No to Impunity: Justice is Vital to Reconciliation

Wednesday, November 18, 2015
From Cuba Archive:

No to impunity: Transitional justice is vital to reconciliation

Lately, we hear talk of the reconciliation of the Cuban people. No doubt that is a desirable goal, particularly in resolving personal quarrels, but for national reconciliation to succeed, the near universal experience of the last half-century across the globe teaches us that “transitional justice” is a vital aspect of that process. And, that can only take place when a true democracy with a rule of law replaces the repressive regime and guarantees a course of action consisting of seeking truth, holding perpetrators accountable, arriving at some form of redress, and putting mechanisms in place to prevent abuses from recurring. Although each society must find its own particular approach, fostering transparency and taking victims into account are essential to the legitimacy of the process as well as to promote societal peace and consolidate the new democracy.

While it’s useful to set the foundations for eventual reconciliation, present-day Cuba does not yet offer the needed conditions. The Cuban regime is embarked on the transformation of a totalitarian system cloaked in orthodox Communism into an authoritarian model with selective elements of capitalism —a hybrid fascist system with amorphous ideological justifications. At the same time, a dynastic succession already set in motion seeks to maintain power in the hands of the same military dictatorship guilty of multiple and systematic crimes against humanity and sustained by a huge repressive apparatus and Stalinist laws.

The crimes of the Cuban regime

To help develop responsible views regarding Cuba, please visit Cuba Archive’s website, including our electronic database of documented cases of deaths and disappearance.

As a sample of our work, of the 325 documented cases (1959 to 2015) occurring in the month of November, thirteen have occurred since Raúl Castro assumed power in July 2006. Causes of death/disappearance include 154 executions by firing squad, 62 extrajudicial executions (assassinations committed by state agents), 6 forced disappearances, and 29 deaths in prison for medical negligence or suicide/alleged suicide. (Numbers are partial, as this is a work in progress.)

Of the cases occurring in the month of November, we highlight the tragic death of Darío Andino León, age 18, on November 18, 2014 at a Military Unit in the province of Cienfuegos. He had been doing his obligatory military service, enduring extremely harsh conditions and, while on a home visit, joined a group of neighbors who took to sea in a rustic vessel to escape from Cuba. Five days later, after a terrible ordeal at sea, they were rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard and returned to Cuba. After several days in a hospital, Darío was transferred by State Security to a detention center and placed in isolation for deserting his military service. Sent to a punishment cell and left incommunicado, several days later, he reportedly he hung himself with a sheet. He left a very young wife and one-month old daughter. (U.S.-Cuba migration agreements call for Cuba to respect the physical and emotional integrity of anyone intercepted at sea and repatriated by the U.S.)