Torture in Cuba
July 2012
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Justice / Rafael León Rodríguez

Rafael León Rodríguez, Translator: Unstated

Elias Carranza. From

Dr. Elias Carranza, Director of the United Nations Latin American

Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders,

shocked us when he said that Cuba is the safest country in the region,

during his Keynote Address at the Sixth International Meeting on Justice

and Law held at the end of May in Havana. To imagine how he arrived at

that conclusion, when the official information on this subject has been

treated as confidential during the last fifty years, is a

para-psychological exercise.

Cuba is a singularity in America, making it difficult to compare it with

any other country in the hemisphere. About twenty percent of its current

population has been forced to emigrate to other lands, forced by an

authoritarian regime that lasted over half a century. The fear,

instilled by the powers-that-be, has been and is such that it has become

innate in society. The determination to leave the country at any cost

remains an important priority among some social groups, mainly young people.

Despair, indolence and corruption have been enthroned in the society

facing an exhausted bankrupt system with no sign of real political and

social changes. At best, Cuba is a safe country for foreigners who visit

us, but dangerous for Cubans who reject the undemocratic regime that

holds real power.

This event overlapped with the presentation of a report on the issue of

torture, before the United Nations committee on that subject meeting in

Geneva, Switzerland, from a delegation of the Cuban government. Cuba, as

a party to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhumane and

Degrading Treatment, presented its report on the government system of

prisons, the delivery and administration of justice, and the rights of

the detained and ethics of the public system of order, among other things.

The head of the Island's delegation, the Deputy Attorney General,

asserted that, "In Cuba there is not nor will there be space for

impunity." He gave figures of complaints from the population from 2007

to 2011, in which there were 263 charges of bad treatment received in

penitentiaries, which led to proceedings against 46 corrections agents.

He also spoke of the blockade, of those who seek to destroy the

country's internal order, and of those in service to a foreign power.

Moreover, the newspaper Granma, surprisingly, published at that time,

that there are 57,337 prisoners in the Cuban archipelago.

It's always good news to know that, on issues as sensitive and criminal

justice, the authorities are taking action and realizing concrete

results. In the same way it's striking to see the publication of data

that, up to know, has been a State secret.

But from there to argue that, "In Cuba the authentic defenders of human

rights are protected," and that "No one in our country has been

persecuted or sanctioned for exercising their rights, including those of

free and association," is a joke in very bad taste.

We have to wonder why there are hundreds of arbitrary detentions for

short periods, which in the present year alone have totaled more than

2,400. Or why there is the Law 88 — called "the Gag Law" — that serves

to suppress any activity considered controversial to the power of the

Cuban dictatorial authorities. Or the crime of "dangerous criminality,"

occasionally applied by the repressive entities. Or the death penalty,

which continues to hang over society because it has been suspended but

not abolished. All this without digging into the most recent past or

going back to the origins of the so-called "Marxist-Leninist

Revolutionary Cuban Process."

Ignacio Agramonte taught us that justification prostitute ideas and the

Holy Father John Paul II said:

"This does not mean forgetting past events; it means re-examining

them with a new attitude and learning precisely from the experience of

suffering that only love can build up, whereas hatred produces

devastation and ruin."

So, why doesn't the Cuban government take the positive step,

transcendent, out of respect and consideration of the people and ratify

and implement the United Nations' International Covenants on Civil and

Political Rights and on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights? This would

undoubtedly be a perfect opportunity to start the real re-foundation of

the new society and the rule of law in the Nation and would prevent the

ancient governmental practice of justifying that which has no

justification: oppression.

June 30 2012


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