Below is a report released yesterday by the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCDHRN) regarding the crackdown by the Cuban government before this week’s CELAC Summit.
CUBAN COMMISSION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AND NATIONAL RECONCILIATION
Crackdown in Cuba several days before CELAC Summit
1. The Cuban government has unleashed a true political crackdown against peaceful dissidents, mainly from 23rd to 26th of January, with an end to silence opposition organizations so that they could not raise their voices during the forthcoming CELAC Summit.
2. Due to the secretive nature of the Regime -a neo-Stalinist one party system- prevailing in Cuba for more than half a century, it is impossible to possess, right now, all the names of the persons affected by the developing crackdown, but we are in a position to ensure that at least 40 persons have been arbitrarily arrested by the powerful secret political police; 18 were the victims of threats, warnings, and other forms of harassment, and at least 5 remain under house arrest “until the end of the Summit.” (See Attachment).
3. Among the most disturbing arrests are those of Jose Daniel Ferrer and Yusmila Reina Ferrera, leaders of Cuba’s Patriotic Union (UNPACU), who were abducted in a Street of Havana around 3 pm last Friday 24th of January, and remained in unknown whereabouts for 48 hours, until they were released in Santiago de Cuba.
4. The government representatives alleged that such measures were aimed at preventing expressions or meetings that could tarnish the image of the CELAC Summit.
5. According to our investigations, a score of pro-democracy activists were intending to take part in two small parallel, behind-closed-doors forums to discuss the fulfillment by the Cuban government of the principles and values that serve as a foundation of CELAC, such as can be recognized in its founding documents and as approved in its first Summit. Due to the aforementioned repression, both forums have been aborted militarily.
6. While the bulk of the arrested persons have already been released, since the arrests, as well as the threats, were intended only for intimidation, none was allowed immediate communication with their relatives.
7. Our commission calls upon the Cuban government to refrain from their repressive actions, which are absolutely unjustified, in the 3 days before the CELAC Summit is closed, or after that date.
Elizardo Sánchez Santa Cruz Pacheco
Founder and Spokesperson