Amnesty International on Cuba: “Severe Restrictions” on Expression, Association, Movement, Continue

According to Amnesty International’s latest 2015/2016 Cuba Report, “despite increasingly open diplomatic relations, severe restrictions on freedoms of expression, association and movement continued. Thousands of cases of harassment of government critics and arbitrary arrests and detentions were reported.”

On the Freedom of Expression and Association Amnesty states the Cuban Government’s “critics continued to experience harassment, ‘acts of repudiation’ (demonstrations led by government supporters with participation of state security officials), and politically motivated criminal prosecutions. The judicial system remained under political control.”

With regards to Arbitrary Arrests and Detentions Amnesty declares that “reports continued of government critics, including journalists and human rights activists, being routinely subjected to arbitrary arrests and short-term detention for exercising their rights to freedom of expression, association, assembly and movement.”

In terms of Cuba continuing to hold Prisoners of Conscience the Amnesty report mentions “laws covering ‘public disorder’, ‘contempt’, ‘disrespect’, ‘dangerousness’ and ‘aggression’ were used in politically motivated prosecutions, or threats of prosecution, against government opponents.” Late last year, Amnesty declared grafitti artist and human rights activist Danilo Maldonado Machado, aka “El Sexto” a prisoner of conscience after being held almost 10 months for attempting an artistic performance in Havana in December of 2014.

Amnesty references The Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCDHRN) documentation of “more than 8,600 politically motivated detentions of government opponents and activists during the year.”

Of note, “Cuba has not granted Amnesty International access to the country since 1990” a sign that the Cuban government continues to shield itself from international scrutiny.

To read the full report, click here.