In order to contextualize the announcement by the Cuban government on the release and forced exile of 52 political prisoners, the Human Rights Foundation ( HRF) reported on September 1, 2010 an exclusive documentary video of the Ladies in White group Cuban civil society organizes every Sunday in Havana peaceful marches for freedom and human rights in Cuba.
The group is internationally recognized and is formed by the wives , mothers , sisters , daughters and other women supporters of the jailed dissidents during the " Black Spring "of March 2003. On that occasion , 75 people, including independent journalists , librarians, and activists for democracy and human rights were arrested and sentenced to terms ranging from six to 28 years in prison.
Currently , 26 prisoners have been released and exiled to Spain, while a prisoner was exiled directly to the U.S. for medical treatment . At least five prisoners have refused to accept exile , which means they have chosen to remain in jail until they are granted unconditional freedom and allowed to remain in Cuba.
"The release of these innocent people is certainly a positive development and a cause for celebration . However, we must remember that the mechanisms of repression remain intact in Cuba, and that to start any of these people should have been incarcerated. It should also be clear that it has reversed criminal judgments against them, or they have been declared innocent , but still considered criminals by the Cuban government . Those who can stay in Cuba, made under the shadow of the continuing political persecution , "said Thor Halvorssen , president of HRF.
"The number of political prisoners in Castro 's prisons remains a mystery , the judicial system remains a farce, and anyone can be arrested without having committed any crime. With current law, Raul Castro could easily replace these 52 prisoners , a new onslaught against opposition voices in Cuba , "he continued Halvorssen.
Las Damas de Blanco have said they will continue to protest every Sunday until the last of the imprisoned dissidents during the Black Spring release. In the video , Laura Pollán , a spokesman for Las Damas de Blanco, tells the story of how the group was formed after Black Spring and analyzes recent events that have attracted international attention to political prisoners of the Cuban regime .
"In the world there are still many people who are blind to this demagogue government [which says ] that in Cuba there is a lot of freedom , which is a paradise , which is the earthly paradise, or paradise Caribbean . I invite those who believe in ' freedom 'of Cuba to come to live here, " Pollan says in the video. " Let them come to live as an ordinary citizen , not to bring dollars to come to work, to earn what a worker earns , to live in a humble home , to buy food with ration books , and to express all I can say in their country against the government ... , that you say it here in Cuba to see what the outcome. "
The Cuban government has been under pressure to release political prisoners after death, in February, Orlando Zapata Tamayo, who declared a hunger strike in protest at the treatment that the system gives the political prisoners there. Zapata 's death led to another dissident Guillermo Farinas , start their own hunger strike.
"Right now it is giving an awakening in the world, [ which] is taking the band [ eye ] on Cuba , "says Pollan .
" The political prisoners who have already rejected the forced exile have decided, bravely sacrificing their own freedom to defend freedom of expression for all , "said Halvorssen. " This is a powerful warning to a regime that has usurped power for 51 years and pursuing his opponents in a merciless and relentless , "said Halvorssen.
Despite the announcement of release of 52 political prisoners, the Penal Code of Cuba remains unchanged , as laws allowing the arrest of anyone who criticizes the Cuban government. The Cuban Penal Code authorizes the arrest as " pre-emptive security measure " to anyone who has a " proclivity " to commit crimes, which is demonstrated through the "conduct in manifest contradiction with the norms of socialist morality . "
"Until now, periodic releases of political prisoners in Cuba has generally been followed by the arrest of more dissidents who have merely exercised their freedom of expression. Political prisoners have become scarce under the boot of Raul Castro , as they did under the boot of Fidel, "said Halvorssen. "Any meaningful reform in Cuba must go beyond the pursuit of indulgences in Europe and large international headlines . Why not start more than once an honest transition to democracy and respect for the rights and civil liberties ? "concluded Halvorssen.
In May 2010, the HRF also posted videos of former prisoner of conscience , Armando Valladares, and the renowned blogger Yoani Sanchez in honor of Day of Solidarity with Cuba. The videos were filmed exclusively for the Freedom Forum 2010 Oslo and are available on YouTube.
The Human Rights Foundation (HRF ) is an international nonpartisan organization devoted to defending human rights in the Americas. The HRF 's International Council is composed of individuals who were prisoners of conscience Vladimir Bukovsky, Palden Gyatso, Václav Havel, Mutabar Tadjibaeva , Ramon J. Velásquez , Elie Wiesel, and Harry Wu.
S: Contact / Front Line LPPNEWS simultaneous translation