Police Violence in Cuba
When someone is arrested in Cuba for exercising their civil rights, this immediately means that they can face any number of risks. This goes beyond simply being unjustly deprived of freedom for hours, days, or being sentenced to years behind bars, but also includes being seriously injured. These violations can also take place while the person is being detained, where such abuses can be carried out easier since there is less public exposure than at the moment of the arrest.
The violence against political detainees takes many forms. Verbal abuse, intimidation, death threats, and threats against the family are meant to weaken and distress individuals psychologically and as a result encourage the person to quit their dissident activities. As to the physical abuse, the level of violence meted out by the police sometimes causes injuries that require hospitalization.
Here are a few cases , from the cases posted on the human rights monitoring website, www.eyeoncuba.org, illustrating these abuses. As you may see, the victims belong to various opposition movements but also to the civil society:
Jorge Luis Claro Galvan. On May 23, 2014, the victim was resting on the porch of his house when he was arrested by the police. They beat him severely, causing a head wound that left him traumatized and because of this, a few days later, he became dizzy in the prison restroom, fell and got an additional head injury that required stitches. The victim was put on trial before a court without any proof that he had committed the crime of burglary. The police had linked him to a robbery that supposedly took place while he was traveling in a rental car. His family says this is just the consequence of frequent threats from the state authorities for being a member of the Movimiento Cristiano de Liberación.
Roberto Rodriguez Cardona, member of Partido Republicano de Cuba, was heading to the center of the city of Bayamo on January 25th 2014, alongside guests to celebrate his daughter’s birthday when he was violently arrested by the combined forces of the Police and agents of the State Security and rushed to the police station. They continued to beat him so aggressively that they dislocated his shoulder, smashed his forehead against a wall and caused injuries inside and outside his mouth. He was detained until Monday 27th for two days, with no medical assistance. He was released without charges.
Yriades Hernández Aguilera, from Union Patriótica de Cuba, was documenting an eviction case when agents of the Political Police came around and started beating him. Afterwards, they took him in a patrol car to the outskirts of the town and released him. He remained there for 3 hours as the blows he had received had caused synovial fluid to leak from his left knee and thus made it impossible for him to use his left leg. Yriades has been constantly threatened with death if he continues with his dissident activity.
Cleider Claro Rosa was beaten unconscious by prison officials in Guantanamo. The incident occurred on Nov. 23, 2013 when he was denied the monthly visit from his family. The detainee expressed his disagreement and he was subsequently hit by the head of the prison and other officials for protesting. He lost consciousness, fell to the ground and was dragged to the punishment cell where he remained for six days. Cleider Claro Rosa doesn’t belong to any party of the opposition movement.
In order to prevent abuses in the future the Czech NGO People in Need would like to call on Cuban government to start implementing reforms of it security apparatus. It must be reformed in such a way that human rights such as the right not to be a victim of torture, inhuman and degrading treatment, doesn’t happen in Cuba. The first step for Cuban government would be for security forces to undergo training in “human rights” following the guidelines and manuals developed by the United Nation’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights or other internationally respected entity.
Please visit www.eyeoncuba.org