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OAS calls for release of political prisoners and humanitarian mission to Cuba

The OAS called for the release of political prisoners in Cuba and proposed sending a Humanitarian Mission to verify the human rights

En un comunicado la OEA exigió “una vez más la inmediata puesta en libertad de todos los presos políticos cubanos"
En un comunicado la OEA exigió “una vez más la inmediata puesta en libertad de todos los presos políticos cubanos" | EFE

December 16, 2021 10:14pm

Updated: December 17, 2021 5:04pm

The General Secretariat of the Organization of American States (OAS) on Thursday called for the release of political prisoners in Cuba and proposed sending a Humanitarian Mission to the island to verify the human rights situation in its prisons.

In a press release, the OAS demanded "once again the immediate release of all political prisoners who are arbitrarily imprisoned," and urged to remain "attentive" to the evolution of their health conditions and physical integrity.

“The violation of their fundamental rights and their arbitrary detentions constitute a flagrant violation of human rights in the country, which goes against all international instruments on the matter,” reads the press release.

The OAS expressed "special concern" for the integrity of dissident José Daniel Ferrer, national coordinator of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (Unpacu), "whose health seems to have deteriorated rapidly in recent weeks" in a prison of the regime.

“Ferrer is confined to a small walled cell, without any contact with people other than the guards who guard him and without access to natural light. His reported breathing problems, vision loss, and other issues have been attributed to the inhumane conditions where he is detained for exercising his legitimate civil and political rights.”

The OAS General Secretariat urged the Cuban regime to allow the visit of a Humanitarian Mission from the universal or Inter-American system for the protection of human rights to verify the status and situation of political prisoners in the country.

“The presence of a Humanitarian Mission is essential in a context such as the present one, and the General Secretariat will continue to monitor and remain alert to the existing situation," said the press release.

There were 712 people imprisoned for political reasons in Cuba throughout November, according to a report by the human rights organization Prisoners Defenders (PD).

In the last 12 months, Prisoners Defenders have recorded 805 political prisoners in Cuba. The organization warns that "these are a small fraction of the real numbers, whose total verification is simply unattainable..."

Out of the total registered cases, 562 are related to the July 11 and 12 anti-government demonstrations in more than 60 localities on the island, the Madrid-based NGO said in a statement.

PD classified 452 political prisoners as prisoners of conscience. They are "deprived of liberty solely for reasons of conscience, that is to say, of strict exercise of their most fundamental human rights, with accusations (...) proven to be false and fabricated, or else of a non-criminal nature and absolutely related to thought."

The NGO highlighted as representative cases the imprisonment of opposition leader José Daniel Ferrer; artists Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara and Maykel "Osorbo" Castillo Pérez; Lady in White Aymara Nieto Muñoz; evangelical pastor Lorenzo Rosales Fajardo; and citizens who peacefully demonstrated in the streets Luis Robles Elizástegui, and Andy Dunier García Lorenzo.

The president of the Cuban regime, Miguel Díaz-Canel, recently told members of the Caravan of Pastors for Peace that "there are no political prisoners in Cuba," and that people that oppose his government can demonstrate freely.

"There are no political prisoners in Cuba. What happens is that many times the empire itself in its media campaign tries to link incidents to anti-revolution activities, subverting the internal order of Cuba,” said Díaz-Canel.