Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Cuban Opposition Group: 8,900 Political Arrests in Cuba During 2014


HAVANA – The Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation on Monday said that Cuban authorities made 8,899 arbitrary arrests for political reasons during 2014, some 2,500 more than during the previous year.

According to a report released by the dissident group on Monday, in December there were 489 arrests, about 100 more than in November.

In December, just on Human Rights Day there were more than 230 arrests, “some of them with violence,” as well as 70 arrests on Dec. 30 at a “performance” convened by artist Tania Bruguera.

Bruguera intended on that day to set up in the emblematic Plaza of the Revolution a “public platform” so that Cubans could express their desires for the country’s future after the announcement of the reestablishment of diplomatic relations with the United States on Dec. 17.

According to figures compiled by the dissident group, Cuban authorities arrested a total of 59 people on that day as “they attended or tried to attend” the event to “exercise their right to freedom of expression.”

Of the people arrested, some were held by the authorities for up to 72 hours, including Bruguera; independent journalist Reinaldo Escobar; Antonio Gonzalez Rodiles, the organizer of a critical discussion project called “Estado de SATS,” and so-called “Group of 75” member Angel Moya.

In addition, on that same day, Cuban authorities held 11 other opposition figures at their homes and prevented them from leaving, including blogger and independent online newspaper editor Yoani Sanchez.

The Commission, headed by Elizardo Sanchez, also mentioned the “positive act” of announcing the reestablishment of relations between Havana and Washington, but it emphasized that “the situation of civil and political rights” on the island “continues to be the worst in the Western Hemisphere.”


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