Report for the month of March 2012:

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Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation

Some Acts of Political Repression Documented in Cuba in March 2012

  • In March 2012 we were able to verify at least 1158 arbitrary detentions for political reasons: the highest number in a month in the last five decades, comparable only to the massive crackdowns throughout the country in April 1961, just after the Bay of Pigs invasion.
  • More than half of the reported detentions were carried out just before and during the visit by H.H. the Pope Benedict XVI, and quite a few of them were house arrests enforced without legal orders, under the custody of police officers and parapolice elements, and the believable threat that those detained in their living quarters would be jailed if they tried to leave their homes.
  • Our Commission analysts were wrong to forecast a likely reduction of political repression in relative terms during March. Believing (as it turned out to be) that the Cuban government would be the main winner resulting from the visit by H.H. Benedict XVI, in terms of political legitimacy and international image, we expected they would make an effort to create an atmosphere of political serenity and spontaneous participation of all citizens without any exclusions –mainly of believers- who wanted to join in the two large masses held by His Holiness.
  • No release of political prisoners was reported during March, and we documented the cases of four new prisoners under that category: Sonia Garro, Ramon Munoz, Andres Carrion and Niurka Luque. They were all interned in high security prisons.
  • Hundreds of beggars, vagrants or homeless were detained and interned just to take them out of the public view, and hundreds of telephones belonging to dissidents were interrupted by orders of the secret political police.

The number of detentions for political reasons during the first quarter of 2012 was larger than all those reported throughout 2010.   

Documented cases of short term arrests, for political reasons, since January 2010:

YEAR 2010                                      YEAR 2011                            YEAR 2012

January—-  117                       January—-268               January—631

February—235                        February—390              February–604

March——  83                        March——264               March—-1158

April——-  162                      April——–244

May——–  120                      May———349

June——–  104                      June———212

July———125                        July———-251

August—– 184                        August——243

September– 90                        September–563

October—–310                        October—–286

November–244                       November–257

December—300                       December–796

Havana, April 17, 2012.

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