Report for the month of March 2012:
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
August—– 184 August——243
September– 90 September–563
Havana, April 17, 2012.