Stellungnahme zu Fidel Castros Tod

Amnesty Kuba  (26.11.2016, 00.00 Uhr)


26 November 2016

Fidel Castro’s human rights legacy: A tale of two worlds

Fidel Castro’s achievements in improving access to public services for millions of Cubans were tempered by a systemic repression of basic freedoms during his time in power, Amnesty International said following the death of the former Cuban leader.

"There are few more polarizing political figures than Fidel Castro, a progressive but deeply flawed leader," said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

After his accession to power following the 1959 revolution in Cuba, Castro oversaw dramatic improvements in access to human rights such as health and housing. This was accompanied by an unprecedented drive to improve literacy rates across the country.

"Access to public services such as health and education for Cubans were substantially improved by the Cuban revolution and for this, his leadership must be applauded. However, despite these achievements in areas of social policy, Fidel Castro’s forty nine year reign was characterised by a ruthless suppression of freedom of expression,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas.

“The state of freedom of expression in Cuba, where activists continue to face arrest and harassment for speaking out against the government, is Fidel Castro’s darkest legacy.”

Over more than five decades documenting the state of human rights in Cuba, Amnesty International has recorded a relentless campaign against those who dare to speak out against the Cuban government’s policies and practices. Over the years, the organization has documented hundreds of stories of “prisoners of conscience”, people detained by the government solely for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression, association and assembly.

Repressive tactics used by the authorities have changed in the last years with fewer people sentenced to long-term prison for politically motivated reasons, but the control of the state over all the aspects of Cubans’ life remain a reality. Repression takes new forms in today’s Cuba, including the wide use of short-term arrests and ongoing harassment of people who dare to publish their opinions, defending human rights, or challenging the arbitrary arrest of a relative.

The government continues to limit access to the internet as a key way of controlling both access to information and freedom of expression. Only 25% of the Cuban population is able to get online and only 5% of homes have internet access.

Upon establishing his provisional government in 1959, Castro organised trials of members of the previous government that resulted in hundreds of summary executions. In response to an international outcry and amid accusations that many of the trials were unfair, Castro responded:

"Revolutionary justice is not based on legal precepts, but on moral conviction... we are not executing innocent people or political opponents. We are executing murderers and they deserve it."

Cuba retains the death penalty for serious crimes although its use declined over the course of his leadership. The death penalty is the ultimate form of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and should be abolished.

“Fidel Castro’s legacy is a tale of two worlds. The question now is what human rights will look like in a future Cuba. The lives of many depend on it,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas.

Read more:

Six facts about censorship in Cuba (Feature, 11 March 2016) /p> Obama-Castro encounter: More than a handshake needed to thaw the Cold War’s human rights freeze (Comment, 21 March 2016)

Neue Urgent Action zu Menschenrechtsverteidigern

Amnesty Kuba  (19.11.2016, 00.00 Uhr)

UA: 261/16 Index: AMR 25/5156/2016 Cuba Date: 18 November 2016


Members of Cubalex, a Havana-based organization of human rights lawyers, have been subjected to months of harassment and intimidation by the Cuban authorities for their work.

Progressively since September, Cuban authorities have intimidated members of Cubalex (Legal Information Center), a non-government organization, not recognized by the Cuban authorities, which provides free legal and human rights advice in Havana, the capital.

On 23 September, according to its Director, Laritza Diversent, authorities searched Cubalex’s centre of operation without warrant, confiscated a number of laptops and documents, and forced at least one woman to undress. The provincial prosecutor in Havana provided notice to Cubalex that it was under a tax investigation.

According to Cubalex, since then, state prosecutors have summoned at least two members of the organization for questioning. Cubalex stated that the interviews, which reportedly lasted up to one hour and 45 minutes, were filmed, leading members to believe that the authorities were seeking information to criminalize activities of the organization. According to Cubalex, authorities have also questioned people who received advice and information from their centre.

Cubalex’s Director reported that she has been stopped and questioned a number of times at the airport during her recent trips. She believes her home, which provides a base for Cubalex’s activities, is under surveillance. One of Cubalex’s members, Julio Ferrer Tamayo, reported being strip searched and detained during the search of Cubalex on 23 September and remains in custody.

Please write immediately in English or Spanish or your own language: 

Calling on the Cuban authorities to allow members of Cubalex and all other human rights lawyers and activists to operate freely without harassment and intimidation;

Urging them to ensure that the criminal justice system or civil litigation is not misused to target or harass human rights defenders; 

Calling on them to ensure a safe and enabling environment in which it is possible to defend and promote human rights without fear of punishment, reprisal or intimidation.


President of the Republic Raúl Castro Ruz Presidente de la República de Cuba La Habana, Cuba Fax: +41 22 758 9431 (Cuba Office in Geneva); +1 212 779 1697 (via Cuban Mission to UN) Email: (c/o Cuban Mission to UN) Twitter: @RaulCastroR Salutation: Your Excellency

Attorney General Dr. Darío Delgado Cura Fiscal General de la República Fiscalía General de la República Amistad 552, e/ Monte y Estrella Centro Habana, La Habana, Cuba Twitter: @FGR_Cuba Salutation: Dear Attorney General/ Señor Fiscal General

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please insert local diplomatic addresses below: Name Address 1 Address 2 Address 3 Fax Fax number Email Email address Salutation Salutation Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.


On 13 October, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression issued a press release expressing concern at retaliation actions of the Cuban state against Cubalex, an organization dedicated to defending freedom of expression. In 2015, a number of articles appeared on pro-government blogs which appeared to defame Laritza Diversent, Director of Cubalex. Cubalex members were the subject of precautionary measures issued by the IACHR in April 2015. The IACHR asked that the Cuban authorities take measures to safeguard the lives of Cubalex members and ensure their humane treatment. Human rights NGOs are currently unable to legally register in Cuba and it is customary for them to operate from the homes of their members or directors. Name: Members of Cubalex Gender m/f: all UA: 261/16 Index: AMR 25/5156/2016 Issue Date: 18 November 2016

Six facts about censorship in Cuba

Amnesty Kuba  (11.03.2016, 00.00 Uhr)


Six facts about censorship in Cuba

To mark the World Day against Cyber Censorship on 12 March, here are six things you should know about free speech, the internet and online censorship in Cuba.

The re-establishment of diplomatic relations between the US and Cuba in December 2014 brought renewed hope for an end to the US economic embargo, which has had a dire impact on the human rights of ordinary Cubans. But while tourists flock to the island to experience its romantic, old-world charm before it “changes”, less romantic is its history of restricting freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, still shown in the authorities’ determination to stifle dissent.

1. Freedom of expression can land you in jail in Cuba.

Graffiti artist Danilo Maldonado Machado, known as “El Sexto”, found this out when he was locked up for most of 2015 for painting the names of Raúl and Fidel – the names of the Castro brothers who have been in power since 1959 – on the backs of two live pigs. He had planned to release the animals as part of an artistic performance but, before he could, he was accused of desacato (contempt) and thrown in prison for 10 months. He was never formally charged or brought before a judge.

2. The state has a virtual monopoly on print and broadcast media.

The Cuban Constitution recognizes freedom of the press but expressly prohibits private ownership of the mass media. While independent journalists and bloggers have emerged in recent years, the authorities continue to prevent journalists critical of the government from doing their jobs. On International Human Rights Day 2015, journalists at 14ymedio – established by prominent cyber activist Yoani Sanchez – were prevented from reporting on a protest coordinated by human rights groups The Ladies in White and TodosMarchamos. According to one journalist, state security agents blocked the door to the building they worked in and told him: “Today you are not going out.”

3. Cuba is one of the least connected countries in the Americas.

Until 2008, the government banned ownership of computer and DVD equipment in Cuba. Today only 25 per cent of Cubans use the internet, while only five per cent of homes are connected. Internet access is still prohibitively expensive for most, and far from accessible to all. Cuba has said it will double access in the next five years, with public Wi-Fi hot spots starting to open since March 2015, but it remains the most disconnected country in the Americas.

4. Internet access in Cuba is censored.

With access to internet so limited, online censorship is not that sophisticated in Cuba. Authorities frequently filter and intermittently block websites that are critical of the state. Limiting access to information in this way is a clear breach of the right to freedom of expression, including the right to seek, receive and impart information.

5. Communicating with Cuban human rights activists from overseas is difficult.

Amnesty International, along with many other independent international human rights monitors, including UN Special Rapporteurs, are not allowed to access Cuba. The landline, mobile and internet connections of government critics, human rights activists and journalists are often monitored or disabled. In the lead-up to Pope Benedict’s three-day visit to Cuba in September 2012, a communications blockade prevented Amnesty International and other international organizations from gathering information on a wave of detentions that were taking place. Communicating with Cuban human rights activists remains challenging, particularly at times when the authorities are arresting people based on their political opinion.

6. Cubans are savvy about how to circumvent censorship and government restrictions to internet access.

From underground Wi-Fi, to creating apps, to harnessing the power of USBs, Cubans are finding ways to share information and avoid cyber censorship. World Day against Cyber Censorship is a time to show solidarity with Cuban dissidents, activists, journalists andtheir struggle. Amnesty International has joined with AdBlock on the World Day Against Cyber Censorship to raise awareness about the crackdown on free speech across the world. AdBlock is a tool that helps web users to block unwanted ads, and on 12 March 2016 it will replace banner ads with content censors in certain countries wouldn’t want people to see.

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