them old, were made to leave their
coats off during the inspection that they had to undergo. That was a
terribly cold day. Men are able to do anything when driven by hatred.
But as you well know, my friend, our relatives were so glad to see us
that they put up with anything.
day after the visit, January 13, they searched us and again locked us up
in the walled cells. The situation worsened day by day. The February
visit took place in a loaded atmosphere and under tight supervision. In
that month, a new element was brought into play: José Oscar Rodríguez
Terrero ("Little Napoleon") completed his sentence but was not
released. The same was to happen with prisoners who were to complete
their sentences in the future. A list of these prisoners will be added
at the end. The inspections, refusals of food, lack of medical care,
etc. etc. continued.
day before the March 11 visit, prison administration authorities
appeared in our corridor. They informed our representatives that in the
future, in order to receive visits, packages, medical care, and the
like, we had to dress in the regulation uniform for all prisoners: blue.
We were being officially stripped of our yellow clothing and left in our
underpants. Many of our relatives made the trip of 1,000 kms. in vain.
On March 30, Alberto Jané Padrón disappeared. Within a few days we
learned that he was in the security cells of the state and that he had
been placed there along with common criminals. He went on hunger strike
and they shortly put him in a separate cell. They returned him to our
corridor on May 5.
first months of 1981 passed under increasing stress inspections and
companions who continue on hunger strikes and are in very bad shape.
Also, steel plates were affixed to the cell doors of corridor 4-D.
June 1, 1981, we were moved from corridor 4-B to 4-D, under the same
conditions that I have already described to you. On
June 19, we were searched and stripped of the belongings that
still remained to us. They took, among other things, medicines,
ball-point pens, photographs, and even the spoons that we used to eat
with. As of that day (June 19) and up to the present (June 28), we have
had only one dinner (June 25) and one lunch (June 27). The events of
these last few days are sufficiently eloquent to give you an idea of our
present situation. Moreover, prisoners who have specific diets for
different illnesses--diabetes, ulcers, heart ailments, etc--have been
deprived of these diets; instead, they are fed real garbage.
addition to all this, we do not know what the government's intentions
toward us are, and this makes our present situation uncertain and very
you well know I have never been inclined to exaggerate, but I do assure
you that if the government continues its present policy towards us, the
results of it are bound to be fatal. The government hates us, and we
know what can come of a policy based on this feeling. It is impossible
to conceive of a government that after twenty-three years in power
treats its prisoners as unfairly and inhumanely as this
one--particularly when a considerable group of us have spent 20 years in
prison, some more than 20.
don't think that any government receives medals for treating defenseless
men cruelly; rather than enhancing its grandeur, it is diminished, it
becomes dwarfed. But what can be expected of men who harbor hatred in
their hearts, of men whose souls are gnawed by moral leprosy. Oh, my
friend, how uncertain is our immediate future' What will happen
tomorrow? I do not know, but every day is potentially one of mourning.
Do you remember the worst stages of the forced labor plan on the Isle of
Pines? We were put to work, and we did not know if we would ever return.
Add to this 15 more years of prison with its strikes and privations,
with a government that tries to turn brutality into a principle of the
state and injustice into a standard of conduct.
bodies continue to waste away, but we still have our bones awaiting the
claws of the beasts.
friend, reading your letter has made me love my compatriots in exile a
little more. I am impressed with the efforts being made there in our
behalf. Don't fail to give the good patriots my greetings. Ever yours.
OF POLITICAL PRISONERS WHO HAVE COMPLETED THEIR PRISON TERMS AND HAVE
Years of Sentence
February 24, 1978
Oscar Rodriguez T.
February 14, 1981
March 23, 1981
March 28, 1981
April 7, 1981
Montes de Oca Gil
April 7, 1981
May 5, 1981
6. In a note dated
October 8, 1981, the Commission transmitted this additional Information
to the Cuban Government again requesting information.
7. To date, the
Cuban Government has not replied to the notes mentioned.
1. To date the
Government of Cuba has not replied to the Commission's requests of March
4, 1980 and October 8, 1981; and
2. Article 39 of
the Regulations of the Commission establishes as follows:
facts reported in the petition whose pertinent parts have been
transmitted to the government of the state In reference shall be
presumed to be true if, during the maximum period set by the Commission
under the provisions of Article 31, paragraph 5, the government has not
provided the pertinent information, as long as other evidence does not
lead to a different conclusion.
INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS,
1. In application
of Article 39 of the Regulations, to presume to be true the acts
denounced in the communications of November 19, 1979, September 3, 1981
and September 19, 1981, regarding the situation of Cuban prisoner
Eduardo F. Capote Rodríguez.
2. To declare that
the Government of Cuba violated the right to liberty and personal
security (Article I of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties
of Man), the right to the preservation of health and to wellbeing
(Article XI), the right to a fair trial (Article XVIII), the right to
human treatment while in custody (Article XXV), the right to due process
3. To communicate
this decision to the Government of Cuba and to the claimants.
4. To include this
resolution in the Annual Report of the Commission to the General
Assembly of the Organization of American States in accordance with
Article 18, paragraph (f) of the Statute and Article 59, paragraph (g)
of the Regulations of the Commission.