Sunday, January 17, 2010

Unsung Heroes: Cuba's Human Rights Activists

Juan Carlos Gonzalez Leiva

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly." Martin Luther King Jr.

As human rights activists on the island expose the deaths of 26 mental patients due to the negligence of the Cuban healthcare system and denouncing the regime's silence in the international media forcing the dictatorship a day later to acknowledge the patients deaths. The regime continues in its efforts to crush human rights activists through terror, economic warfare, and other extreme measures.

On January 12, 2009 blind human rights activist Juan Carlos Gonzalez Leiva, of the Council of Human Rights Rapporteurs issued an international call for assistance:

The Cuban government is going ahead with its plans to destroy our Information Center, in particular, and the Council of Rapporteurs, in general, so that we no longer continue monitoring the human rights violations being committed, and block us from publishing reports containing the atrocities carried out during 2009, by the government. This report is almost ready.

The information center is located at the home of another blind activist Sergio Díaz Larrastegui. A state security agent placed a large German Shepard at his door to terrorize the activist and prevent him from leaving his home. Sergio was fired from his job on January 9, 2009 in addition to that his personal computer was seized by government agents. He is now being threatened with eviction from his home by government agents.

Juan Carlos Gonzalez Leiva, a former Amnesty International prisoner of conscience and blind human rights attorney, had been physically assaulted by Cuban state security requiring four stitches on his head but instead was denied medical attention until it was denounced. He would serve two years in prison without trial, and was then tried and sentenced to 4 years house arrest for his human rights activism. Watch him below from mid 2009 describing the human rights situation on the island and his own experience.

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