Primavera Negra

ANNUAL REPORT OF THE IACHR 2007

ANNUAL REPORT OF THE IACHR 2007
CHAPTER IV
CUBA

I. COMPETENCE FOR OBSERVING AND EVALUATING THE HUMAN RIGHTS
SITUATION IN CUBA

84. The authority of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to
observe the human rights situation in Cuba derives from the provisions
of the OAS Charter, from the Commission's own Statute, and from its
Rules of Procedure. Under the Charter, all member states undertake to
respect fundamental individual rights, which, in the case of states not
parties to the Convention, are those rights established in the American
Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man (hereinafter, "the American
Declaration"), which is a source of binding international
obligations.[101] The Statute charges the Commission with paying
particular attention to the observance of the human rights recognized in
Articles I (right to life, to liberty, to security and humane
treatment), II (right to equality before the law), III (right to
religious freedom and worship), IV (right to freedom of investigation,
opinion, expression and dissemination), XVIII (right to a fair trial),
XXV (right of protection from arbitrary arrest), and XXVI (right to due
process of law) of the American Declaration when exercising its
jurisdiction vis-à-vis countries that are not parties to the
Convention.[102]

85. On November 21st, 2007, the Commission sent this report
to the State of Cuba and asked for its observations. On December 10th,
2006, the Commission received a communication from the Chief of the
Section of Cuban Interests in Washington D.C., in which he expressed
that "[t]he Inter-American Commission on Human Rights does not have
competence, nor does the OAS have moral authority to analyze this or any
other issue regarding Cuba".

86. Cuba has been a member state of the Organization of
American States since July 16, 1952, when it deposited its instrument of
ratification of the OAS Charter. The Commission has maintained that the
Cuban State "is juridically answerable to the Inter-American Commission
in matters that concern human rights" since it is "party to the first
international instruments established in the American Hemisphere to
protect human rights" and because Resolution VI of the Eighth Meeting of
Consultation[103] "excluded the Government of Cuba, not the State, from
participating in the intra-American system."[104] In this regard, the
IACHR has said that:

The Commission's consistent position has been that when it excluded the
Cuban Government from the inter-American system, it was not the
intention of the Organization of American States to leave the Cuban
people without protection. That Government's exclusion from the regional
system in no way means that it is no longer bound by its international
human rights obligations.[105]

II. SITUATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN CUBA

87. In the exercise of its authority, the IACHR has
observed and evaluated the human rights situation in Cuba in special
reports,[106] in the fourth chapters of its Annual Reports,[107] and by
means of the case system.[108] The IACHR has also, on various occasions,
asked the State of Cuba to adopt precautionary measures in order to
protect the lives and personal integrity of Cuban citizens.[109]

88. In accordance with the criteria established by the
IACHR in 1997 to identify those states whose human rights practices
deserve special attention, the first and the fifth criteria are
applicable to the human rights situation in Cuba, inasmuch as the
political rights enshrined in the American Declaration are not observed
and structural conditions that seriously and gravely affect the
enjoyment and practice of the fundamental rights established in the
American Declaration persist.

89. During 2007 the Commission has received information
regarding the general human rights situation in Cuba from international
agencies, civil society, and the Cuban Government through the official
web page of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba. In addition, at
public hearings held at its 128th and 130th regular periods of sessions,
it received information about the conditions facing prison inmates,[110]
on the situation of imprisoned union members,[111] and on compliance
with the recommendations issued in Case 12.476 (Oscar Elías Biscet et
al.).[112]

90. Restrictions on political rights, freedom of
expression, and dissemination of ideas have created, over a period of
decades, a situation of permanent and systematic violations of the
fundamental rights of Cuban citizens, which is made notably worse by the
lack of independence of the judiciary.

91. Regarding the restriction of political rights, the
State of Cuba has said that:

The restrictions for some political rights in Cuba, that have been set
out by law, have been the bare minimum needed to guarantee the
protection of the right to free determination, peace and life of all the
people, as an answer to the growing anti-Cuban aggressiveness of the
empire.[113]

92. Similarly, regarding the right of free expression, it
maintains that:

The Cuban people only restrict the "freedom" of opinion and expression
of those few who would sell their services as mercenaries to the policy
of hostility, aggression and genocidal blockade of the United States
government against Cuba. By applying such restrictions, Cuba is acting
by virtue of not just its national legislation, but also the numerous
international human rights instruments and successive resolutions passed
by the United Nations General Assembly which have demanded respect for
the free determination of peoples and the cease of the economic,
commercial and financial blockade being applied by the government of the
United States against Cuba.[114]

93. The Commission finds it necessary to reiterate that the
absence of free and fair elections based on universal secret suffrage as
the expression of the people's sovereignty[115] violates the right to
political participation established in Article XX of the American
Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, which provides:

Every person having legal capacity is entitled to participate in the
government of his country, directly or through his representatives, and
to take part in popular elections, which shall be by secret ballot, and
shall be honest, periodic and free.

94. Similarly, Article 3 of the Democratic Charter signed
in Lima, Peru, on September 11, 2001, defines the elements that make up
a democratic system of government:

Essential elements of representative democracy include, inter alia,
respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, access to and the
exercise of power in accordance with the rule of law, the holding of
periodic, free, and fair elections based on secret balloting and
universal suffrage as an expression of the sovereignty of the people,
the pluralistic system of political parties and organizations, and the
separation of powers and independence of the branches of government.

95. During 2007, the IACHR has observed and evaluated the
situation of human rights in the State of Cuba and has decided to
include, in this chapter of its Annual Report, the following
considerations, which chiefly deal with guarantees of due legal process
and the independence of the judiciary; the detention conditions in which
politic
al dissidents are held, and harassment of dissidents;
restrictions on freedom of expression, and harassment targeting
independent journalists; and the situation faced by human rights
defenders and trade union leaders. It also includes comments on the
economic and commercial sanctions imposed on the Government of Cuba, and
it again states that they must be lifted inasmuch as they tend to
aggravate restrictions on the effective exercise of economic, social,
and cultural rights by the Cuban people.

96. In assessing the human rights situation, the Commission
again notes that it applauds the major progress made by Cuba in reducing
infant mortality, in providing access to drinking water, and in the
areas of housing, health care, and the foodstuffs sector.

Cuba is a middle-income country, belonging to the group of countries
with high human development (ranking 50 out of 177). According to
national reports, three of the eight Millennium Development Goals have
already been achieved: universal primary education; gender equality; and
reduction of infant mortality.

Drinking water is available to 95.6 per cent of the population. However,
differences from one area to another can still be observed, water supply
can be unstable, and the grid suffers from technical problems.

In the area of housing, a national programme of construction,
conservation and rehabilitation (Programa Constructivo de Viviendas) was
adopted by the National Assembly of People's Power in September 2005.

Health plays an important role in Cuba's development strategy. Some
noteworthy developments are: measures to reduce infant mortality,
leading to the lowest rates in Latin America; immunization of boys and
girls against infectious diseases; elimination of preventable diseases
through vaccination campaigns, and reduction of the maternal mortality
rate. The prevalence of HIV/AIDS is low and a system of ongoing
epidemiological monitoring has been set up, taking into account the
country's geographical location in the Caribbean, one of the areas with
the highest prevalence in the world.

In the food sector, availability and consumption of foodstuffs has been
increased by the adoption of various modes of marketing and social
programmes. An equitable system of rationing with subsidized prices has
been introduced and special diets for vulnerable groups are provided
for. Less than 2 per cent of the population is at risk of malnutrition.[116]

III. GUARANTEES OF DUE LEGAL PROCESS AND INDEPENDENCE OF
THE JUDICIARY

97. Every person is entitled to recourse before the
courts,[117] to protection from arbitrary arrest,[118] and to due
process of law.[119] Those rights are a part of what are known as the
guarantees of due legal process and represent the minimum guarantees
recognized with respect to all individuals in judicial proceedings of
all kinds.

98. The American Declaration provides that every human
being has the right to liberty[120] and that no persons may be deprived
of their liberty except in the cases and according to the procedures
established by pre-existing law.[121] Furthermore, under the American
Declaration, every individual who has been deprived of liberty has the
right to have the legality of that detention ascertained without delay
by a court, and the right to be tried without undue delay or, otherwise,
to be released.[122] In addition, every person accused of an offense has
the right to be given an impartial and public hearing, and to be tried
by courts previously established in accordance with pre-existing laws,
and not to receive cruel, infamous, or unusual punishment.[123]

99. During the period covered by this report, the IACHR
continued to receive information indicating that the Cuban courts
persist in judging cases in accordance with political and ideological
criteria in contravention of Cuba's international human rights
obligations.[124]

100. The Commission therefore urges Cuba to bring its
procedures into line with international standards of due process, to
ensure that individuals who have recourse to the courts in order to
determine their rights and responsibilities enjoy minimum legal
guarantees in exercising their defense. The Commission believes that the
existing legal framework does not comply with Cuba's international
obligations in this regard. The full currency of the judicial guarantees
enshrined in the American Declaration depends on the existence of an
independent and autonomous judiciary. The Commission has repeatedly said
that there is no separation of powers in Cuba; consequently, there is no
guarantee of justice free of interference from the other branches of
government.

101. In connection with this, Article 121 of the Constitution
of Cuba provides that: "The courts constitute a system of state bodies,
established with functional independence from all other systems, and
subordinated only to the National Assembly of People's Power and the
Council of State." The Commission notes that the subordination of the
courts to the Council of State, chaired by the head of state, means that
the judiciary is directly dependent on instructions handed down by the
executive branch of government. Cuba's courts of law do not have the
independence required for the performance of their duties and,
consequently, individuals are guaranteed neither due legal process nor
the right of recourse to the courts for obtaining a fair trial,
particularly in cases of a political nature.

IV. DETENTION CONDITIONS OF POLITICAL DISSIDENTS[125]

102. In 2007, the Commission continued to observe the detention
conditions of political dissidents in Cuba and to receive information on
degrading treatment by prison authorities against political opponents.[126]

103. On October 21, 2006, the Commission resolved to convey to
the State and to the petitioners' representatives,[127] to publish, and
to include in its Annual Report to the OAS General Assembly, its Report
on Merits Nº 67/06, in Case 12.476 (Oscar Elías Biscet et al.), which
deals with 78 political dissidents who were arrested and tried in
extremely summary proceedings during 2003 under Article 91[128] of the
Cuban Criminal Code and Law 88 (Law on the Protection of Cuba's National
Independence and Economy), for actions related to the exercise of such
basic freedoms as freedom of thought, conscience, belief, and speech and
the right of peaceful assembly and free association. The sentences
ranged from 6 months to 28 years in prison.

104. In Report Nº 67/06, the IACHR concluded:

1. That the State is responsible for violations of Articles I,
II, IV, VI, XX, XXI, XXII, XXV and XXVI of the American Declaration, to
the detriment of Nelson Alberto Aguiar Ramírez, Osvaldo Alfonso Valdés,
Pedro Pablo Álvarez Ramo, Pedro Argüelles Morán, Víctor Rolando Arroyo
Carmona Mijail Bárzaga Lugo, Oscar Elías Biscet González, Margarito
Broche Espinosa, Marcelo Cano Rodríguez, Juan Roberto de Miranda
Hernández, Carmelo Agustín Díaz Fernández, Eduardo Díaz Fleitas, Antonio
Ramón Díaz Sánchez, Alfredo Rodolfo Domínguez Batista, Oscar Manuel
Espinosa Chepe Alfredo Felipe Fuentes, Efrén Fernández Fernández, Juan
Adolfo Fernández Saínz, José Daniel Ferrer García, Luis Enrique Ferrer
Garc&#237
;a, Orlando Fundora Álvarez, Próspero Gaínza Agüero, Miguel Galbán
Gutiérrez, Julio César Gálvez Rodríguez, Edel José García Díaz, José
Luis García Paneque, Ricardo Severino González Alfonso, Diosdado
González Marrero, Léster González Pentón, Alejandro González Raga, Jorge
Luis González Tanquero, Leonel Grave de Peralta, Iván Hernández
Carrillo, Normando Hernández González, Juan Carlos Herrera Acosta, Regis
Iglesias Ramírez, José Ubaldo Izquierdo Hernández, Reynaldo Miguel
Labrada Peña, Librado Ricardo Linares García, Marcelo Manuel López
Bañobre, José Miguel Martínez Hernández, Héctor Maseda Gutiérrez, Mario
Enrique Mayo Hernández, Luis Milán Fernández, Rafael Millet Leyva,
Nelson Moline Espino, Ángel Moya Acosta, Jesús Mustafá Felipe, Félix
Navarro Rodríguez, Jorge Olivera Castillo, Pablo Pacheco Ávila, Héctor
Palacios Ruiz, Arturo Pérez de Alejo Rodríguez, Omar Pernet Hernández,
Horacio Julio Piña Borrego, Fabio Prieto Llorente, Alfredo Manuel Pulido
López, José Gabriel Ramón Castillo, Arnaldo Ramos Lauzurique, Blas
Giraldo Reyes Rodríguez, Raúl Ramón Rivero Castañeda, Alexis Rodríguez
Fernández, Omar Rodríguez Saludes, Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello, Omar
Moisés Ruiz Hernández, Claro Sánchez Altarriba, Ariel Sigler Amaya,
Guido Sigler Amaya, Miguel Sigler Amaya, Ricardo Enrique Silva Gual,
Fidel Suárez Cruz, Manuel Ubals González, Julio Antonio Valdés Guevara,
Miguel Valdés Tamayo, Héctor Raúl Valle Hernández, Manuel Vázquez
Portal, Antonio Augusto Villareal Acosta, and Orlando Zapata Tamayo.

2. That the State violated Article V of the American
Declaration, to the detriment of Nelson Alberto Aguiar Ramírez, Martha
Beatriz Roque Cabello, José Luis García Paneque Miguel Sigler Amaya,
Guido Sigler Amaya, Ariel Sigler Amaya, Julio Antonio Valdés Guevara,
and Miguel Valdés Tamayo.

3. That the State violated Article X of the American
Declaration, to the detriment of Marcelo Cano Rodríguez, Efrén Fernández
Fernández, Galbán Gutiérrez, Miguel Normando Hernández González, José
Ubaldo Izquierdo Hernández, Librado Ricardo Linares García, Luis Milán
Fernández, Fabio Prieto Llorente, Félix Navarro Rodríguez, Blas Giraldo
Reyes Rodríguez, Omar Rodríguez Saludes, Omar Moisés Ruiz Hernández,
Claro Sánchez Altarriba, and Héctor Raúl Valle Hernández.

4. That the State violated Article XVIII of the American
Declaration, to the detriment of Nelson Alberto Aguiar Ramírez, Osvaldo
Alfonso Valdés, Pedro Pablo Álvarez Ramo, Pedro Argüelles Morán, Víctor
Rolando Arroyo Carmona Mijail Bárzaga Lugo, Oscar Elías Biscet González,
Margarito Broche Espinosa, Marcelo Cano Rodríguez, Juan Roberto de
Miranda Hernández, Carmelo Agustín Díaz Fernández, Eduardo Díaz Fleitas,
Antonio Ramón Díaz Sánchez, Alfredo Rodolfo Domínguez Batista, Oscar
Manuel Espinosa Chepe Alfredo Felipe Fuentes, Efrén Fernández Fernández,
Juan Adolfo Fernández Saínz, José Daniel Ferrer García, Luis Enrique
Ferrer García, Orlando Fundora Álvarez, Próspero Gaínza Agüero, Miguel
Galbán Gutiérrez, Julio César Gálvez Rodríguez, Edel José García Díaz,
José Luis García Paneque, Ricardo Severino González Alfonso, Diosdado
González Marrero, Léster González Pentón, Alejandro González Raga, Jorge
Luis González Tanquero, Leonel Grave de Peralta, Iván Hernández
Carrillo, Normando Hernández González, Juan Carlos Herrera Acosta, Regis
Iglesias Ramírez, José Ubaldo Izquierdo Hernández, Reynaldo Miguel
Labrada Peña, Librado Ricardo Linares García, Marcelo Manuel López
Bañobre, José Miguel Martínez Hernández, Héctor Maseda Gutiérrez, Mario
Enrique Mayo Hernández, Luis Milán Fernández, Nelson Moline Espino,
Ángel Moya Acosta, Jesús Mustafá Felipe, Félix Navarro Rodríguez, Jorge
Olivera Castillo, Pablo Pacheco Ávila, Héctor Palacios Ruiz, Arturo
Pérez de Alejo Rodríguez, Omar Pernet Hernández, Horacio Julio Piña
Borrego, Fabio Prieto Llorente, Alfredo Manuel Pulido López, José
Gabriel Ramón Castillo, Arnaldo Ramos Lauzurique, Blas Giraldo Reyes
Rodríguez, Raúl Ramón Rivero Castañeda, Alexis Rodríguez Fernández, Omar
Rodríguez Saludes, Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello, Omar Moisés Ruiz
Hernández, Claro Sánchez Altarriba, Ariel Sigler Amaya, Guido Sigler
Amaya, Miguel Sigler Amaya, Ricardo Enrique Silva Gual, Fidel Suárez
Cruz, Manuel Ubals González, Julio Antonio Valdés Guevara, Miguel Valdés
Tamayo, Héctor Raúl Valle Hernández, Manuel Vázquez Portal, Antonio
Augusto Villareal Acosta, and Orlando Zapata Tamayo.

5. That the State did not violate Articles IX, XI and XVII of
the American Declaration.[129]

105. In addition, the IACHR recommended that the State of Cuba:

1. Order the immediate and unconditional release of the victims
in this case, while overturning their convictions inasmuch as they were
based on laws that impose unlawful restrictions on their human rights.

2. Adopt the measures necessary to adapt its laws, procedures
and practices to international human rights laws. In particular, the
Commission is recommending to the Cuban State that it repeal Law No. 88
and Article 91 of its Criminal Code, and that it initiate a process to
amend its Constitution to ensure the independence of the judicial branch
of government and the right to participate in government.

3. Redress the victims and their next of kin for the pecuniary
and non-pecuniary damages suffered as a result of the violations of the
American Declaration herein established.

4. Adopt the measures necessary to prevent a recurrence of
similar acts, in keeping with the State's duty to respect and ensure
human rights.[130]

106. According to information received by the IACHR, 16[131]
individuals were released from prison on parole under the "extrapenal
license" mechanism[132] on the grounds that they were seriously
ill,[133] and Rafael Millet Leyva was released on December 19, 2006. The
IACHR was also informed about the restrictions of labor rights
encountered by persons released from prison on extrapenal license.[134]

107. The remaining victims in Case 12.476 are still in prison.

108. Under the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of
Man, all individuals have the right to humane treatment during the time
they are in custody.[135] In several of its reports, the Commission has
addressed the topic of detention conditions in Cuba.[136] The
Commission is of the view that the State's responsibility with regard to
the humane treatment of persons held in its custody is not confined to
the negative obligation to refrain from practicing torture or
mistreating such persons. Since prisons are places where the s
tate has
total control over the life of the prisoners, its obligations towards
them include the control and security measures required to preserve the
life and protect the integrity of persons deprived of liberty.

109. According to the information received by the IACHR,[137]
the prison authorities – either directly or with the assistance of other
convicts – continue to mistreat political prisoners: they are subjected
to beatings and attacks, kept in isolation for long periods, and not
provided with the medical assistance needed for the illnesses they
suffer. In addition, they are held at prisons far away from their home
towns in order to make visiting difficult; family visits are denied or
restricted; foodstuffs or medicines sent by their relatives are
restricted or denied; and they are kept from meeting with officials from
international human rights bodies. This leads to a serious deterioration
in the physical and/or mental health of imprisoned dissidents.[138]

110. Various of the victims of Case 12.476 have health problems
that have emerged or been aggravated during their detention, without the
provision of adequate medical care.[139] With regard to health
conditions, the Commission has previously expressed its concern
regarding the large number of convicts who suffer from chronic visual,
renal, cardiac, and pulmonary ailments and are not given appropriate
medical attention; this group includes several prisoners of advanced
years. Moreover, the IACHR has been told that prison authorities prevent
the relatives of imprisoned political dissidents from supplying them
with drugs needed to treat their illnesses that are not provided by the
State. Thus, the State has not observed the principles established in
the United Nations' Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of
Prisoners.[140]

111. During 2007, as a part of its duties in monitoring
compliance with the recommendations[141] set out in Report on Merits N°
67/06, Case 12.476, the IACHR again reiterated to the State of Cuba its
recommendation for the immediate release of the victims in the case and,
in particular, it requested information on the current health of
Normando Hernández González and Jorge Luis García Paneque and on the
medical attention being provided to them.

112. On June 11, 2007, the IACHR received information
indicating that Normando Hernández González was suffering from a series
of intestinal illnesses.[142] On June 18, 2007, the IACHR asked the
State to release him and to adopt protective measures until such time as
he was released. On August 31, 2007, the IACHR repeated its request of
June 18. According to press reports, on September 14, 2007, Normando
Hernández González was transferred from Kilo 7 prison in Camagüey to the
Carlos J. Finlay military hospital in the city of La Havana.

113. On June 28, 2007, the IACHR received information
indicating that Jorge Luis García Paneque's body weight had fallen 36 kg
after developing, while in prison, malabsorption syndrome of the
intestine, a disease that causes chronic attacks of diarrhea and
bleeding colitis. The Commission was also told that since being sent to
prison in March 2003, Mr. García Paneque's health had constantly
worsened, due to the inhuman conditions he was exposed to in the
detention center. On June 29, 2007, the IACHR asked the State to release
him and to adopt protective measures until such time as he was
released.[143]

114. Similarly, José Gabriel Ramón Castillo,[144] after being
confined to a punishment cell for 15 months at the Villa Clara Juvenile
Prison, suffered damage to his central nervous system and other
pathologies, and because of this his existing ailments worsened.[145]

115. With regard to the use of isolation cells, the IACHR has
ruled that:

Isolation is an exceptional measure designed to prevent obstacles to an
investigation into the facts. After examining the material facts of
this case, it has been deduced that isolation was not used as an
exceptional measure, but in several cases it was used instead as
additional punishment of an indefinite nature, which is contrary to the
United Nations' Minimum Standard Rules for the Treatment of
Prisoners.[146][147]

116. The IACHR was also told about the grave prison conditions
facing seven of the nine[148] trade unionists convicted in 2003 for
their involvement in independent workers' organizations; in some of
those cases, the conditions constitute inhumane treatment. The
information describes the grave health conditions of the imprisoned
unionists, claims that the State does not provide the medical attention
they need, and, in particular, reports on the very delicate health of
Pedro Pablo Álvarez.

117. In addition, with reference to prisoners of conscience not
included in the group of 78 dissidents, on February 28, 2007, the
Commission granted precautionary measures to protect the life and person
of Mr. Francisco Pastor Chaviano, who suffered serious injuries to his
face and head as a result of beatings meted out by prison guards.[149]
At the public hearing on the "Situation of persons in jail in
Cuba,"[150] held on July 20, 2007, during the IACHR's 128th regular
session, one of Francisco Pastor Chaviano's daughters gave testimony on
her father's condition. On August 10, 2007, the Commission was told that
Francisco Pastor Chaviano had been released from prison.

118. The IACHR appreciated the decision by the Cuban Government
to release Francisco Pastor Chaviano. Nonetheless, the Commission notes
that the recourse of release of prisoners for humanitarian reasons
continues to be implemented on a discretionary basis, without following
clear, objective, egalitarian criteria imposed by independent judges.

119. At the same time, the IACHR notes that Mr. Jorge Luis
García Pérez-Antúnez, imprisoned in 1990, was released from jail on
April 22, 2007, upon completion of his entire prison sentence. The IACHR
was told that Mr. García Pérez-Antúnez suffered frequent beatings at the
hands of other inmates and that the authorities had threatened that he
would never leave prison alive; for that reason, on November 21, 2006,
it granted precautionary measures on his behalf.[151]

120. At the same time, the Commission has noted its concern at
what are known as "acts of repudiation" carried out against political
dissidents paroled from jail under extrapenal licenses. These acts of
repudiation involve harassment and intimidation carried out by members
of groups of government supporters, among them the Committees for the
Defense of the Revolution and the People's Rapid Response Brigades,
against people they consider "counter-revolutionaries."[152]

121. These acts of repudiation carried out against political
dissidents, involving participants with ties to the Government of Cuba,
ignore the human dignity and liberty owed to all persons, irrespective
of their political ideas, and they are in breach of the American
Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man.

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[101] I/A Court H. R., Interpretation of the American Declaration of the
Rights and Duties of Man Within the Framework of Article 64 of the
American Convention on Human Rights, Advisory Opinion OC-10/89, July 14,
1989, Series A Nº 10, paragraphs
43-46.

[102] Statute of the IACHR, Article 20(a).

[103] The complete text of Resolution VI may be found in "Eighth Meeting
of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs acting as Organ of
Consultation in application of the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal
Assistance, Punta del Este, Uruguay, January 22-31, 1962, Documents of
the Meeting," Organization of American States, OEA/Ser.F/II.8, doc. 68,
pp. 17-19.

[104] IACHR, Annual Report 2002, Chapter IV, Cuba, paragraphs 3-7. See
also: IACHR, Annual Report 2001, Chapter IV, Cuba, paragraphs 3-7;
IACHR, Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Cuba, Seventh Report,
1983, paragraphs
16-46.

[105] IACHR, Annual Report 2002, Chapter IV, Cuba, paragraph 7.a.

[106] See: IACHR, Special Reports for the following years: 1962, 1963,
1967, 1970, 1976, 1979, and 1983.

[107] See: IACHR, Chapter IV of the Annual Reports for the following
years: 1990-91, 1991, 1992-1993, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999,
2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006.

[108] See: IACHR, Report on Merits Nº 47/96, Case 11.436, Tugboat 13 de
Marzo, October 16, 1996; IACHR, Report on Merits Nº 86/99, Case 11.589,
Armando Alejandre Jr., Carlos Costa, Mario de la Peña, and Pablo
Morales, September 29, 1999; IACHR, Report on Admissibility Nº 56/04,
Petition 12.127, Vladimiro Roca Antúnez et al., October 14, 2004; IACHR,
Report on Admissibility Nº 57/04, Petitions 771/03 and 841/03, Oscar
Elias Biscet et al., October 14, 2004; IACHR, Report on Admissibility Nº
58/04, Petition 844/03, Lorenzo Enrique Copello Castillo et al., October
14, 2004; IACHR, Report on the Merits Nº 67/06, Case 12.476, Oscar Elías
Biscet et al., October 21, 2006; IACHR, Report on the Merits Nº 68/06,
Case 12.477, Lorenzo Enrique Copello Castillo et al., October 21, 2006.

[109] When informed of an IACHR decision, either the State of Cuba does
not reply or it sends a note stating that the Inter-American Commission
on Human Rights has no jurisdiction, and the Organization of American
States no moral authority, to examine matters involving Cuba.

[110] See: Video of public hearing on "Situation of persons in jail in
Cuba," held on July 20, 2007, at:

http://www.cidh.org/audiencias/seleccionar.aspx.

[111] See: Video of public hearing on "Situation of the union members
deprived of liberty in Cuba," held on July 20, 2007, at:

http://www.cidh.org/audiencias/seleccionar.aspx.

[112] See: Video of public hearing on "Case 12.476: Oscar Elías Biscet
et al., Cuba (Follow-up of recommendations)," held on October 10, 2007,
at: http://www.cidh.org/audiencias/seleccionar.aspx.

[113] In Chapter 9, "White Book 2007," English version, published on the
official web page of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba, at:

http://www.cubaminrex.cu/CDH/62cdh/Ingles/White_Book_2007/index.htm.

[114] See: Chapter 9, "White Book 2007," English version, published on
the official web page of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba, cited
above.

[115] Article 3 of the Inter-American Democratic Charter states that one
of the essential elements of representative democracy is the holding of
periodic, free, and fair elections based on secret balloting and
universal suffrage as an expression of the sovereignty of the people,
together with the pluralistic system of political parties and organizations.

[116] See: UNDP, Country Programme Document for Cuba (2008-2012),
general distribution, July 30, 2007, at:

http://www.undp.org/latinamerica/countryprogramme.shtml.

[117] American Declaration, Article XVIII.

[118] American Declaration, Article XXV.

[119] American Declaration, Article XXVI.

[120] American Declaration, Article I.

[121] American Declaration, Article XXV.

[122] American Declaration, Article XXV.

[123] American Declaration, Article XXVI.

[124] Chapter 7 of the "White Book 2007," published on the official web
page of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba, cited above, says that:
"Our country has ratified a significant number of international human
rights instruments. Cuba is a State party to 16 fundamental treaties on
this issue." A later paragraph reads: "Cuba reiterates its commitment
with the principles enshrined in the International Covenants on Civil
and Political Rights, and of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Such
commitment was entered into since the adoption of both texts by the UN
General Assembly. Cuba's Constitution and legal system uphold for all
citizens the rights protected under such instruments. The State has
implemented a number of programs and policies specially aimed at
protecting and promoting these rights for all Cubans."

[125] The Government of Cuba rejects the label "dissidents" for the
victims in Case 12.476. The report titled "White Book 2007," published
on the official web page of the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
states that: "This slanderous campaign – still going on today with the
cynical, complicit and active help of several client governments of the
Empire – has resorted to sophisticated disinformation techniques
developed by the Nazi-Fascists services, unjustifiably and repeatedly
depicting the justly convicted mercenaries by giving the false epithets
of 'dissidents,' 'peaceful political opponents,' 'human rights
defenders,' 'independent journalists, librarians or unionists.' The idea
is to make people believe that the mercenaries were 'arbitrarily and
unjustly' convicted simply for 'peacefully exercising the right to
freedom of speech, opinion and association'." See "White Book 2007,"
Chapter 5, cited above.

[126] See: Video of public hearing on "Situation of persons in jail in
Cuba," held on July 20, 2007 and Video of public hearing on "Case
12.476: Oscar Elías Biscet et al., Cuba (Follow-up of recommendations),"
held on October 10, 2007,
cited above.

[127] Report on Merits Nº 67/06 was forwarded to the State of Cuba and
to the petitioners' representatives on November 1, 2006. See: IACHR,
Press Release Nº 40/06, "IACHR announces two reports on human rights
violations in Cuba," November 1, 2006.

[128] Article 91 of the Criminal Code of Cuba: "Anyone who, in the
interests of a foreign state, commits an act with the intent of harming
the independence of the Cuban State or the integrity of its territory
shall be punished with imprisonment for a period of ten to twenty years
or death."

[129] See: Complete report at: http://www.cidh.org.

[130] See: Complete report at: http://www.cidh.org.

[131] In 2004, the following persons were granted medical parole:
Osvaldo Alfonso, Margarito Broche Espinosa, Carmelo Díaz Fernández,
Oscar Espinosa Chepe, Orlando Fundadora Álvarez, Edel José García Díaz,
Marcelo López Bañobre, Roberto de Miranda, Jorge Olivera Castillo, Raúl
Rivero Castañeda, Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello, Julio Valdés Guevara,
Miguel Valdés Tamayo (died January 10, 2007), and Manuel Vásquez Portal.
In 2005, Mario Enrique Mayo Hernández and Héctor Palacio Ru
iz were
granted medical parole.

[132] The Criminal Code of Cuba provides: "Article 31.2: The sentencing
court may grant persons sentenced to prison extrapenal license for the
duration deemed necessary, when there is good reason and subject to the
filing of an application. It may also be granted by the Ministry of the
Interior, in extraordinary cases, provided notice is given to the
President of the People's Supreme Court." "Article 31.4: The duration of
extrapenal licenses and of permits for egress from the detention
facility shall accrue to the duration of the prison sentence provided
that the recipient of the benefit, during the time the license or permit
is in force, displays good behavior. The reductions of sentence granted
to the convict during his or her service of the sentence shall also
accrue to its duration."

[133] See: Video of public hearing on Case 12.476, held on October 10,
2007, cited above. According to the State of Cuba, for "strictly
humanitarian" reasons, 16 persons were granted extrapenal license. See:
Chapter 5, "White Book 2007," English version, published on the official
web page of the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs, cited above.

[134] See: IACHR, Press Release Nº 40/07, "IACHR concludes its 128th
period of sessions," August 1, 2007.

[135] American Declaration, Article XXV.

[136] IACHR, Annual Report 1995, Chapter V, paragraph 71; IACHR, Annual
Report 1994, Chapter IV, page 168; IACHR, Annual Report 2004, Chapter
IV, paragraphs 59-66; IACHR, Annual Report 2005, Chapter IV, paragraphs
76-81; IACHR, Annual Report 2006, Chapter IV, paragraphs 65-70.

[137] See: Video of public hearing on "Situation of persons in jail in
Cuba," held on July 20, 2007 and Video of public hearing on "Case
12.476: Oscar Elías Biscet et al., Cuba (Follow-up of recommendations),"
held on October 10, 2007,
cited above.

[138] See: Video of public hearing on "Situation of persons in jail in
Cuba," held on July 20, 2007 and Video of public hearing on "Case
12.476: Oscar Elías Biscet et al., Cuba (Follow-up of recommendations),"
held on October 10, 2007,
cited above.

[139] IACHR, Case 12.476: Oscar Elías Biscet et al., Cuba, Report Nº
67/06, November 21, 2006, paragraph 157.

[140] The Inter-American Commission has repeatedly indicated that the
United Nations' Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners
should be understood as a suitable international reference for standard
minimum rules for the humane treatment of prisoners, including basic
rules relating to cell and sanitary conditions, medical attention, and
physical exercise. See IACHR, Report Nº 27/01, Case 12.183, Jamaica,
paragraph 133; Report Nº 47/01, Case 12.028, Grenada, paragraph 127;
Report Nº 48/01, Case 12.067, Bahamas, paragraph 195; Report Nº 38/00,
Case 11.743, Grenada, paragraph 136.

[141] On December 6, 2006, the IACHR received a request for
precautionary measures lodged on behalf of Librado Ricardo Linares
García. According to the request, Mr. Linares García continues to face
poor conditions in prison, constant stress, poor nutrition, attacks from
other inmates, restrictions of his religious freedom, and interference
with his right to receive family visits. On December 15, 2006, the IACHR
asked the State to release him and to adopt the necessary protection
measures until such time as he was released.

[142] These included erythematous gastritis in the lower stomach,
jejunitis, atrophy in the intestinal cilia, giardiasic parasites on the
intestine walls, intestinal leaks, deficiencies of folic acid and
vitamin B-12, and malabsorption syndrome in the intestine.

[143] The World Organisation Against Torture (WOAT) said that: "It calls
the Cuban authorities' attention to this case and reminds them that the
conditions in which Dr. José Luis García Paneque has been detained, the
cause of his current grave health situation, violate the United Nations
Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners and constitute a
form of cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment in breach of the terms
of the Convention against Torture." World Organisation Against Torture,
"Fears for the personal integrity of Dr. José Luis García Paneque," Case
CUB 090806.1, July 3, 2007.

[144] On November 7, 2006, the IACHR received a request for
precautionary measures lodged on behalf of José Gabriel Ramón Castillo,
claiming that he was in immediate danger, was not being given food, and
was not receiving medical attention. The information also added that he
was physically mistreated and denied the medicine brought by his family
for treating his ailments. On November 22, 2006, the IACHR asked the
State to release him and to adopt the necessary protective measures
until such time as he was released.

[145] IACHR, Annual Report 2006, Chapter IV, paragraph 67.

46 Minimum standard rules for the treatment of prisoners. Adopted by
the First United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Treatment of
Criminals, held in Geneva in 1955, and approved by the Economic and
Social Council in its Resolutions 663C (XXIV) of July 31, 1957 and 2076
(LXII) of May 13, 1977, Articles 31 and 32.1.

[146] IACHR, Case 12.476: Oscar Elías Biscet et al., Cuba, Report Nº
67/06, November 21, 2006, paragraph 154.

[147] IACHR, Case 12.476: Oscar Elías Biscet et al., Cuba, Report Nº
67/06, November 21, 2006, paragraph 154.

[148] The trade unionists tried and convicted in 2003 were Pedro Pablo
Álvarez Ramos, Horacio Julio Piña Borrego, Víctor Rolando Arroyo
Carmona, Adolfo Fernández Sainz, Alfredo Felipe Fuentes, Luis Milán
Fernández, Blas Giraldo Reyes Rodríguez, Carmelo Díaz Fernández, and
Oscar Espinosa Chepe. The last two have been released on extrapenal
license. See: Video of public hearing on "Situation of the union members
deprived of liberty in Cuba," held on July 20, 2007, cited above.

[149] Precautionary measures Nº 19-07, on behalf of Francisco Pastor
Chaviano, were granted by the IACHR on February 28, 2007. According to
the information received by the IACHR, the beneficiary suffered serious
injuries to his face and head as a result of beatings at the hands of
prison guards. The IACHR was also told that Mr. Chaviano suffers from a
duodenal ulcer, arthritis, and respiratory problems, as a direct result
of the detention conditions in which he is being held. In addition, in
February 2007, the beneficiary's wife announced that he had been
diagnosed with a 70% obstruction of the arteries and ischemia which, if
not addressed through surgery could, in conjunction with his aggressive
pulmonary tumor, lead to his death in prison.

[150] See: Video of public hearing on "Situation of the union members
deprived of liberty in Cuba," held on July 20, 2007, cited above.

[151] Precautionary measures Nº 306-06, on behalf of Jorge Luis García
Pérez-Antúnez, were granted by the IACHR on November 21, 2006.

[152] The Committees for the Defense of the Revolution and the People's
Rapid Response Brigades are intended to guard against activities
considered counter-revolutionary and confront any suspected indication
of opposition to the government.

http://www.cidh.org/annualrep/2007eng/Chap.4b.htm

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