Cuba

Attacks Against Independent Associations March 1990- February 1991

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President Fidel Castro's dismissive attitude toward the resolution on Cuban human rights abuses adopted last year by the U.N. Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) reflects the latest chapter in a continuing and disappointing deterioration in Cuban human rights over the past three years. In 1987 and early 1988, Cuba responded to pressures from the UNCHR in a more constructive manner, permitting an opening in Havana for the emergence of a small community of human rights and independent activists. Political prisoners were released in large numbers; steps were taken to improve prison conditions; and prison doors were opened to monitoring by independent observers, including multiple visits by Americas Watch representatives. eginning with the arrival in September 1988 of a delegation of investigators sent by the UNCHR, the Cuban government began to renounce the rudimentary tolerance that it had started to show. A series of arrests since then, coupled with what for a time at least were increasingly lengthy prison terms, has decimated substantial portions of the small human rights community that had begun to emerge in Cuba. Several independent organizations have ceased to exist; others find key leaders in prison; all suffer harassment and threats by members of Cuba's security forces.

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