Saturday, September 28, 2013

Polish Parliamentary Group Condemns Repression in Cuba

The Polish Parliamentary Group "Free Cuba" met with a visiting delegation of Cuban pro-democracy activists on September 26, 2013 to discuss the ongoing situation in Cuba with a focus on the human rights situation. At the end of the gathering the following statement was voted on and released by the parliamentary group.

Polish Parliamentary Group "Free Cuba" meeting with Antunez

Warsaw, 26 of September 2013

Statement of the Parliament of Poland Free Cuba Caucus

Parliamentary Group "Free Cuba " is gravely concerned about the increasing repression against political activists on the island. Since the easing of the European Union Common Position on Cuba in 2008 there were at least eight cases of unexplained deaths of the Cuban democratic opposition activists. They were: Orlando Zapata Tamayo (2010), Daisy Talavera de las Mercedes Lopez (2011), Juan Wilfredo Soto Garcia (2011) Laura Pollan Toledo (2011), Wilman Villar Mendoza (2012) , Sergio Diaz Larrastegui (2012), Osvaldo Paya Sardinas and Harold Cepero (2012). The circumstances of those deaths indicate that the perpetrators were representatives of the Cuban regime.

In this context, it is even a bigger outrage to find out that many democratic activists are currently threatened with death by representatives of the regime. In recent months the victims of death threats were: Berta Guerrero Segura (threatened with burning down her house together with her children). Angel Moya Acosta (he and his sister were threatened with death); Jorge Luis Garcia Perez “Antunez” (who was threatened with death on multiple instances, his wife was threatened as well); Gertrudis Ojeda Suarez (received death threats and poison was placed around her house); Yoan David Gonzalez Milanes (repeatedly threatened with death); Damaris Moya Portieles (despite beatings, she was threatened with death and gang rape on her young daughter, over past 20 days her house was attacked three times and the last of the attacks took place on 24th of September 2013.)

The release of 75 most famous prisoners of conscience in 2010 and 2011 that preceded the papal visit was not a democratic breakthrough. In a majority of instances the release was conditioned with forced emigration from the island. Since that time at least 114 new people were sentenced to prison for political reasons. Thousands of people have been subjected to police detentions and charged with the “pre-criminal threat to society”. In the case of the 72-year old Armando Sosa Fortuna, the 30-year sentence of which he has another 11 to serve means that he will die in prison.

The latest wave of repression was related to the detention and sentencing of Ivan Fernandez Depestre in July (in August he was sentenced to two years in prison). In August, 65 people that protested his sentence were beaten and arrested in different parts of central Cuba. Of those police was most brutal towards Yunier Santana Hernandez, who had his teeth knocked out and Yoel Bravo Lopez, who was severely beaten despite police knowing that he is living with HIV.

It is also worthy of condemnation that Yedier Rodrigueza Perez, Jorge Luis Garcia Perez’s stepson, is being forcefully conscripted into the military in retaliation for Antunez’s current visit to Europe.

The Free Cuba parliamentary caucus expresses its solidarity with all victims of the communist regime in Cuba and demands an instant end to repression.

The Free Cuba Caucus requests the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs to take into account the above facts during the upcoming negotiations on the European Common Position on Cuba.

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