November 19, 2009

New Castro, Same Cuba

Political Prisoners in the Post-Fidel Era

I. Executive Summary
II. Illustrative Cases
Ramón Velásquez Toranzo
Alexander Santos Hernández
“Jorge Barrera Alonso”
Juan Luís Rodríguez Desdín
III. Methodology
Lack of Cooperation by the Cuban Government
Sources and Research
Who Is a “Dissident”?
Anonymity and Security
IV. The Legal Foundation of Repression in Cuba
Criminalizing Dissent
Collaboration with the United States
Restricting Rights
Denying Judicial Protection
Denying External Protections
V. Political Prisoners
Repression under Fidel Castro
2003 Crackdown
Repression under Raúl Castro
Applying the “Dangerousness” Provision
Other Forms of Criminalizing Dissent
VI. Due Process Violations
Failure to Provide Information to Detainees and Families
Restrictions of Family Visits
Lack of Access to Legal Counsel
Forced Interrogations
Abusive Pre-Trial Detention Conditions
Indefinite Detention
Summary Trials
Closed Trials
Arbitrary Actions by Prosecutors and Judges
Parole and the Threat of Retraction
VII. Inhumane Prisons
Restricted Visits and Correspondence
Arbitrary Prison Transfers
Exposure to Tuberculosis
Unhygienic Conditions
Health Problems and Inadequate Medical Treatment
Harassment and Beatings
Solitary Confinement
Lack of Adequate Monitoring and Complaint Mechanisms
VIII. Everyday Forms of Repression
Short-term Detention
Beatings and Excessive Use of Force
Public Acts of Repudiation
Threats and Warnings
Invasive Surveillance
Denial of Employment and Financial Hardship
Reprisals against Families
Travel Restrictions
IX. State of Fear
Self-Censorship and Coerced Allegiance
Surveillance and Suspicion
Distrust of the Courts
Emotional and Psychological Impact
A Strategy of Isolation
Appendix 1: List of the 53 Political Prisoners Arrested in the 2003 Crackdown Who Remain in Prison under Raúl Castro
Appendix 2: Human Rights Watch Letters to the Cuban Government Requesting Meetings and Permission to Visit Cuba
Appendix 3: The “Dangerousness” Law, Excerpt from the Cuban Criminal Code