Petition UNICEF Against Cuba's Political Exploitation of Children

Monday, December 23, 2013
Please sign the following petition here.

To the Executive Board of UNICEF:

On December 9th, 10th and 11th, 2013, Cuban authorities laid siege to the home of peaceful activist Antonio G. Rodiles, leader of the civic group Estado de SATS, to prevent a meeting celebrating Human Rights Day.

Access to Rodiles’s house was cut by the political police (State Security) beginning at sundown on December 9th, and all those who tried to reach it were detained. Dozens of elementary and secondary education (high school) students were pulled from their classrooms and transported to the area on December 10th and 11th to take part in an improvised “cultural activity” designed to sabotage the human rights commemoration with loud music from their speakers.

The Cuban government had planned these acts of political mobilization in anticipation. During the month of November, fast action groups were created under the leadership of the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (surveillance and control institutions on every block) and the collaboration of other official institution. The campaign began precisely on December 9th, and will continue until December 22nd.

On December 11th, Rodiles, and other activists who ventured outside the home were violently arrested in front of the minors that were on the streets. Rodiles was arrested under the false accusation, launched by official accounts of the regime on different social networks, that he had assaulted a minor. No such incident ever happened. However, in a video filmed by Estado de SATS, a police woman can be seen pushing a boy who falls to the ground (minute 3:08). Later on, high school students formed a celebratory conga line in front of Rodiles’s house.

As it is usual in these cases, the minors’ parents were not notified in advance of the activities in which their children were forced to take part. 

We ask UNICEF to demand from the Cuban government respect for children’s rights, that it stops exploiting children for political purposes, and that it does not use them again in acts of repression against the Cuban opposition.


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