|Diaz-Canel spouts disinformation at the UN General Assembly on Sept 19th.|
Miguel Diaz-Canel began his address to the UN General Assembly on September 19, 2023 by quoting Che Guevara in a speech he gave in “this very room almost 60 years ago” referencing the “exploited and the humiliated” of the South. He left out the Argentine guerilla’s more honest appraisal of what the Cuban Revolution was doing on December 11, 1964.
"We must say here something that is a well-known truth and that we have always asserted before the whole world: Executions? Yes, we have executed people; we are executing people and shall continue to execute people as long as it is necessary."
Diaz-Canel rejected Cuba being a State Sponsor of terrorism claiming there were no grounds to the charge. Ignoring the Tricontinental gathering in Havana bringing terrorists, and guerrillas from around the world to engage in systematic violent attacks against Western democracies.
|Che Guevara at the UN General Assembly on Dec 11, 1964.|
Or that Cuba was placed on the list in 1982 because Havana was using a narcotics ring to funnel both arms and cash to the Colombian M19 terrorist group then battling to overthrow Colombia’s democracy.
M-19 members stormed Colombia’s Palace of Justice in November 1985. Eleven of Colombia’s 25 Supreme Court justices were among the hostages killed. Gustavo Petro, Colombia’s current president, was an M-19 member in the 1980s.
|Firing squad in Cuba in 1959|
Extrajudicial killings: more than just a number
Executions and Extrajudicial killings were common practice beginning in 1959, and continue to the present day. Well documented episodes such as the July 13, 1994 "13 de Marzo'' tugboat massacre that claimed the lives of 37 of men, women and children and the February 24, 1996 Brothers to the Rescue shoot down that murdered four human rights defenders are rare because they are well documented.
“Behind the Christ of Havana, about seven miles from the coast, "volunteers" of the Communist regime committed one of the most heinous crimes in the history of our city and of Cuba.
In the morning, a group of seventy people in all, fled on a tugboat, led by the ship's own crew; none was kidnapped, or there against their will. They came out of the mouth of the Bay of Havana.
They were pursued by other similar ships. When the runaway ship and its occupants stopped to surrender, the ships that had been chasing them started ramming to sink it. Meanwhile, on the deck, women with children in their arms begging for mercy, but the answer of their captors was to project high pressure water cannons against them.” - Oswaldo Payá ( 2009)
Like the murders of Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero, these two events were investigated and reports on the merits released in 1996, and 1999 respectively finding Cuban government agents responsible for these killings.
In 2006 when Fidel Castro became sick and turned power over to his brother Raul, a new and disturbing pattern emerged. In the past well known activists would be jailed for 20 to 30 years, but under Raul Castro they were killed.
On October 7, 2006, independent journalist and librarian Hector Riverón Gonzalez, 48, was found dead near a taxi at the taxi stand in the City of Las Tunas. His body was found dead under a tree, with his shoes clean and dry although it had rained all night, and handcuff marks. The journalist had been threatened with death several times by State Security.
Manuel Acosta Larena, an activist in the Democracy Movement, died under suspicious circumstances while in detention on June 24, 2007 and appears to have been a victim of police brutality.
Beginning on February 23, 2010 higher profile figures such as prisoner of conscience Orlando Zapata Tamayo tortured and denied water while on hunger strike died. On January 31, 2011 Mercedez Talavera López died after being run over by a car in the city of Cárdenas in Matanzas. This was followed by the death of human rights defender Juan Wilfredo Soto Garcia on May 8, 2011 just three days after a brutal beating by regime agents.
"Orlando Zapata Tamayo, died this afternoon, February 23, 2010, after suffering many indignities, racist slights, beatings and abuse by prison guards and State Security.
Zapata was killed slowly over many days and many months in every prison in which he was confined. Zapata was imprisoned for denouncing human rights violations and for daring to speak openly of the Varela Project in Havana's Central Park.He was not a terrorist, or conspirator, or used violence. Initially he was sentenced to three years in prison, but after successive provocations and maneuvers staged by his executioners, he was sentenced to more than thirty years in prison." - Oswaldo Payá ( 2010)
The suspicious deaths of Laura Pollan on October 14, 2011 by what an independent doctor described as "purposeful medical neglect", and of prisoner of conscience Wilman Villar Mendoza on January 20, 2012 while on hunger strike are examples that demand a thorough investigation.
|Hansel Ernesto Hernández shot in the back by police in 2020.|
On June 24, 2020 in Guanabacoa, Cuba 27 year old unarmed black Cuban, Hansel Ernesto Hernández Galiano was shot in the back and killed by the police. The official version claims that he was stealing pieces and accessories from a bus stop when he was spotted by two Revolutionary National Police (PNR in Spanish). Upon seeing the police Hansel ran away and the officers pursued him nearly two kilometers. PNR claimed that during the pursuit Hansel threw rocks at the officers. Police fired two warning shots and a third in his back killing him. Hansel's body was quickly cremated.
|Cuban dissident Yosvany Arostegui Armenteros|
Cuban dissident Yosvany Arostegui Armenteros died on August 7, 2020 in Cuba while in police custody following a 40 day hunger strike. He had been jailed on false charges in the Kilo 8 prison of Camagüey. His body was quickly cremated by the dictatorship.
On July 12, 2021 Diubis Laurencio Tejeda, (age 36) was shot in the back by second lieutenant Yoennis Pelegrín Hernández in the town of La Güinera on the outskirts of Havana. [ photo 6] The same officer injured at least five other demonstrators in addition to killing Diubis on day two of nationwide protests in Cuba. The total number killed in the 11J protests remains unknown. Video emerged over Twitter on July 15th of the aftermath of Diubis being shot in the back.
Christian Díaz, age 24, disappeared after joining the 11J protests. Relatives on July 12 reported him missing to the PNR in Cárdenas. Police told his father that Christian was jailed in Matanzas. On Aug. 5, officials informed his family he’d drowned in the sea and was buried in a mass grave. His family is convinced he was beaten to death.
Cuban political prisoner Pablo Moya Delá died on August 26, 2021 at the Clinical Surgical Hospital in Santiago de Cuba. He was jailed on October 23, 2020 for protesting socioeconomic conditions and overall repression. Beaten, mistreated for months, weakened following a hunger strike and released on probation, after destroying his health, earlier in August 2021 near death.
The Cuban military dictatorship's well documented record of killing fleeing Cuban refugees, and this includes the October 28, 2022 purposeful ramming and sinking of a boat carrying Cuban refugees by the Cuban border patrol that killed eight, including a two year old girl, continues to the present day.
The failure to hold Cuban officials strictly accountable raises the possibility of more mass killings in the future.