United Nations


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

24 October 1995


Fiftieth session
Agenda item 112 (c)


Situation of human rights in Cuba

Note by the Secretary-General

  The  Secretary-General has the  honour to  transmit to the  members of the
General Assembly  the interim  report on  the situation  of human  rights in
Cuba prepared by Mr. Carl-Johan Groth,  Special Rapporteur of the Commission
on Human  Rights, in accordance with  paragraph 12  of Commission resolution
1995/66  of 7 March  1995 and Economic and  Social Council decision 1995/277
of 25 July 1995.

95-32296 (E)  071195  101195/...



  Paragraphs  Page

I.  INTRODUCTION .........................................    1 - 63

II.  CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS ...........................7 - 364

  A.  The right to non-discrimination on political
    grounds, and freedom of expression and association  7 - 204

    1.  General observations .........................7 - 134

    2.  Individual cases relating mainly to 1994 and
      1995 which were reported to the Special
      Rapporteur in 1995 ...........................14 - 206

  B.  Freedom of the press .............................  21 - 2214

  C.  The administration of justice ....................  23 - 2714

  D.  Police abuses resulting in fatalities ............  28 - 3116

  E.  The right to leave and return to the country .....  32 - 3617

III.  CONDITIONS IN THE PRISONS ............................37 - 4219


V.  CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS ......................51 - 6022


1.   At  its fifty-first  session, the  Commission  on Human  Rights adopted
resolution  1995/66, entitled  "Situation of  human  rights  in Cuba",  on 7
March  1995.   In that  resolution,  the Commission  decided to  extend  for
another  year  the  mandate  conferred  on   the  Special  Rapporteur  under
resolution 1992/261 of 3  March 1992, whereby Mr.  Carl-Johan Groth had been
appointed Special Rapporteur.

2.  In resolution  1995/66, approved by the  Economic and Social  Council in
its  decision 1995/277 of 25 July 1995, the Special Rapporteur was requested
to report  to the Commission at  its fifty-second session  and to submit  an
interim  report to  the  General  Assembly  at its  fiftieth  session.   The
present report is in response to that request.

3.    In the  same  resolution,  the Commission  expressed  its  concern  at
information in  the previous report of  the Special Rapporteur to the effect
that violations of fundamental human rights  and freedoms enumerated in  the
Universal  Declaration of Human  Rights were  continuing in  Cuba, and noted
with regret  the continued failure  of the Government  of Cuba  to cooperate
with the  Special Rapporteur and its refusal to permit him  to visit Cuba in
order to  fulfil his mandate.  It also once again called upon the Government
of Cuba to permit  the Special Rapporteur  the opportunity to carry out  his
mandate in full, in particular by allowing him to visit Cuba; regretted  the
numerous  unanswered reports of  violations described  in the  report of the
Special Rapporteur;  and called upon  the Government  of Cuba  to bring  the
observance  of  human  rights  and fundamental  freedoms  up  to universally
recognized standards.

4.  The Commission  also requested the Special Rapporteur to maintain direct
contacts  with  the Government  and  citizens  of  Cuba.   Pursuant  to that
request, the Special Rapporteur once again  requested the cooperation of the
Government  in order  to fulfil  his mandate,  asking, inter  alia, for  the
opportunity to visit Cuba.  That request has remained unanswered.

5.  With regard to  the maintenance of contacts with  the citizens of  Cuba,
the Special Rapporteur has endeavoured to expand  such contacts as widely as
possible  and has continued  to demonstrate  his willingness  to receive any
person or group wishing to meet with him.

6.  For that purpose, and bearing in mind that most of  the external sources
of  information on the  situation of human rights in  Cuba are in the United
States of America,  he travelled to New York  and Washington, D.C., from  28
August  to 1  September 1995,  where he  had  the  opportunity to  meet with
experts  on the  real situation  in  Cuba  in various  professional circles,
including the academic  world; with people who had recently left the country
and  had suffered violations  of human  rights; and  with representatives of
the  following organizations and  groups:   the Coordinating  Body for Human
Rights Organizations  in Cuba,  the Cuban  Committee for  Human Rights,  the
Committee to  Support the Human Rights  Movement in  Cuba, the Confederation
of Democratic Workers, Freedom House, the  Cuban Workers' Trade Union, Human
Rights  Watch,  the  Cuban Committee  against  the  Blockade,  the  American
Institute for Free Labor Development, Casa  de las Americas, the  Federation
of Cuban  Masons  in Exile,  the Christian  Democratic  Party  of Cuba,  the
Flotilla  de  la Libertad,  the  Cuban  Democratic  Coalition,  the 30th  of
November  Movement,   the  Cuban   Centre  for  Human   Rights,  and   Cuban
Municipalities  in   Exile.    The   Special  Rapporteur  received   written
material - in addition to  that received from the  above-mentioned sources -
from  such  sources as  the Information  Bureau  of  the Cuban  Human Rights
Movement,  the World  Federation of  Cuban Political  Prisoners  and Amnesty
International, as  well as  many communications from  individuals sent  from
Cuba and abroad.


A.  The right to non-discrimination on political grounds,
    and freedom of expression and association           

1.  General observations

7.  The situation of human rights in  Cuba continues to be characterized  by
severe restrictions of the rights to  freedom of expression and association,
the right to form  and join trade unions and the right to strike, and strong
official  control over the  individual activities of citizens, including the
need for a permit from the Ministry of the Interior for citizens  to be able
to travel freely abroad, strong repression by the security forces which  the
maintenance of  such control  involves, and  a system  of administration  of
justice  in criminal matters  which to  a large extent is  in the service of
the prevailing  political  regime.   All  this,  combined with  the  serious
economic  crisis  of  recent  years  and  external  factors,  has  led  to a
situation  in  which  approximately  10  per  cent  of  the  population (the
population of  Cuba comprises some 11  million inhabitants) resides  outside
the country,  and a large number  of people, regardless of their occupation,
see emigration as  the only hope  for a  better future  and are prepared  to
abandon the country by any means. 

8.  Many  persons with whom the Special  Rapporteur has had the  opportunity
to speak emphasized that  the current situation of  human rights in  Cuba is
in fact not characterized  by a systematic  violation of the right to  life,
undoubtedly the  most basic  right of  all those  embodied in  international
instruments,  but neither must  the obvious  importance of  the incidents of
that type of violation  which do occur  be underestimated. 1/  However,  the
shortcomings in the  protection of other civil  and political rights are  so
numerous and  so deeply rooted  in the political situation  enshrined in the

Constitution  - under which  the exercise  of those rights  is possible, but
only within the framework of the building of socialism - that  each case of,
for  example, detention  on  political  grounds  or punishment  for  illegal
departure  from the  country  must  be viewed  not  in isolation,  but in  a
context characterized  by the  lack of  pluralism.   The very  fact that  an
individual applies to  an "independent"  body in order  to file a  complaint
also carries  with it  a  risk, since  any body  that  may  be described  as
independent  of  any ideology  or official  organ  is  illegal and  hence is
highly vulnerable and incapable of taking action.

9.   The setting  up of  groups with a political  orientation and groups for
the defence  of human  and labour  rights has  continued to  grow in  recent
years,   despite  the  difficulties  they  encounter.     This  process  has
undoubtedly been  accelerated by the  economic crisis of  the 1990s,  but it
had already  begun prior  to that,  particularly with  the establishment  in
1976 of  the Cuban  Committee for  Human Rights,  which has  still not  been

10.  The  Government continues to minimize  the importance of  those groups,
describing  them   as  "mini-groups"  and  "counter-revolutionaries".    The
Special Rapporteur is  of the view, however,  that they are very  important.
This is  because, firstly, at least in most cases, they emerge spontaneously
in response  to the need of  ordinary citizens to  find alternatives to  all
the problems  in which  they are  immersed.   Secondly,  they constitute  an
embryo  of civil society  and pluralism  in a  context characterized  by the
existence,  on the  one hand, of  the individual and,  on the other,  of the
State apparatus  which also controls  the rank-and-file organizations,  with
no intermediate body being permitted to  exist. Although these small  groups
represent  a broad  ideological spectrum,  they  all share  a belief  in the
defence of individual  rights, emphasizing  the importance  of granting  the
individual a place in  society under the  protection of a State governed  by
the rule of law, and a strategy of peaceful opposition.

11.   The foregoing does  not mean that all criticism  is prohibited.  There
exist governmental channels which citizens can  utilize - and they  are even
urged  to do so - in order to air their grievances  about the lack of public
services  or any  other shortcomings,  but always provided  these criticisms
neither attack  the foundations  of the  system nor  come from  independent,
organized groups.

12.    In 1995  a  priest,  speaking  in his  personal  capacity,  gave  the
following  oral testimony to  the Special  Rapporteur, who  believes that it
represents the views of many citizens on the situation in Cuba:

  "I have known  persons who  were detained  for 40 days  and who lost  more
than  40 pounds,  or about  half a  kilo a day.   When  society sees  that a
person spends  40 days in prison and comes out looking like a walking corpse
and  has been totally  disoriented psychologically  by the  pressure and the
anguish he has suffered,  that society is simply living in terror, and there
are  plenty  of  other  ways  that may  be  utilized  elsewhere to  exercise
violence and power, because there  are other means which are ultimately more
effective and evidently more  destructive of the  person and of society.   I
am  referring, for example, to  the methods of control  and surveillance, to
the  distrust  that has  been  created  between people,  to  the  system  of
denunciations in  Cuba, which is even used against children and the elderly.
A person  is sure  to distrust  everybody else  because anyone  could be  an
informer.   This  creates  an atmosphere  not  only  of  fear, but  also  of
societal  hypocrisy, because  people  conceal  what  they  think  and  feel.
Clearly,  we are  living  in a  country of  masks,  and this  is  absolutely
selfdestructive  in a  society.   One doesn't know  what to  believe because
people  don't say what they think, they  don't do what they say,  and so one
lives in  total confusion.  The  result is that  this power is  perpetuated,
but at the cost  of all the fundamental  elements comprising the  reason why
we  live in society and the reason why we are a people, a nation, a country.
The price paid is  enormous, in suffering, in sadness, in utter  degradation
as a  result  of  living  in a  world  of hypocrisy.    All this  creates  a

situation  which makes people feel they  can do nothing  to change it.  They
are a people without hope, tired and oppressed ...
    "The  authorities hold society  constantly in  their grip  ...   The way
they  conceive  of  and exercise  power  crushes  human  dignity  ...    The
situation in the country would  require those with the capacity to do so  to
open  up   possibilities  for   dialogue,  for   respect  for  others   and,
consequently,  for  the  establishment  of  channels  of  participation  and
listening to what  the other has to say,  which should be expressed  through
the ballot box, through a national, open dialogue  with all groups that have
had the  courage in  some way  to express  themselves differently in  such a
monolithic situation ...

  "Cuba  was never a country of emigrants, it was one of immigrants, but now
the  only hope of  Cubans is  to be  able to  leave the country.   Sometimes
persons  with a greater  level of  conscience, of  commitment, with profound
religious or patriotic ideals,  find no alternative but  to leave.  We could
say that the tragedy  of Cuba  is that those in  power are strong enough  to
hold  on to  power but  not strong  enough  to transform  the country  in  a
creative manner and launch  it towards the future; they don't have the power
or the moral authority to escape from this impasse but they have  sufficient
brute force to continue running the country."

13.  In this context,  it is worth mentioning that the changes taking  place
in Cuban  society, principally in the  economic sector, are  creating a more
conducive  framework  enabling the  incipient  movement of  non-governmental
organizations  to reform  Cuban civil  society  and  to call  for democratic
rules in relations between society and the political authorities.

2.  Individual cases relating mainly to 1994 and 1995 which
    were reported to the Special Rapporteur in 1995       

14.  In November 1994 the  Special Rapporteur received from non-governmental
sources  a list  containing 1,195  names  of  persons serving  sentences for
crimes with  political connotations.  2/   In 1995,  some of  those persons,
including  the following,  were released  before  serving their  full  time:
Sebastian  Arcos  Bergnes,  Rodolfo  Gonzalez  Gonzalez,  Marta  Maria  Vega
Cabrera,  Caridad  Lima Garcia,  Arnaldo  Pascual  Acevedo  Blanco,  Barbaro
Licourt Medina, Juan  Luis Fuentes  Valdes, Amador  Blanco Hernandez,  Jorge
Luis  Carmona, Luis  Felipe Lorens  Nodal,  Joel  Mesa Morales,  Carlos Orue
Caballero, Juan  Jose Perez Maso, Julio  Cesar Perez  Maso, Rolando Quinones
Medina, Indamiro Restano,  Guillermo Rodriguez Almora, Luis Rodriguez  Leon,
Roberto Rodriguez Morejon and Alquimedes Ruiz Columbie.

15.  There does  not appear, however,  to be any tendency for the  number of
persons serving sentences for such crimes  to decrease:  indeed,  an updated
version of  the said list, received  in August  1995, includes approximately
1,500 persons,  at least 115  of whom were  apparently arrested  in 1994 and
1995.   The crimes with which  they are  charged continue to be,  in a large
number  of cases,  enemy  propaganda, "dangerousness",  acts  against  State
security,  contempt,  rebellion,  etc.,  terms  generally  used  to  qualify
peaceful activities  involving denunciation  or criticism  of the  country's
social  and political situation.  Moreover, it  frequently happens  that the
true motives are concealed behind charges of ordinary crimes.
  16.  The  following are some of the  cases of which the Special Rapporteur
learned during the current year:

  (a)  Cristina Alfonso  Valdes, a member  of the Partido Democratico 30  de
Noviembre, was  attacked in Havana on 24 January 1995 by  a police agent who
shot at her  when she attempted to come  out in defence  of her brother, who
was being  held and beaten.  Two  months after the  assault, she was charged
with contempt, for which the  office of the public  prosecutor is requesting
a penalty of three years' imprisonment.   Nurgia Torres Leon, who  witnessed
the events and came out in defence of Cristina  Alfonso, is also being tried
for contempt, and  in her case, too, the  public prosecutor is requesting  a
penalty of three years in prison;

  (b)   Jorge Heriberto  Alfonso  Aguilar, Ivan  Curra de  la Torre,  Ileana
Curra Luzon,  3/ Felipe  Lazaro Carrazana  Diaz, Pedro  Pablo Denis  Blanco,
Carlos  Denis  Denis, Rodolfo  Valdes  Perez,  Regla Tapanes  Tapanes, Ariel
Lavandera Lopez,  Maria Elena Bayo  Gonzalez and  Marcos Gonzalez  Hernandez
were  sentenced to one to  three years' imprisonment (in some cases replaced
by restriction of freedom) by  the Provincial Court of the City of Havana in
case 36/94 for the  crime of enemy  propaganda and other acts against  State
security.  According to the  sentence, it was  proven that  the accused, "in
disagreement with the Cuban revolutionary process and its basic  principles,
with  a view to  subverting the  established social  order and destabilizing
the bases  of our  social and  economic system  ..., conceived  the idea  of
preparing  and disseminating  in  various places  proclamations  with  texts
having  a  counter-revolutionary   content",  which  they  carried  out   by
producing a home-made printing block and printing fliers  with texts such as
"Down with Fidel" and "Plebiscite";

  (c)  Armando Alonso, a member of the  Cuban Committee for Human Rights and
a resident of  the United States, entered the  country on 5 April 1993  with
false papers.  Shortly  thereafter he was  arrested, then held in the  Villa
Marista State Security police station, where  he was reportedly pressured to
make statements  against other members  of his group,  until 4 August  1994.
On that  date he was tried and  sentenced to 12  years' imprisonment for the
crimes of enemy propaganda and  acts against State security.  At the end  of
1994 he was transferred from Combinado del Este  prison to Kilo Ocho prison,
Camaguey, where he was reportedly placed in a solitary confinement cell;

  (d)  Jorge Luis Brito Rodriguez and Miguel  Angel Leon Garcia, lay pastors
at  the  Baptist Church  of  San  Fernando  de  Camarones, Cienfuegos,  were
arrested in  December 1993  and sentenced  to six  years in  prison for  the
crimes of rebellion and enemy propaganda.  They  were charged with being the
authors  of   anti-Government  fliers  and   with  organizing  a   "counter-
revolutionary group"  that supposedly  met on  the premises  of the  Baptist
Church.    They  are serving  sentences in  Ariza  prison, where  the first-
mentioned suffers from serious  health problems.   Alexis Carballosa Falcon,
Juan  Silvio Duenas  Marrero, Salvador  Aguiar  and  Roberto Diaz  were also
sentenced in the same proceedings;

  (e)   Leonardo  Cabrera Arias,  Lino  Jose  Molina Basulto,  Ramiro  Angel
Rodriguez Leyva and  Jorge Oscar  Rodriguez Leyva,  residents of  Minajarle,
municipality  of Jiguani,  Granma, were  sentenced  to  six to  eight years'
imprisonment for the crimes of rebellion and  acts against State security in
a  trial held in Bayamo  on 14 March  1994.  The  acts with  which they were
charged  were "assembling,  assessing  the country's  economic,  social  and
political situation,  listening to foreign  broadcasts, engaging in  written
propaganda and seeking a cellar in which to  assemble persons".  The accused
alleged that they met weekly  in order to conduct Bible  studies.  They  are
serving sentences at La Manga prison, Granma province;

  (f)   Francisco Chaviano  Gonzalez, 4/  President of  the National Council
for Civil Rights in Cuba,  was arrested in May 1994  and taken to  the Villa
Marista State  Security police  station.  According to  information received
from persons who have  been detained at that centre, the detainees there are
frequently made to  go without food for 19  successive hours and are  forced
to sleep on a  sheet of iron, facing  a fluorescent light,  in sealed  cells
where  they  remain  in  solitary  confinement.     In  addition,  they  are
frequently denied  drinking water  and not  allowed to  wash themselves  for
three  or  four  days.    That  is  the  treatment  presumably undergone  by
Francisco  Chaviano.  At  least three  other persons,  Abel del  Valle Diaz,
Pedro Miguel Labrador and  Juan Carlos Gonzalez Vazquez, were also tried  in
the  same  proceedings,  being charged  with "disclosure  of  State security
secrets" and "falsification of  documents".  The trial  was held on 15 April
1995 before a  court martial, despite the fact  that nearly all the  accused
were civilians.   Abel del  Valle Diaz's  lawyer subsequently  wrote in  the
Miami press 5/  that the proceedings  were conducted secretly,  or in  other
words without  the participation  of attorneys, and  it had  not been  until
three days before the trial that  he had been permitted to  leaf through the

records and  interview  his defendants.    Moreover,  the attorney  was  not
permitted access  to the two documents  classified as  "secret" (which dealt
with the question of how to fight economic  crimes in the restaurant, hotels
and services sector and  in the fuels sector) which had allegedly been found
in the  possession of the accused  and constituted the basis  of one of  the
principal  charges.     Several  witnesses   for  the  defence  were  denied
admittance to the trial,  which was held  in camera, and family members  and
friends  were  threatened at  the entrance  to  the  building by  members of
"rapid-response brigades".  A number of members of human  rights groups were
detained  on  their  way  to  the  court and  released  a  few  hours later.
Francisco Chaviano was sentenced  to a prison term of  15 years and Abel del
Valle, three years;

  (g)  Efrain Garcia Hernandez, a member of  Partido Civico Democratico, was
arrested on 21 September 1993 and sentenced on  27 September to four  years'
imprisonment  for "dangerousness".   During the  trial, it  was alleged that
one weighty element that contributed to his being sentenced was that he  was
in the habit of getting drunk and causing  public scandals.  His neighbours,
however, denied that allegation;

  (h)   The San Miguel del Padron  home of Rafael Ibarra Roque, President of
the Partido  Democratico 30  de Noviembre,  was raided  on 12  June 1994  by
State Security police  agents, who also threatened his  family.  On 17  June
he  was arrested together  with his  brother-in-law Yadel  Lugo Gutierrez, a
member of  the same  group, and  taken to  the Villa Marista  State Security
Department.  Yadel Lugo  was subsequently  released.    In July  and August,
respectively, State Security  agents appeared at Rafael Ibarra Roque's  home
and confiscated goods that  legally belonged to the  family, such as a motor
car,  a gas stove, a television set and a number  of domestic animals on the
basis of a warrant for the confiscation of  allegedly ill-gotten goods.   In
February 1995  he was tried by  the Provincial Court of  the City of  Havana
for the alleged  crime of sabotage and  possession of weapons and  sentenced
to 20 years in  prison.  He is  serving his sentence in  Combinado del  Este
prison in Havana.   According to the information  received, his wife Maritza
Lugo  and  other  family  members  continue  to  be  harassed.   Yadel  Lugo
Gutierrez was  threatened on a  number of occasions  and dismissed  from his
work and study centre in February 1995;

  (i)   Jorge  Luis  Ortega  Palacio  was  arrested  on  26  June  1994  for
displaying a  bed sheet  on which  he had  printed the  words "Abajo  Fidel"
(Down with Fidel).  He was sentenced to one year and three  months in prison
for the  crime of  "public disorder".   At  the time  of the  arrest he  was
severely beaten.  In October of the same  year he was transferred from  Taco
Taco  prison  to Cinco  y  Medio  prison  in Pinar  del  Rio,  where  he  is
reportedly  in  a  precarious  state  of  health  and  receiving  no medical

  (j)   Vladimir Petit Ramirez  was arrested  on 5  August 1994 when  he was
found with  a video  camera in  an area  of Havana where  an anti-Government
demonstration was taking place.  He was sentenced to three months in  prison
for the crime of participation in public disturbances;

  (k)  Noel Reyes Martinez, aged  25, a member of the Partido Democratico 30
de  Noviembre, was arrested  on 3  June 1995  after shouting anti-government
slogans  in a  public place.   He was  transferred to the  Calzada de Luyano
police  station between  Lugo and  Acierto,  Reparto  Luyano, 10  de Octubre
municipality, Havana, and is alleged to have been  severely beaten.  At  the
time the  report was  received he  had been  conditionally released,  having
been  charged with  contempt, for  which  the  prosecutor sought  a two-year
prison sentence;

  (l)   Orson Vila Santoyo,  an evangelical pastor  (overseer of the Central
District of the Assembly  of God), was  arrested on 25 May 1995  in Camaguey
for  refusing to close  down the  "house of worship" which  he maintained at
his  domicile. 6/   Some  80 of  the approximately  100 existing  houses  of
worship were  said  to have been closed down in Camaguey Province in May and

June  1995. Charged  with "unlawful association" and  "disobedience", he was
tried by  summary procedure  the same  day and  received an  18-month prison
sentence.   He is  serving  the sentence  at  the  Ceramica Roja  prison  in
Camaguey.  Two other members of the evangelical church in Camaguey,  Balbino
Basulto and Benjamin de Quesada, were arrested also and were released a  few
hours later.

17.  The  Special Rapporteur  has also  received reports  on the  conditions
purportedly endured  by a  number of  persons serving  sentences for  crimes
with political connotations, especially in relation  to their health and the
lack  of  adequate  medical  care.   The  following  cases are  among  those
reported on:

  (a)  Gustavo Rodriguez Sosa, who  is serving a sentence for  the crimes of
rebellion and  enemy propaganda at  La Manga prison  in Granma.   He suffers
from a general rheumatic condition;

  (b)  Ruben Hoyos Ruiz, an inmate of Manacas prison since 1990, received  a
five-year  prison  sentence for  disseminating  enemy  propaganda.   He  was
recently  tried at  the  prison  for  contempt  and  was  sentenced  to  two
additional  years in  prison.   He  has  diabetes  and  is said  to  require
surgical treatment for his eyes;

  (c)   Tiburcio Felix  Ramirez, aged  60, is  serving an  eight-year prison
sentence for the crime  of enemy propaganda  in the provincial prison of  La
Manga  in Granma.  He has ophthalmic problems, which began in prison, and is
not receiving medical care;

  (d)  Cesar  Codina, aged 73, is serving  a five-year prison sentence in La
Manga,  Granma,  for  disseminating  enemy  propaganda.    He  suffers  from
diabetes  and  hypertension,  and  he  has  nervous  problems  that  make it
difficult for him to function on his own;

  (e)   Armando Espinosa, aged 74, is serving a sentence in La Manga for the
crime of rebellion.  He has lung cancer;

  (f)   Luis Rodriguez  Leon, aged  52, is serving a  seven-year sentence in
the Kilo 8 maximum  security prison in Pinar del Rio for the crimes of enemy
propaganda and unlawful  association.   According to  information which  the
Special Rapporteur  received in January  1995, he  has a duodenal  ulcer and
chronic gastritis;

  (g)   Omar del  Pozo Marrero.   A foreign doctor  who examined  him in May
1995 in  Quivican  prison in  Havana is  reported to  have diagnosed,  inter
alia, hypertension, malnutrition and serious gastrointestinal problems.   He
was transferred to the Carlos Finlay  military hospital in Havana,  where he
remained for five weeks  without receiving the necessary  medical care.   At
the end  of this  time he  was sent to  Guanajay prison  where, it has  been
reported,  he is being kept in solitary confinement and his health continues
to give rise to concern.

18.   The  Special Rapporteur  has  continued  to receive  information about
cases  of  harassment,  house  searches,  temporary   arrest  and  loss   of
employment  or  other kinds  of  reprisal  connected  with  the exercise  of
freedom of expression and association or  due to discrimination on political
grounds.  On the  other hand, "acts of repudiation" by individuals organized
by the authorities are reported to have decreased in number this year.   The
following are among the cases reported recently:

  (a)   Ramon  Varela Sanchez,  Carlos  Alberto  Guzman Gonzalez  and Miguel
Angel Oliva, members  of the Liga  Civica Martiana, were arrested  in Havana
in July 1995;

  (b)   Lorenzo  Perez Nunez,  Luis  Alberto  Lazo Borrego,  Javier  Marquez
Borrego and Maritza  Nunez, from  Artemisa municipality, together with  Juan
Francisco  Monzon Oviedo, from  El Mariel  municipality, all  members of the

Partido   Democrata  Martiano,   were  arrested   on  10  August   1995  and
subsequently  transferred to  the  Villa Marista  detention centre  by State
Security agents, who also searched their domiciles;

  (c)   Joaquin  Cabezas de  Leon,  Librado  Linares and  Cecilio Monteagudo
Sanchez, members  of the  Grupo Reflexion  in Camajuani,  Villa Clara,  were
summoned  to the State  Security Department  in January  1995 and threatened
with prosecution if they persisted in their activities within the group;

  (d)  Mercedes Parada Antunez was  detained temporarily and threatened with
further imprisonment  (she had  spent a year  in prison from  1993 to  1994)
during the last week of January; 7/

  (e)   Luis  Alberto  Muro Gutierrez,  a writer  and  a member  of  various
opposition groups, such as the Asociacion Pro Arte Libre (APAL), is  alleged
to  have been subjected  to various  forms of  harassment and discrimination
since  the  1980s, including  expulsion  from  literary  workshops, lack  of
access to  advanced studies in  the arts  and humanities, no  possibility of
obtaining employment or publishing  his writings, and so  forth.  On 3 April
1994, he  was taken from  the National Hotel in Havana, where  he was in the
company of two foreign friends, by four State  security agents who beat  him
and fractured his skull.  One year later he was still undergoing treatment;

  (f)    Felix  Mario  Fleitas  Posada,  a  member  of  the Asociacion  Pro-
Democracia Constitucional,  was summoned  on 11  December 1994  to  the L  y
Malecon  police  station   where  he  received   an  official   warning  for
"conducting  activities against the regime".  Members of his family are also
said to  have been  threatened with  reprisals in  order to deter  them from
maintaining contacts with human rights groups;

  (g)    Juan  Guarino   Martinez  Guillen,  President   of  the   so-called
Confederation of Democratic  Workers of Cuba, was  arrested on 13 July  1995
at his domicile in central Havana and was  subjected to an interrogation and
threats. On  the same day, Maria Elena Argote Gonzalez, a member of the same
Confederation, was  summoned by  State Security  agents,  who threatened  to
have her put on trial;

  (h)    Jose Antonio  Fornaris  Ramos, of  the  Frente de  Unidad  Nacional
Liberal  Progresista, was arrested in Havana on 16 June 1994 and kept for 19
days in  offices belonging  to  the  100 y  Aldabo Technical  Department  of
Investigations where  he was subjected to  questioning and threats  designed
to deter him from engaging in any type of political activity;

  (i)   During the final months  of 1994 security organizations summoned and
threatened the  following members  of the  Movimiento Cristiano  Liberacion,
the majority  of them in Havana:   Segundo Lima,  Miguel Salude, Encarnacion
Echenique  (Guines  municipality, Havana),  Antonio  Llaca,  Elio Rodriguez,
Pedro  Ferreiro, Omar  Victores, Ramon  Antunez, Antonio  Hernandez,  Rafael
Leon  (east Havana),  Pastor  Rodriguez (San  Miguel  municipality),  Andres
Rodriguez (Holguin),  Regis Iglesias, Marve Mora  (Santiago de Cuba),  Pedro
Valdes  (Aguada   de  Pasajeros,  Cienfuegos),   Antonio  Sanchez,   Armando
Barreras,  Efren  Martinez  (San   Luis,  Pinar  del  Rio),  Ernesto  Mayea,
Alejandro Paya, Oswaldo Paya;

  (j)    A  considerable number  of members  of  political and  human rights
groups were arrested in  early July, in  connection with the anniversary  of
the sinking of the tugboat 13 de Marzo. 8/  It  was further reported that an
extensive police  operation  had been  mounted in  Havana  at  that time  to
prevent  the organization  of  any commemorative  activities  by  opposition
groups.  A  mass that had been scheduled  at the Church  of the Sacred Heart
of Jesus was cancelled by the authorities and the church was closed;

  (k)   Jose  M. Gil,  Alfredo  Santana,  Roberto Gonzalez,  Eduardo  Garcia
Nieto, Rafael Vigoa  and Miguel Padilla,  members of the  teaching staff  at
the Jose Antonio  Echeverria Polytechnic  Institute for Advanced Studies  in
Havana, were penalized after sending a letter to  the Rector on 28 September

1994 expressing their disagreement  with the way in which the Government had
treated persons  who had  demonstrated on  5  August 1994  and advocating  a
shift to democracy in Cuba. Although they were  not officially expelled, the
penalty  consisted  in  not  allowing  them  to  teach  at  any  educational
establishment in the country;

  (l)  Jesus Marante  Pozos, a resident  of Piloto, Pinar del Rio  province,
was expelled  from the Abel Santamaria  teaching hospital  after refusing to
continue his membership  in the Union  of Communist  Youth.   His wife,  Dr.
Yanelis Garcia Gonzalez, was expelled from the Primero de Enero Polyclinic;

  (m)  Rubiseida Rojas  Gonzalez, a Spanish teacher  in the trade  school in
San Antonio de los  Banos municipality, was dismissed  from her post and, as
a result,  expelled from the education  sector in Cuba  on 3 November  1994.
In March 1994, she had  been removed from the post  of Director in  the same
school for having in  her possession copies of  the Miami newspaper El Nuevo
Herald and other foreign publications.  The basis for the final decision  to
expel her  was that she  had committed  acts contrary to  socialist morality
and the principles of  Cuban society by failing  to belong to the committees
for the defence of the revolution,  participate in political activities  and
pay one day's salary to the territorial troop militia;

    (n)  Enrique Jose de  la Cotera Doce, a member of the teaching staff  at
the Jose Antonio Echeverria Technical Institute  for Advanced Studies in San
Jose  de Las  Lajas,  was  dismissed from  his  post  on  30 June  1995  for
expressing  unwillingness to continue such  non-teaching parallel activities
as  voluntary  work  and  political  and  union  activities  ordered  by the
administration and to make  the obligatory payments of dues to the union and
the territorial troop militia.

19.    The  Special  Rapporteur  remains  concerned   about  the  continuing
dismissals of teaching staff which are  taking place despite the  criticisms
of this  practice which were  expressed by the  Committee of  Experts on the
Application of Conventions  and Recommendations of the International  Labour
Organization   in  the   framework   of  Convention   No.   111   concerning
discrimination  in respect of  employment and  occupation. 9/   In  its most
recent report to the International Labour Conference, the Committee states:

"The Committee recalls that the Latin American Central Organization of
Workers  (CLAT)  alleged  in  1992  that  14  university  teachers  had been
dismissed for having expressed their political opinions, in accordance  with
their constitutional rights,  in an eight-point "declaration of  principles"
which they  signed and sent  to their immediate  superiors.  The  Government
replied that  inquiries into the matter showed that the teachers in question
no  longer  had the  essential  qualities  required  for  teaching and  that
Legislative Decree  No. 34  of 1980,  which provides  that the  dismissal of
teachers in  higher  education  may  be  decided  upon  by  the  rectors  of
universities and  is subject to appeal, was applied.    Nine of the teachers
dismissed  had  appealed to  the  Minister  of  Higher  Education but  their
appeals were dismissed.

"The Committee again urges the Government to explain what it means
by  'essential qualities  required for  teaching'.    While noting  that the
Government again  states that the teachers  concerned were  offered jobs but
refused them,  the Committee asks  the Government to indicate  what means of
redress, other than the above-mentioned procedure  of appeal to the Minister
of  Education, are  available to  these  workers  as protection  against any
discriminatory practices  based on  any of  the grounds  in the  Convention,
particularly political opinion.


  "With  regard  to Resolution  No. 2  of  20  December 1989  respecting the
reinstatement  of  the educational  workers to  whom Legislative  Decree No.
34/80 applied  ..., the Committee  observed that these  workers may only  be
reinstated  after completing  five years'  disciplinary work,  during  which

they are  excluded from  the education  sector.   The Committee notes  that,
according to the Government, this period may be reduced to a  period of less
than five years with a view to reinstatement.

"The Committee is bound to recall that this legislation is drafted in
very  broad  terms  and  could  therefore   give  rise  to  practices  which
discriminate  against any worker  coming into  contact with  young people in
the education  process, enforceable  by penalties  which  exclude them  from
their employment for a long period.  It  considers that these provisions are
not consistent  with the principles  of the Convention  and points out  that
they  would  only  be  in line  with  the  Convention  if  they  dealt  with
qualification   requirements    for   certain    jobs   involving    special
responsibilities  ...    The  Committee  asks  the  Government  to  take the
necessary steps  to have these legislative  provisions repealed  in the near
future, as required by article 3 (c) of the Convention". 10/

20.   Another disturbing  consideration is  that former  prison inmates  are
marginalized on political grounds.  They receive the label  "untrustworthy",
which effectively bars them from engaging  in professional or technical work
and   blocks  their   access  to   administrative  posts   or  positions  of
responsibility  or  employment  in  a   foreign  firm,  even   though  their
qualifications and skills may  make them ideal  candidates for the job.   In
the  best  of  cases,  they  are  relegated  to  posts  of  inferior  worth.
Moreover,  the  Special  Rapporteur  received  reports  on  the  politically
motivated  discrimination to which  workers are  subjected when hiring takes
place  in the  most prosperous  sectors  of  the economy,  including sectors
which have received foreign investment.

  B.  Freedom of the press

21.  The Special Rapporteur continued to receive  information about cases of
journalists  who suffered  reprisals ranging from dismissal  from their jobs
to prosecution for having expressed opinions  critical of the current system
in  the exercise  of their profession.   That was the case,  for example, of
Alexis  Castaneda Perez de  Alejo, who  worked for,  among other newspapers,
Vanguardia  and Huella,  and on  15 May  1994 was  sentenced to  five  years
imprisonment  for   having  made   statements  which   were  termed   "enemy

22.  Journalists who have  been dismissed from their jobs,  in many cases on
political  grounds, have formed  various unauthorized news agencies in order
to send information  to foreign communications  media.  Frequently, however,
they  are  subjected  to  house  searches  at  which  their  equipment  (fax
machines, cameras, tape recorders, etc.) is  confiscated and other types  of
measures of intimidation are taken, as in the following cases:

  (a)   Nestor  Baguer, President  of  the  Agencia de  prensa independiente
(APIC), was attacked on 2 March  1995 in Havana by an  unknown assailant and
suffered a broken  wrist and several  bruises.   On 11  July State  Security
agents  searched his  home  and  seized a  fax machine  which had  been made
available to  him  by  Reporters  sans Frontieres;  they  also cut  off  his
telephone service.  A few days later Mr. Baguer lodged a complaint with  the
Plaza municipal court for  the return of the confiscated item, but the court
secretary refused  to accept  the complaint on  the grounds that  it had  no
legal foundation;

  (b)  Roxana Valdivia, a  correspondent of Reporters sans  Frontieres and a
member of  APIC in Camaguey,  was arrested on  22 May  1995 and interrogated
for 10 hours.  Subsequently she has continued to  receive telephone threats.
Orestes  Fandevila, Luis  Lopez Prendes  and  Lazaro  Lazo, also  members of
APIC, were arrested and interrogated for several hours on 8 July 1995;

  (c)   Rafael Solano,  who was  dismissed from the Radio  Rebelde and Radio
Taino radio stations in 1994 and is currently a member of  the agency Habana
Press, was arrested on  12 July 1995  in San Miguel del Padron.   During the
15 hours for which  he was held.  he was accused of distributing  propaganda
and  threatened  with prosecution  if he  continued to  send reports  to the
United  States radio  station Radio  Marti and  to the newspapers  The Miami
Herald and El Diario de las Americas;

  (d)   Jose Rivero Garcia,  a member of  the Havana  Circle of Journalists,
was subjected  to a house search  on 13 July 1995  by State Security  agents
who confiscated a video camera, a fax machine and a typewriter.

C.  The administration of justice

23.    The Special  Rapporteur received information from jurists within Cuba
conveying  their  concerns  about  deficiencies  in  the  administration  of
justice, and  specifically about the lack  of independence  of the judiciary
from  the  political authorities  which is  particularly clear  when persons
prosecuted  for crimes with  political connotations  are sentenced.   It was
also reported  that there  is the  same lack  of independence  in the  legal
profession.  Decree Law No. 81 of  8 June 1984 and its regulations establish
membership in the National Organization of  Collective Law Offices (ONBC) as
a  requirement  for exercising  this  profession;  in  order  to enter  this
organization it is necessary to have "moral qualities  which accord with the
principles of our  society" (art. 16 (a) of  the decree), which in  practice
has  blocked entry  to those  who do  not  share  the official  ideology and
policy.   Although  article  5  of the  decree  proclaims  that ONBC  is  an
"autonomous  entity",  the Ministry  of  Justice  carries  out  inspections,
supervision  and monitoring  of its  activities  and  those of  its members,
issues  regulatory  and  other  provisions  and  performs  other  additional
functions  (special first  provision of  the decree  and article  42 of  the

24.   In  theory, ONBC  is  democratically  governed by  a general  assembly
elected by the member lawyers.  However, the  public (non-secret) system for
the  election  of officers  (art.  13  of the  regulations)  means  that  in
practice, according to the information received,  the electors vote for  the
directors,  members  of the  Communist  party  or  its  youth branch  (which
together  account  for  over  85  per  cent  of  the delegates),  and  other
candidates who are acceptable to the  administration.  Opinions which differ
from the view of the administration are silenced through intimidation.

25.   Where the  right of association  is concerned, the  National Union  of
Cuban  Jurists (UNJC)  has  a  monopoly over  Cuba's  lawyers'  association.
According  to the  information received, the leaders  and representatives of
State  bodies play a predominant role in its  activity and management, while
simultaneously serving in the Communist Party.  A  group of lawyers has been
pursuing  measures since 1990 to set up an independent association under the
name of "Union  Agramontista de Cuba".  In  February 1991 they submitted  an
application  for legalization  to the  Ministry of  Justice but  have so far
received no reply. 

26.   It was  also  reported that  members  of  the Union  Agramontista  are
frequently  the  victims of  measures  such  as  various  types of  pressure
ranging from "friendly advice" to administrative prohibition on  undertaking
the  defence  of  human  rights  activists  and  members  of  the  political
opposition.   There is overt  hostility on  the part of ONBC  leaders to the
signing of petitions  containing dissenting opinions concerning national  or
professional problems,  which has resulted in the signatories being summoned
to  meetings  where   pressure  has  been  brought  to  bear  on  them  and,
ultimately, in  their  possibly being  sanctioned  to  the extent  of  being
forbidden to practise  as lawyers.   Measures  are also  adopted to  prevent
fellow lawyers  from  meeting  in private  homes;  on  22  April  1995,  for
example,  three unknown  persons burst  into the  home of  the lawyer  Jorge
Bacallao, who  was in a  meeting with several  other jurists.   Summonses to

the  police  authorities  and  the  public  prosecutor's  office,  arbitrary
arrests and  even imprisonment  are not unknown,  as in the  case of  Freddy
Reyes  Lafitta, who was  sentenced to  four years'  imprisonment after being
charged with  the offence  of enemy propaganda  in 1993  for painting  signs
opposing the political regime. 

27.   Early in  1995 the  lawyers Leonel  Morejon Almagro,  of the  Marianao
collective  law office,  and Rene  Gomez  Manzano,  of the  Havana Cassation
Office,  were expelled  from their  respective  offices.   In  addition, the
lawyers  Castor  de  Moya  Viera,  Juan  Escandel  Ramirez  and  Jose  Angel
Izquierdo Gonzalez have been subjected to  surveillance and harassment.  All
of  them  have   adopted  positions   criticizing  the   operation  of   the
administration  of justice  in Cuba  and  have  defended persons  accused of
offences  with political  connotations.   In  the  case of  Sergio Hernandez
Ramos, one of the  defence lawyers in the  trial of Francisco  Chaviano, 11/
it was reported  that on 15 April 1995, when  he left after the hearing,  he
was followed by a State Security vehicle and attacked by unknown persons  on
reaching Calzada de Santa Fe. 

D.  Police abuses resulting in fatalities

28.  The complaints  received by the  Special Rapporteur also include  cases
of persons who have  died or have  been injured as a result of  an excessive
use of force by  Government agents.  The most  serious case in  recent years
is certainly the sinking  of the tugboat 13  de Marzo in the  waters of  the
Straits of Florida on  13 July 1994, referred  to by the  Special Rapporteur
in   his  previous  report.  Although  the  Government  maintains  that  the
authorities bore no responsibility for  what was considered to  have been an
accident,  the  Special  Rapporteur  received  testimony  from  some  of the
survivors indicating that Government launches from  the port of Havana tried
to stop the  13 de Marzo with pressurized  water jets and then  deliberately
rammed  it,  causing  it  to  sink. Non-governmental  sources  informed  the
Special Rapporteur  that the number  of persons who died was  not 32, as the
Government had  stated, but at  least 37  and that  the families have  for a
year now been asking for an investigation to be initiated.  Up to  September
1995,  however, the  case had  not progressed  further than  a very  limited
police  investigation  which  has  been  filed  in the  Havana  prosecutor's
office.  In response to requests by family  members and lawyers, this office
replied in mid-July 1995  that it had no plans to initiate legal proceedings
for the sinking of the vessel.

29.    The  Special  Rapporteur  also  received  a  report of  the  case  of
Estanislao Gonzalez  Quintana  who was  detained  on  8 September  1995  and
subsequently died in the  Consolacion del Sur police station, Pinar del Rio,
where he  had been taken  on charges of  illegal economic  activity.   On 12
September a  relative was  informed that the  detainee had died  of a  heart
attack but,  the report went,  when the corpse  was inspected  in the morgue
bruises could be seen as well as a deep gash in the forehead.

30.   The Special  Rapporteur  has  also received  information on  cases  of
persons allegedly shot dead by police when  surprised stealing food on farms
and in the fields.  This appears to  have been the case of  Wilfredo Almiral
de Armas,  who  died  on  12 November  1994  on  the  Marilin  farm  in  the
municipality of  Consolacion del  Sur, Pinar del  Rio, which he  had entered
intending to steal chickens.  Reinerio Velasquez Avila  was shot dead on  14
May 1994 by a guard when he was surprised with  other individuals on a State
banana plantation called "La Guanabana", located  on Via San Andres highway,
near the town of Holguin.

31.  The  Special Rapporteur has been  unable to obtain reliable information
as to  whether or not cases of  this type are duly investigated as a general
rule  and  the  perpetrators  punished.    However,  he  welcomes  the reply
transmitted  by the  Government of  Cuba to  the Special  Rapporteur  of the
Commission on Human  Rights on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Execution
with reference  to one  of these  cases, that of  Orelvis Martinez  Limonta.

According  to this reply,  on 7  July 1992  a civilian guard  of an economic
unit surprised this  person stealing sugar  from a  railway wagon parked  in
the  Santa Clara station  marshalling yard,  and, in  an attempt  to capture
him, shot and killed him.  The guard  was sentenced by the provincial  court
of Villa Clara to eighteen years' imprisonment. 12/

E.  The right to leave and return to the country

32.  Cuban law  still does not recognize the right of all citizens freely to
leave the country and to return  to it.  In both  cases a permit is required
which the  administrative authorities may  refuse on discretionary  grounds,
without justification under the law and  frequently on political grounds, as
in the following cases:

  (a)   Oswald  and Alejandro  Paya  Sardinas  of the  Movimiento  Cristiano
Liberacion.  The  Immigration Department has  informed them  repeatedly, and
most recently  during 1995,  that  they  are forbidden  to leave  Cuba  even
temporarily, and that this provision holds indefinitely;

  (b)  Elizardo Sanchez  Santa Cruz, of the  Commission on Human  Rights and
National Reconciliation,  was refused a permit to visit Canada in the spring
of 1995;

  (c)   Mercedes Pupo  Robert and  Ariel Garcia  Pupo were  refused an  exit
permit although they held visas to enter Canada, where Ariel Garcia  Rivero,
the husband  of the former and the  father of the latter, lives; he works in
the merchant navy and was granted asylum in Canada in 1993;

  (d)  Hilda Molina Morejon,  who resigned from her post as a member of  the
board  of   the  Centro  Internacional   de  Restauracion  Neurologica   for
ideological reasons  in 1994, and her  mother, Hilda  Morejon Serantes, were
refused a  permit to  leave the  country temporarily to  visit relatives  in

  (e)   Leonor Diaz Ramirez  was refused a  permit to leave  the country  to
visit her son,  who lives in the United States,  on the grounds that he  was
engaged in propaganda against the Government of Cuba.

33.  The maximum time allowed  for temporary stays abroad is  11 months, and
confiscatory  measures  are  taken  in  cases  of  definitive  exit.   Cuban
citizens living  abroad must obtain  a permit each  time they  wish to enter
the country; these permits entail the payment of  fees that are very high by
Cuban standards.  Moreover, the permits are  usually granted  for very short
stays (two  weeks or a  month), and are  required regardless  of the country
where the Cuban citizen has taken up residence.

34.   Anyone attempting  to leave Cuban  territory illegally  is subject  to
severe penalties, such as the following:

  (a)   Santiago  Francisco  Alvarez,  who  was a  technician  in charge  of
recording, editing and sound transmission for  the Radio Guama radio station
in Pinar del Rio, was dismissed from his  job during the second half of 1994
after having  been  declared "untrustworthy".    He  was accused  of  having
purchased a boat  in the  port of La Coloma,  with the intention of  leaving
the country;

  (b)   Mario Julio  Viera Gonzalez,  of the Frente de  Unidad Nacional, who
had lost his job  as an  agronomist in 1988, was  arrested on 30 June  1994,
one  day after  having been  issued an  official  summons  to appear  for an
interview  at the State  Security office  at 20th Street and  3rd Avenue, in
the Miramar district of  Havana.  Three days later, his family was  informed
that  he had been transferred to  the province of  Ciego de Avila to serve a
two-year  sentence  imposed in  1990 for  "illegally  leaving the  country".
According  to Mr. Viera, at the  trial held that year, it was not determined
that the attempt to  leave the country had  actually taken place,  since, in

fact, it had not;

  (c)    Carlos  Alberto  Ocana  Romero  lost  his   job  as  a  maintenance
electrician  at  the General  Hospital  in  Santiago  de  Cuba after  having
publicly  expressed opinions  against the  political  system.   On  13 March
1994, he was  arrested by State  Security authorities when he  was beginning
to prepare  to leave the country illegally.  He was  charged with piracy and
other acts against  State security, and, at a  trial held in February  1995,
was sentenced to a year in prison.

35.    The   Special  Rapporteur's  previous   reports  have  mentioned  the
phenomenon of illegal exit by sea of citizens  who used precarious means  of
transport  in their  desire to reach the  United States coast.   Thus, it is
estimated that some 2,500 persons arrived in the United States in 1992,  and
some 3,000 in 1993,  while approximately 30,000 people left Cuba during  the
crisis  of August 1994.  13/   The immigration agreements signed  in 1995 by
Cuba and the  United States are intended to  put a stop  to this phenomenon.
To this  end, the  United  States  has undertaken,  among other  things,  to
return to  Cuba  all  Cubans  who may  be  intercepted  at sea,  instead  of
facilitating  their entry into the  United States, as had  been the practice
up to  1994.  The Cuban Government,  for its part, has undertaken to refrain
from taking  reprisals against such  persons or  against persons  requesting
exit  visas at the  United States  Interests Section in  Havana. The Special
Rapporteur  sincerely hopes this  commitment will  be honoured;  at the same
time,   he  is  concerned   at  the   apparent  contradiction  between  this
undertaking  and the  fact that  illegally leaving  the country  is still  a
crime  under  Cuban legislation.   He  also  wishes to  express his  concern
regarding  reports received  from  non-governmental sources  to  the  effect
that,  although  persons  who  are  repatriated  after  having  been  denied
residence  permits in other  countries are  usually not  prosecuted, they do
suffer other types of discrimination in  daily life, particularly as regards
access to jobs.

36.  In addition, the Special  Rapporteur has received from non-governmental
groups a  partial list of persons  who allegedly disappeared  in the Straits
of Florida while  trying to leave  Cuba illegally.   The  list contains  103
names, most of them corresponding  to the years 1991 and 1992.  He has  also
received  a list  of names of  77 members of  the Movimiento Integracionista
Democratico Autentico who  were allegedly  ordered, under  threat, to  leave
the  country on the occasion of the  events of August 1994. 14/   Members of
other groups have also apparently been subjected to this type of pressure.



37.   Non-governmental  sources have  informed the  Special  Rapporteur that
they have  recorded the  existence of  294 prisons  and correctional  labour
camps  throughout  the country;  it  is  estimated  that  there are  between
100,000 and  200,000 prisoners in all  categories; this  figure represents a
very  high proportion of the country's  population.  It  is also a matter of
concern,  bearing in  mind the  fact that  the Special  Rapporteur is  still
receiving reports on the precarious living  conditions in the prisons,  such
as those described below.

38.  In early 1995,  there was an epidemic of leptospirosis at the Combinado
del Este prison which resulted in the deaths of several  inmates.  More than
100 prisoners had to be hospitalized.

39.   The Special Rapporteur has received  a list of 26 inmates of a section
of the  Kilo 7  prison,  in the  province  of  Camaguey, who  allegedly  had
tuberculosis.  Moreover,  in   February  1995,  an  outbreak  of   diarrhoea
apparently affected the great majority of the 1,300 inmates of that  prison.
An outbreak of tuberculosis at the Combinado del  Sur prison in Matanzas has

also  been reported; there  were six  deaths at this prison  during the past
year.  Cases of scabies also appear to be widespread.

40.   A report on the situation in the provincial prison of La Manga, in the
province of Granma, includes the following  description of the situation  of
persons  detained   on  charges  of   committing  offences  with   political
"We are  placed with very dangerous  criminals, people  who have personality
and  even  psychiatric disorders.    In  many  cases,  State Security  takes
advantage of the situation  of these people and  of their base moral values,
and uses them  to offend our dignity.   State Security uses  many of them as
informers, promising them rewards for providing  information on what we talk
about, and  authorizes them to beat us  up if they hear us saying bad things
about the President of the Republic.  Moreover,  the prison authorities have
created a  system whereby  certain inmates  are entrusted with  disciplining
the  rest,  in return  for certain  privileges.   These inmates  are violent
people who have  no scruples  and are extremely  dangerous, and they  impose
excessively strict measures.  At  the slightest breach of  discipline on the
part of a prisoner, they  offend him with insulting words  and even beat him
up brutally  ...  We are subjected to severe  interrogation sessions because
of false information supplied by ordinary prisoners, and our lives are  also
threatened  ...    Those  of  us who  are  Christians  are  threatened  with
prosecution as  common criminals  on charges  of what  the authorities  call
'proselytizing'; moreover,  we are  not allowed  to hold religious  services
because  they say we  use them for  political purposes  ...   Food is poorly
prepared; the  fish is  often spoiled,  and this  creates serious  digestive

Similar situations are also frequently mentioned  in reports received by the
Special Rapporteur on other prisons.

 41.   There are also reports  of cases where  prisoners have been  severely
beaten by  members of the staff.  The Special Rapporteur  received a list of
names of  25 inmates of the Combinado Sur prison in Matanzas who are said to
have been severely beaten during 1995.

42.   On  the  other  hand, the  Special  Rapporteur wishes  to express  his
satisfaction  at  the information  supplied  by  a  former  prisoner of  the
Alambrada de  Manacas  prison  to the  effect that  this  centre was  closed
during 1995.  It appears that  this was possible because of the action taken
by  the  office of  the  provincial  prosecutor  as a  result  of  the  many
complaints received regarding material conditions at  the prison and the way
the prisoners were treated.


43.  One of the aims  of the building of socialism in Cuba is to achieve  an
egalitarian  society; for this purpose, mechanisms such  as rationing, price
subsidies and restrictions  on wage  levels have been  established.  At  the
same time, the Government's efforts in the field  of human rights have  been
reflected in high levels of employment and  the expansion of social security
and educational coverage.  However, as stated in the previous report of  the
Special Rapporteur, 15/ the economic tools chosen to promote high levels  of
protection for the  whole population in these areas do not seem to have been
highly effective.   In  fact, the  economy has  shown  a poor  rate of  real
growth for  several years, leading to  the serious economic  crisis that has
prevailed  in Cuba since  the early  1990s and the consequent  impact on the
enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights.

44.    The  scale  of  the  crisis  has  significantly  worsened  levels  of
employment. Almost  80 per  cent  of  the industrial  sector either  is  not
functioning or is doing so at a very  low level, and some 40 per cent of the
workforce is unemployed or  underemployed.  To make  up for lost income, the
State continues to provide  the unemployed with 60 per cent of their  wages.
Still, given the low level of  wages, that amount is not sufficient to cover

the basic needs  of the  average worker; as  a result,  he or  she is  often
forced to  undertake  illegal  activities.   Government measures  in  recent
years  have  been  intended  mainly  to  promote  the  operation  of  market
mechanisms  in  the  economy  and  include  major   incentives  for  foreign
investment.    Experts believe  that these  measures do  not seem  likely to
diminish, but  rather  to increase  the  level  of unemployment;  that  will
certainly further exacerbate social inequalities.

45.  The  distribution of basic  foods through rationing  has been  severely
curtailed;  the system  now  covers  only about  the first  10 days  of each
month. The existence of  the free market in farm produce is alleviating  the
economic  crisis somewhat,  but the  free-market  prices are  extremely high
compared  to the  national average wage of  about 180 pesos per  month.  For
example, the official  price of rice  is 24  centavos a pound, but  is free-
market price is 9 pesos a pound. 

46.    The  wage  structure  is determined  by  profession,  rather than  by
industrial  sector or  through  collective  bargaining, and  it  is  applied
strictly, regardless of  the worker's experience, qualifications or  output.
The wage scale was established when the economy was  still highly subsidized
for  the purpose  of achieving  a more  egalitarian society.   However,  the
present levels  of  inflation have  made  this  system obsolete,  causing  a
substantial  reduction in the  average standard  of living  and forcing many
citizens  to indulge  in illegal  activities, to  find  a  second job  or to
emigrate.   Another aspect  of the  wage structure is the  fact that workers
are paid  in the national currency,  despite the  continued dollarization of
the economy.  Indeed,  many basic consumer goods  and services are  paid for
in  dollars, and  workers  who  do not  receive their  wages in  dollars are
deprived of access to them (the rate of exchange is  40 pesos to the dollar,
and the average wage is equivalent to  approximately $4.50).  The Government
obtains  profits in  hard currency  from  firms  which operate  with foreign
currency,  while  continuing   to  pay  minimum  wages  in   non-convertible

47.   It  is against  this background  of profound  crisis and  of  economic
employment reforms,  which are  for the  most part  detrimental to  workers'
rights, that  the latter  increasingly feel  the need  to set  up their  own
trade  unions, breaking the monopoly exercised in this sphere by the Central
Organization  of Workers of Cuba (CTC).   As has happened with all the other
independent organizations referred to by the Special  Rapporteur in previous
chapters,  those unions  have not  succeeded in  obtaining legalization  and
their activities are still being repressed. 16/

48.   Further, to  an earlier  comment of the  Committee of  Experts on  the
Application of Conventions  and Recommendations of the International  Labour
Organization  concerning the  application of  Convention No. 87  (Freedom of
Association and Protection  of the Right  to Organize Convention) concerning
relations between  CTC and  the Communist  Party, and  the latter's  alleged
interference in the election of trade union leaders, the Committee stated:

  "The  Committee takes due note of the comments made  by a worker member of
Cuba to the  Conference Committee to the  effect that the  relations between
the  Central Organization of Workers  of Cuba (CTC) and  the Communist Party
did not  compromise the continuity  of the trade  union movement, since  the
members of  the CTC approved its  statutes, rules and guidelines and elected
its leaders  in an open and  democratic manner, and  no candidates had  been
proposed by the Communist Party.  The Worker  member also indicated that the
relationship between  the CTC and  the Communist Party  was approved  by the
workers democratically and that  they were the only ones who were  competent
to decide whether or not to change it.

  "Nevertheless, the Committee emphasizes that  a system in which there is a
single party and  a single  central trade  union organization  is likely  to
lead  in  practice  to  external interference  prejudicial  to  trade  union

  "The  Committee  requests  the  Government  to  guarantee  in  law  and in
practice  the  right  of  all  workers  and employers,  without  distinction
whatsoever, to  establish independent organizations  of their own  choosing,
outside any  existing trade  union structure  if they  so desire (art.  2 of
Convention  No. 87),  and the right  to elect their  representatives in full
freedom (art. 3 of the Convention)".

 49.    The economic  crisis has  also  seriously  affected the  health care
system,  a  sector which  has  also  been  very  directly and  significantly
damaged by the United States embargo.

50.   The Special  Rapporteur has  received numerous  reports concerning the
enormous shortfalls in the provision of  basic medicines and describing  the
dilapidated state  of many of the  country's hospitals.   Most of the  time,
provincial  hospitals   are  even  short  of  such  essential  medicines  as
painkillers, antibiotics,  anaesthetics and equipment  for sutures.   Either
because of a shortage of electricity or because of the lack of  antiseptics,
it  is  difficult  or impossible  to  sterilize  clothing  and  instruments,
including  those  used  in  operating  theatres,  and  air-conditioners  are
switched off  or used at very low  settings.  It has also been reported that
products  manufactured  in  medical  equipment  facilities  are  essentially
intended for export or for those  hospitals which provide medical  treatment
to  foreigners;  the latter  are  certainly  provided  with  all they  need.
Meanwhile,  in the country's  other hospitals,  patients must  wait for long
periods before obtaining a prosthesis.


51.  Throughout 1995,  the Government of Cuba  took certain measures  in the
field of  human  rights with  which  the  Special Rapporteur  expresses  his
satisfaction. The  first  measure was  the  decision  to ratify  the  United
Nations Convention  against Torture.  The  second was the decision to permit
a visit to Cuba by some  non-governmental human rights organizations,  after
the  Government had listened  attentively to  their requests  and claims and
acceded  to them partially by agreeing to release,  without the condition of
leaving  the country,  some persons  imprisoned for offences  with political
connotations.   These measures  were preceded by the  decision to invite the
United Nations  High Commissioner  for Human  Rights to  visit the  country,
which  he did  in November  1994.    The decision  to hold  in 1995  another
conference in  Cuba on  "the nation and  emigration" is also  positive as  a
continuation  of the  experience of  the  previous  year, thus  creating the
possibility for a  dialogue between Cubans living  in the country and  those
residing abroad, albeit one still limited to very specific questions.

52.   The economic situation in Cuba also differs from  that of recent years
in that there is  a new readiness to  evaluate critically previous  policies
and  solutions that  had proved  to be  unfeasible  in  today's world.   The
previous  resistance that characterized Cuban economic policy  seems to have
given way  to a new, more  pragmatic phase.   The profound restructuring  of
the system  nevertheless  is exacting  a considerable  political and  social
price,  particularly with  regard  to  the inevitable  unemployment and  the
appearance of  new social  actors.  Cuba  is not immune  to the  ideological
effect  of  institutions  such  as  self-employment,  the  agricultural  and
livestock  market  and, on  another  scale,  foreign enterprises,  with  the
concomitant  national  and foreign  businessmen  connected  with  the  mixed
import and export economy.  The emerging social  sector linked to the  black
market is also another factor with a strong social impact.

53.   In spite of  the steps being  taken in  the United States  Congress to
reinforce the embargo,  United States policy towards Cuba, which is a pallid
remnant of the cold war, is another area where resistance to change, in  our
view, would seem to be waning.   The policy based on the trade and financial
embargo  against  Cuba has  increasingly lost  support at  the international
level as well as in broad and significant sectors of the United States.

54.   It is essential for the Cuban economy to  be transformed in an orderly
and peaceful manner, without  social upheaval.  This is clearly also in  the
interest of  the international community.   The internal  decisions taken by
the Government of Cuba  are decisive.  Nevertheless, without a positive  and
favourable  international  climate,   such  measures  would  be  much   more
difficult to adopt and implement.

55.    The  current  dialogue  between  the  European  Union  and  the Cuban
Government aimed at achieving an agreement  on cooperation, like that  which
already  exists with other  countries in  the region,  should yield positive
results in both the economic area and the  field of human rights.   In order
to  ensure that  the  process  of change,  which seems  inexorable  in Cuban
society,  takes place in a peaceful and effective manner, there is a need to
have channels for  responsible and constructive information and action,  but
which are  also  truly independent  and legitimately  representative in  the
eyes of the Cuban people.

56.   In the  field of  human rights, serious  violations of  the civil  and
political rights  of Cuban  citizens continue  to occur.   It  could not  be
otherwise since political  pluralism and  freedom of association have  still
not been officially recognized and,  therefore, the freedoms  of expression,
information,  movement   and  assembly  and   the  freedom  to   demonstrate
peacefully  continue to  be infringed.  Those who  defy these  prohibitions,
which  are   contrary  to   human  rights,   are  subject  to   persecution,
discrimination  and even imprisonment.   Under  the Cuban  Penal Code, enemy
propaganda, unlawful association, "dangerousness" to  society, illegal entry
into or departure from  the country and so  forth continue to  be wrongfully
defined as offences.

57.   Repression in individual cases  of opposition  figures and independent
human  rights activists  thus continues  unchanged, although,  according  to
information received, there  has been a decrease in  the number of "acts  of
repudiation"  on   the  part  of  the  rapid  response  brigades.    If  any
improvement can  be discerned in  this context, it is in  the new climate of
discussion which  has come  about unthinkable  only several  years ago  - in
intellectual sectors, which have called into  question vital aspects of  the
system that exists in Cuba.

58.  The  continuation of  human rights violations  during 1995 obliges  the
Special Rapporteur  to reiterate to the  Government of  Cuba essentially the
same recommendations as those of the previous  year.  They involve  measures
which would substantially improve the human  rights situation and which,  in
many cases, require purely administrative decisions:

  (a)  Cease persecuting  and punishing citizens for reasons relating to the
exercise of the freedom of peaceful expression and association;

  (b)   Take immediate  steps to  release unconditionally  all those persons
serving  sentences for  offences against  State security  and  other related
offences and for trying to leave the country unlawfully;

   (c)  Permit legalization  of independent groups, especially those seeking
to  carry out  activities in  the  political,  trade union,  professional or
human rights field, and allow them to act within the law,  but without undue
interference on the part of the authorities;

  (d)  Ratify the  principal human rights instruments  to which Cuba  is not
yet  a  party,  in  particular,  the  International  Covenant  on  Civil and
Political   Rights  and   its  two   Optional   Protocols  (the   first   on
communications  from  individuals  and the  second intended  to  abolish the
death penalty)  and  the  International  Covenant on  Economic,  Social  and
Cultural Rights;

  (e)  Delete from  penal legislation types  of offences by virtue of  which
citizens may be  tried for exercising their  right to freedom of  expression
and  association,  such  as  enemy  propaganda,  unlawful  association   and

possession of illegal printed matter and  restrict the application of  other
offences  which, while not  specifically so  designed, may,  in practice, be
used in such a way as to have the same effect,  as, for example, the offence
of rebellion;

  (f)   Review in  depth the  legal provisions  relating to  the concept  of
"dangerousness"  and  the  relevant   security  measures  with   a  view  to
eliminating all those aspects liable to infringe  the rights and freedoms of

  (g)  Repeal all those legal  provision which imply discrimination  between
citizens  on  political  grounds,  in   particular  in  the  employment  and
education sectors, and redress as far  as possible abuses committed  in this
area in the past, for example, by reinstating in their former posts  persons
who have been dismissed;

  (h)  Repeal  the legal provisions which bar Cuban citizens from exercising
their  right to enter and  leave the country  freely without requiring prior
administrative authorization.  This also implies putting  an end to de facto
discrimination  against  persons  who,  having unsuccessfully  attempted  to
settle abroad,  have been  repatriated.   Persons of  Cuban origin  residing
abroad, in  particular  those who  are Cuban  nationals, should  be able  to
enjoy  the same  right once  minimal administrative  requirements have  been

  (i)  Respect the guarantees of due process, including the independence  of
the  judiciary,   in  accordance  with  the   provisions  of  the   relevant
international instruments, adopting in particular the measures necessary  to
facilitate  free and effective  access to  legal assistance  for all persons
put on  trial.   Such  assistance should  be  provided  by lawyers  able  to
practise their profession with complete independence;

  (j)   Investigate thoroughly  the events  surrounding the  sinking of  the
tugboat  13 de  Marzo  and  the many  resulting casualties,  with a  view to
punishing those responsible and providing compensation  to the relatives  of
the victims;

  (k)   Ensure greater transparency  and guarantees in the prison system, so
as to  prevent excessive violence  and physical  and psychological suffering
from being inflicted on prisoners.   In this connection, it would be a major
achievement to renew the agreement with  the International Committee of  the
Red Cross  and to allow  non-governmental humanitarian organizations  access
to prisons;

  (l)   Allow international non-governmental  human rights organizations  to
enter  the country  more frequently  so  that  they can  evaluate the  human
rights  situation and offer their competence and cooperation  with a view to
securing improvements.

59.   The  international community  should continue  providing all  possible
support for the establishment of a  process of peaceful political transition
in Cuba to accompany  the ongoing economic  reforms.  It also should  ensure
that adequate humanitarian  assistance is provided  to the  Cuban population
in need,  in  particular vulnerable  groups  such  as children,  youth,  the
elderly,  women,  disabled persons  and  unemployed  persons.    It is  also
necessary  to  facilitate  multi-  and  bilateral  technical  and  financial
cooperation  with  Cuba  which  can  enable  its  Government  and  people to
continue on the path  of the economic reforms  in progress and to undertake,
on a consensual basis,  the political reforms which are urgently called  for
by the current situation, in particular with respect to human rights.

60.  In accordance with the invitation by the Commission on Human Rights  in
its resolution  1995/66, the Government should  consider the possibility  of
requesting  the  establishment  of  a programme  of  advisory  services  and
technical  assistance.  The   objective  of  the   programme  should  be  to
facilitate the dissemination of information on,  and the education of Cubans

with respect to, human rights; to  assist international experts in  carrying
out technical  studies so as to  bring domestic legislation  more closely in
line   with  the   human  rights   requirements  of   universally   accepted
international  standards; and  to establish  national institutions  for  the
promotion and protection of human rights.


  1/  See para. 18 (j) below and E/CN.4/1995/52, para. 40.

  2/  See E/CN.4/1995/52, para. 9.

  3/  Ibid., para. 10 (1).

  4/  Ibid., para. 11 (b).

  5/  El Nuevo Herald, 27 April 1995.

  6/   "Houses of worship", which are  generally to be found in the homes of
clergymen, were authorized in 1990.

  7/  See E/CN.4/1995/52, para. 30 (b).

  8/  See para. 28 of this report.

  9/  See E/CN.4/1995/52, para. 18.

   10/  International Labour Conference, Eighty-second Session 1995,  Report
III (Part 4A),  Report of the  Committee of  Experts on  the Application  of
Conventions and Recommendations, Geneva 1995, pp. 301-302.

  11/  See above, para. 16 (f).

  12/  See E/CN.4/1995/61, para. 114.

  13/  See E/CN.4/1995/52, paras. 36-43.

  14/  Ibid., paras. 41-42.

  15/  Ibid., paras. 48-55.

  16/  See above, para. 18 (g). 



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