The Political Prisoner Reality

Tuesday, August 31, 2010
For those doing back-flips over the "announced release" of 52 political prisoners by the Castro regime -- of which 26 have been banished to Spain and 26 remain in prison -- please consider the following tragic reality:

According to the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCDHRN), there have been over 940 dissident arrests between January and July of this year alone.

Please note that these are only arrests that are known and compiled. Just imagine how many unknown arrests there must be.

Either way, that gives you a sense of how quickly the Castro regime can (and does) fill up its political prisons.

Furthermore, as Havana-based blogger Yoani Sanchez noted in a recent interview:

I find [the "announced release"] it very positive; however, it's not enough. While in Cuba there continues to be a system of surveillance and punishment for whoever expresses an opinion different from the State, at any moment there could return another Black Spring of 2003… or there could come a Gray Autumn of 2012 or a Dark Spring of 2014.

As long as the Cuban government doesn't say, "Here there is no punishment against freedom of opinion, people can associate in ecological or political groups, they can found parties, they can have platforms, and they can create publications (whenever they fulfill the norms of a national publication, such as declaring where its resources come from, etc.) – whenever they do that, they can have it."

As long as that is not done, we are all potential prisoners. This will be true as long as the government has in the penal code a criminal violation that it calls "illicit association" against enemy propaganda. There is a law that they apply against people who print and distribute something critical, different, contrary to the government. We are all in danger as long as there exists this penal code and the criminal decree of peligrosidad predelictiva (pre-criminal danger, whereby the government or its courts can determine that someone potentially in the future could commit a crime and they could be sent to prison for up to four years).

So, these releases should be followed by a process of guarantees. Well, they're already free, now, those who are in the street should know that they will never go to prison for reasons of opinion or for political motives. And these are the guarantees. The Cuban government has to ratify the human rights pacts that it has not ratified. As long as it doesn't ratify those pacts, there is no public commitment.