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    ANNUAL REPORT OF THE IACHR 2007

    ANNUAL REPORT OF THE IACHR 2007
    CHAPTER IV
    CUBA

    I. COMPETENCE FOR OBSERVING AND EVALUATING THE HUMAN RIGHTS
    SITUATION IN CUBA

    84. The authority of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to
    observe the human rights situation in Cuba derives from the provisions
    of the OAS Charter, from the Commission's own Statute, and from its
    Rules of Procedure. Under the Charter, all member states undertake to
    respect fundamental individual rights, which, in the case of states not
    parties to the Convention, are those rights established in the American
    Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man (hereinafter, "the American
    Declaration"), which is a source of binding international
    obligations.[101] The Statute charges the Commission with paying
    particular attention to the observance of the human rights recognized in
    Articles I (right to life, to liberty, to security and humane
    treatment), II (right to equality before the law), III (right to
    religious freedom and worship), IV (right to freedom of investigation,
    opinion, expression and dissemination), XVIII (right to a fair trial),
    XXV (right of protection from arbitrary arrest), and XXVI (right to due
    process of law) of the American Declaration when exercising its
    jurisdiction vis-à-vis countries that are not parties to the
    Convention.[102]

    85. On November 21st, 2007, the Commission sent this report
    to the State of Cuba and asked for its observations. On December 10th,
    2006, the Commission received a communication from the Chief of the
    Section of Cuban Interests in Washington D.C., in which he expressed
    that "[t]he Inter-American Commission on Human Rights does not have
    competence, nor does the OAS have moral authority to analyze this or any
    other issue regarding Cuba".

    86. Cuba has been a member state of the Organization of
    American States since July 16, 1952, when it deposited its instrument of
    ratification of the OAS Charter. The Commission has maintained that the
    Cuban State "is juridically answerable to the Inter-American Commission
    in matters that concern human rights" since it is "party to the first
    international instruments established in the American Hemisphere to
    protect human rights" and because Resolution VI of the Eighth Meeting of
    Consultation[103] "excluded the Government of Cuba, not the State, from
    participating in the intra-American system."[104] In this regard, the
    IACHR has said that:

    The Commission's consistent position has been that when it excluded the
    Cuban Government from the inter-American system, it was not the
    intention of the Organization of American States to leave the Cuban
    people without protection. That Government's exclusion from the regional
    system in no way means that it is no longer bound by its international
    human rights obligations.[105]

    II. SITUATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN CUBA

    87. In the exercise of its authority, the IACHR has
    observed and evaluated the human rights situation in Cuba in special
    reports,[106] in the fourth chapters of its Annual Reports,[107] and by
    means of the case system.[108] The IACHR has also, on various occasions,
    asked the State of Cuba to adopt precautionary measures in order to
    protect the lives and personal integrity of Cuban citizens.[109]

    88. In accordance with the criteria established by the
    IACHR in 1997 to identify those states whose human rights practices
    deserve special attention, the first and the fifth criteria are
    applicable to the human rights situation in Cuba, inasmuch as the
    political rights enshrined in the American Declaration are not observed
    and structural conditions that seriously and gravely affect the
    enjoyment and practice of the fundamental rights established in the
    American Declaration persist.

    89. During 2007 the Commission has received information
    regarding the general human rights situation in Cuba from international
    agencies, civil society, and the Cuban Government through the official
    web page of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba. In addition, at
    public hearings held at its 128th and 130th regular periods of sessions,
    it received information about the conditions facing prison inmates,[110]
    on the situation of imprisoned union members,[111] and on compliance
    with the recommendations issued in Case 12.476 (Oscar Elías Biscet et
    al.).[112]

    90. Restrictions on political rights, freedom of
    expression, and dissemination of ideas have created, over a period of
    decades, a situation of permanent and systematic violations of the
    fundamental rights of Cuban citizens, which is made notably worse by the
    lack of independence of the judiciary.

    91. Regarding the restriction of political rights, the
    State of Cuba has said that:

    The restrictions for some political rights in Cuba, that have been set
    out by law, have been the bare minimum needed to guarantee the
    protection of the right to free determination, peace and life of all the
    people, as an answer to the growing anti-Cuban aggressiveness of the
    empire.[113]

    92. Similarly, regarding the right of free expression, it
    maintains that:

    The Cuban people only restrict the "freedom" of opinion and expression
    of those few who would sell their services as mercenaries to the policy
    of hostility, aggression and genocidal blockade of the United States
    government against Cuba. By applying such restrictions, Cuba is acting
    by virtue of not just its national legislation, but also the numerous
    international human rights instruments and successive resolutions passed
    by the United Nations General Assembly which have demanded respect for
    the free determination of peoples and the cease of the economic,
    commercial and financial blockade being applied by the government of the
    United States against Cuba.[114]

    93. The Commission finds it necessary to reiterate that the
    absence of free and fair elections based on universal secret suffrage as
    the expression of the people's sovereignty[115] violates the right to
    political participation established in Article XX of the American
    Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, which provides:

    Every person having legal capacity is entitled to participate in the
    government of his country, directly or through his representatives, and
    to take part in popular elections, which shall be by secret ballot, and
    shall be honest, periodic and free.

    94. Similarly, Article 3 of the Democratic Charter signed
    in Lima, Peru, on September 11, 2001, defines the elements that make up
    a democratic system of government:

    Essential elements of representative democracy include, inter alia,
    respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, access to and the
    exercise of power in accordance with the rule of law, the holding of
    periodic, free, and fair elections based on secret balloting and
    universal suffrage as an expression of the sovereignty of the people,
    the pluralistic system of political parties and organizations, and the
    separation of powers and independence of the branches of government.

    95. During 2007, the IACHR has observed and evaluated the
    situation of human rights in the State of Cuba and has decided to
    include, in this chapter of its Annual Report, the following
    considerations, which chiefly deal with guarantees of due legal process
    and the independence of the judiciary; the detention conditions in which
    political dissidents are held, and harassment of dissidents;
    restrictions on freedom of expression, and harassment targeting
    independent journalists; and the situation faced by human rights
    defenders and trade union leaders. It also includes comments on the
    economic and commercial sanctions imposed on the Government of Cuba, and
    it again states that they must be lifted inasmuch as they tend to
    aggravate restrictions on the effective exercise of economic, social,
    and cultural rights by the Cuban people.

    96. In assessing the human rights situation, the Commission
    again notes that it applauds the major progress made by Cuba in reducing
    infant mortality, in providing access to drinking water, and in the
    areas of housing, health care, and the foodstuffs sector.

    Cuba is a middle-income country, belonging to the group of countries
    with high human development (ranking 50 out of 177). According to
    national reports, three of the eight Millennium Development Goals have
    already been achieved: universal primary education; gender equality; and
    reduction of infant mortality.

    Drinking water is available to 95.6 per cent of the population. However,
    differences from one area to another can still be observed, water supply
    can be unstable, and the grid suffers from technical problems.

    In the area of housing, a national programme of construction,
    conservation and rehabilitation (Programa Constructivo de Viviendas) was
    adopted by the National Assembly of People's Power in September 2005.

    Health plays an important role in Cuba's development strategy. Some
    noteworthy developments are: measures to reduce infant mortality,
    leading to the lowest rates in Latin America; immunization of boys and
    girls against infectious diseases; elimination of preventable diseases
    through vaccination campaigns, and reduction of the maternal mortality
    rate. The prevalence of HIV/AIDS is low and a system of ongoing
    epidemiological monitoring has been set up, taking into account the
    country's geographical location in the Caribbean, one of the areas with
    the highest prevalence in the world.

    In the food sector, availability and consumption of foodstuffs has been
    increased by the adoption of various modes of marketing and social
    programmes. An equitable system of rationing with subsidized prices has
    been introduced and special diets for vulnerable groups are provided
    for. Less than 2 per cent of the population is at risk of malnutrition.[116]

    III. GUARANTEES OF DUE LEGAL PROCESS AND INDEPENDENCE OF
    THE JUDICIARY

    97. Every person is entitled to recourse before the
    courts,[117] to protection from arbitrary arrest,[118] and to due
    process of law.[119] Those rights are a part of what are known as the
    guarantees of due legal process and represent the minimum guarantees
    recognized with respect to all individuals in judicial proceedings of
    all kinds.

    98. The American Declaration provides that every human
    being has the right to liberty[120] and that no persons may be deprived
    of their liberty except in the cases and according to the procedures
    established by pre-existing law.[121] Furthermore, under the American
    Declaration, every individual who has been deprived of liberty has the
    right to have the legality of that detention ascertained without delay
    by a court, and the right to be tried without undue delay or, otherwise,
    to be released.[122] In addition, every person accused of an offense has
    the right to be given an impartial and public hearing, and to be tried
    by courts previously established in accordance with pre-existing laws,
    and not to receive cruel, infamous, or unusual punishment.[123]

    99. During the period covered by this report, the IACHR
    continued to receive information indicating that the Cuban courts
    persist in judging cases in accordance with political and ideological
    criteria in contravention of Cuba's international human rights
    obligations.[124]

    100. The Commission therefore urges Cuba to bring its
    procedures into line with international standards of due process, to
    ensure that individuals who have recourse to the courts in order to
    determine their rights and responsibilities enjoy minimum legal
    guarantees in exercising their defense. The Commission believes that the
    existing legal framework does not comply with Cuba's international
    obligations in this regard. The full currency of the judicial guarantees
    enshrined in the American Declaration depends on the existence of an
    independent and autonomous judiciary. The Commission has repeatedly said
    that there is no separation of powers in Cuba; consequently, there is no
    guarantee of justice free of interference from the other branches of
    government.

    101. In connection with this, Article 121 of the Constitution
    of Cuba provides that: "The courts constitute a system of state bodies,
    established with functional independence from all other systems, and
    subordinated only to the National Assembly of People's Power and the
    Council of State." The Commission notes that the subordination of the
    courts to the Council of State, chaired by the head of state, means that
    the judiciary is directly dependent on instructions handed down by the
    executive branch of government. Cuba's courts of law do not have the
    independence required for the performance of their duties and,
    consequently, individuals are guaranteed neither due legal process nor
    the right of recourse to the courts for obtaining a fair trial,
    particularly in cases of a political nature.

    IV. DETENTION CONDITIONS OF POLITICAL DISSIDENTS[125]

    102. In 2007, the Commission continued to observe the detention
    conditions of political dissidents in Cuba and to receive information on
    degrading treatment by prison authorities against political opponents.[126]

    103. On October 21, 2006, the Commission resolved to convey to
    the State and to the petitioners' representatives,[127] to publish, and
    to include in its Annual Report to the OAS General Assembly, its Report
    on Merits Nº 67/06, in Case 12.476 (Oscar Elías Biscet et al.), which
    deals with 78 political dissidents who were arrested and tried in
    extremely summary proceedings during 2003 under Article 91[128] of the
    Cuban Criminal Code and Law 88 (Law on the Protection of Cuba's National
    Independence and Economy), for actions related to the exercise of such
    basic freedoms as freedom of thought, conscience, belief, and speech and
    the right of peaceful assembly and free association. The sentences
    ranged from 6 months to 28 years in prison.

    104. In Report Nº 67/06, the IACHR concluded:

    1. That the State is responsible for violations of Articles I,
    II, IV, VI, XX, XXI, XXII, XXV and XXVI of the American Declaration, to
    the detriment of Nelson Alberto Aguiar Ramírez, Osvaldo Alfonso Valdés,
    Pedro Pablo Álvarez Ramo, Pedro Argüelles Morán, Víctor Rolando Arroyo
    Carmona Mijail Bárzaga Lugo, Oscar Elías Biscet González, Margarito
    Broche Espinosa, Marcelo Cano Rodríguez, Juan Roberto de Miranda
    Hernández, Carmelo Agustín Díaz Fernández, Eduardo Díaz Fleitas, Antonio
    Ramón Díaz Sánchez, Alfredo Rodolfo Domínguez Batista, Oscar Manuel
    Espinosa Chepe Alfredo Felipe Fuentes, Efrén Fernández Fernández, Juan
    Adolfo Fernández Saínz, José Daniel Ferrer García, Luis Enrique Ferrer
    García, Orlando Fundora Álvarez, Próspero Gaínza Agüero, Miguel Galbán
    Gutiérrez, Julio César Gálvez Rodríguez, Edel José García Díaz, José
    Luis García Paneque, Ricardo Severino González Alfonso, Diosdado
    González Marrero, Léster González Pentón, Alejandro González Raga, Jorge
    Luis González Tanquero, Leonel Grave de Peralta, Iván Hernández
    Carrillo, Normando Hernández González, Juan Carlos Herrera Acosta, Regis
    Iglesias Ramírez, José Ubaldo Izquierdo Hernández, Reynaldo Miguel
    Labrada Peña, Librado Ricardo Linares García, Marcelo Manuel López
    Bañobre, José Miguel Martínez Hernández, Héctor Maseda Gutiérrez, Mario
    Enrique Mayo Hernández, Luis Milán Fernández, Rafael Millet Leyva,
    Nelson Moline Espino, Ángel Moya Acosta, Jesús Mustafá Felipe, Félix
    Navarro Rodríguez, Jorge Olivera Castillo, Pablo Pacheco Ávila, Héctor
    Palacios Ruiz, Arturo Pérez de Alejo Rodríguez, Omar Pernet Hernández,
    Horacio Julio Piña Borrego, Fabio Prieto Llorente, Alfredo Manuel Pulido
    López, José Gabriel Ramón Castillo, Arnaldo Ramos Lauzurique, Blas
    Giraldo Reyes Rodríguez, Raúl Ramón Rivero Castañeda, Alexis Rodríguez
    Fernández, Omar Rodríguez Saludes, Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello, Omar
    Moisés Ruiz Hernández, Claro Sánchez Altarriba, Ariel Sigler Amaya,
    Guido Sigler Amaya, Miguel Sigler Amaya, Ricardo Enrique Silva Gual,
    Fidel Suárez Cruz, Manuel Ubals González, Julio Antonio Valdés Guevara,
    Miguel Valdés Tamayo, Héctor Raúl Valle Hernández, Manuel Vázquez
    Portal, Antonio Augusto Villareal Acosta, and Orlando Zapata Tamayo.

    2. That the State violated Article V of the American
    Declaration, to the detriment of Nelson Alberto Aguiar Ramírez, Martha
    Beatriz Roque Cabello, José Luis García Paneque Miguel Sigler Amaya,
    Guido Sigler Amaya, Ariel Sigler Amaya, Julio Antonio Valdés Guevara,
    and Miguel Valdés Tamayo.

    3. That the State violated Article X of the American
    Declaration, to the detriment of Marcelo Cano Rodríguez, Efrén Fernández
    Fernández, Galbán Gutiérrez, Miguel Normando Hernández González, José
    Ubaldo Izquierdo Hernández, Librado Ricardo Linares García, Luis Milán
    Fernández, Fabio Prieto Llorente, Félix Navarro Rodríguez, Blas Giraldo
    Reyes Rodríguez, Omar Rodríguez Saludes, Omar Moisés Ruiz Hernández,
    Claro Sánchez Altarriba, and Héctor Raúl Valle Hernández.

    4. That the State violated Article XVIII of the American
    Declaration, to the detriment of Nelson Alberto Aguiar Ramírez, Osvaldo
    Alfonso Valdés, Pedro Pablo Álvarez Ramo, Pedro Argüelles Morán, Víctor
    Rolando Arroyo Carmona Mijail Bárzaga Lugo, Oscar Elías Biscet González,
    Margarito Broche Espinosa, Marcelo Cano Rodríguez, Juan Roberto de
    Miranda Hernández, Carmelo Agustín Díaz Fernández, Eduardo Díaz Fleitas,
    Antonio Ramón Díaz Sánchez, Alfredo Rodolfo Domínguez Batista, Oscar
    Manuel Espinosa Chepe Alfredo Felipe Fuentes, Efrén Fernández Fernández,
    Juan Adolfo Fernández Saínz, José Daniel Ferrer García, Luis Enrique
    Ferrer García, Orlando Fundora Álvarez, Próspero Gaínza Agüero, Miguel
    Galbán Gutiérrez, Julio César Gálvez Rodríguez, Edel José García Díaz,
    José Luis García Paneque, Ricardo Severino González Alfonso, Diosdado
    González Marrero, Léster González Pentón, Alejandro González Raga, Jorge
    Luis González Tanquero, Leonel Grave de Peralta, Iván Hernández
    Carrillo, Normando Hernández González, Juan Carlos Herrera Acosta, Regis
    Iglesias Ramírez, José Ubaldo Izquierdo Hernández, Reynaldo Miguel
    Labrada Peña, Librado Ricardo Linares García, Marcelo Manuel López
    Bañobre, José Miguel Martínez Hernández, Héctor Maseda Gutiérrez, Mario
    Enrique Mayo Hernández, Luis Milán Fernández, Nelson Moline Espino,
    Ángel Moya Acosta, Jesús Mustafá Felipe, Félix Navarro Rodríguez, Jorge
    Olivera Castillo, Pablo Pacheco Ávila, Héctor Palacios Ruiz, Arturo
    Pérez de Alejo Rodríguez, Omar Pernet Hernández, Horacio Julio Piña
    Borrego, Fabio Prieto Llorente, Alfredo Manuel Pulido López, José
    Gabriel Ramón Castillo, Arnaldo Ramos Lauzurique, Blas Giraldo Reyes
    Rodríguez, Raúl Ramón Rivero Castañeda, Alexis Rodríguez Fernández, Omar
    Rodríguez Saludes, Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello, Omar Moisés Ruiz
    Hernández, Claro Sánchez Altarriba, Ariel Sigler Amaya, Guido Sigler
    Amaya, Miguel Sigler Amaya, Ricardo Enrique Silva Gual, Fidel Suárez
    Cruz, Manuel Ubals González, Julio Antonio Valdés Guevara, Miguel Valdés
    Tamayo, Héctor Raúl Valle Hernández, Manuel Vázquez Portal, Antonio
    Augusto Villareal Acosta, and Orlando Zapata Tamayo.

    5. That the State did not violate Articles IX, XI and XVII of
    the American Declaration.[129]

    105. In addition, the IACHR recommended that the State of Cuba:

    1. Order the immediate and unconditional release of the victims
    in this case, while overturning their convictions inasmuch as they were
    based on laws that impose unlawful restrictions on their human rights.

    2. Adopt the measures necessary to adapt its laws, procedures
    and practices to international human rights laws. In particular, the
    Commission is recommending to the Cuban State that it repeal Law No. 88
    and Article 91 of its Criminal Code, and that it initiate a process to
    amend its Constitution to ensure the independence of the judicial branch
    of government and the right to participate in government.

    3. Redress the victims and their next of kin for the pecuniary
    and non-pecuniary damages suffered as a result of the violations of the
    American Declaration herein established.

    4. Adopt the measures necessary to prevent a recurrence of
    similar acts, in keeping with the State's duty to respect and ensure
    human rights.[130]

    106. According to information received by the IACHR, 16[131]
    individuals were released from prison on parole under the "extrapenal
    license" mechanism[132] on the grounds that they were seriously
    ill,[133] and Rafael Millet Leyva was released on December 19, 2006. The
    IACHR was also informed about the restrictions of labor rights
    encountered by persons released from prison on extrapenal license.[134]

    107. The remaining victims in Case 12.476 are still in prison.

    108. Under the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of
    Man, all individuals have the right to humane treatment during the time
    they are in custody.[135] In several of its reports, the Commission has
    addressed the topic of detention conditions in Cuba.[136] The
    Commission is of the view that the State's responsibility with regard to
    the humane treatment of persons held in its custody is not confined to
    the negative obligation to refrain from practicing torture or
    mistreating such persons. Since prisons are places where the state has
    total control over the life of the prisoners, its obligations towards
    them include the control and security measures required to preserve the
    life and protect the integrity of persons deprived of liberty.

    109. According to the information received by the IACHR,[137]
    the prison authorities – either directly or with the assistance of other
    convicts – continue to mistreat political prisoners: they are subjected
    to beatings and attacks, kept in isolation for long periods, and not
    provided with the medical assistance needed for the illnesses they
    suffer. In addition, they are held at prisons far away from their home
    towns in order to make visiting difficult; family visits are denied or
    restricted; foodstuffs or medicines sent by their relatives are
    restricted or denied; and they are kept from meeting with officials from
    international human rights bodies. This leads to a serious deterioration
    in the physical and/or mental health of imprisoned dissidents.[138]

    110. Various of the victims of Case 12.476 have health problems
    that have emerged or been aggravated during their detention, without the
    provision of adequate medical care.[139] With regard to health
    conditions, the Commission has previously expressed its concern
    regarding the large number of convicts who suffer from chronic visual,
    renal, cardiac, and pulmonary ailments and are not given appropriate
    medical attention; this group includes several prisoners of advanced
    years. Moreover, the IACHR has been told that prison authorities prevent
    the relatives of imprisoned political dissidents from supplying them
    with drugs needed to treat their illnesses that are not provided by the
    State. Thus, the State has not observed the principles established in
    the United Nations' Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of
    Prisoners.[140]

    111. During 2007, as a part of its duties in monitoring
    compliance with the recommendations[141] set out in Report on Merits N°
    67/06, Case 12.476, the IACHR again reiterated to the State of Cuba its
    recommendation for the immediate release of the victims in the case and,
    in particular, it requested information on the current health of
    Normando Hernández González and Jorge Luis García Paneque and on the
    medical attention being provided to them.

    112. On June 11, 2007, the IACHR received information
    indicating that Normando Hernández González was suffering from a series
    of intestinal illnesses.[142] On June 18, 2007, the IACHR asked the
    State to release him and to adopt protective measures until such time as
    he was released. On August 31, 2007, the IACHR repeated its request of
    June 18. According to press reports, on September 14, 2007, Normando
    Hernández González was transferred from Kilo 7 prison in Camagüey to the
    Carlos J. Finlay military hospital in the city of La Havana.

    113. On June 28, 2007, the IACHR received information
    indicating that Jorge Luis García Paneque's body weight had fallen 36 kg
    after developing, while in prison, malabsorption syndrome of the
    intestine, a disease that causes chronic attacks of diarrhea and
    bleeding colitis. The Commission was also told that since being sent to
    prison in March 2003, Mr. García Paneque's health had constantly
    worsened, due to the inhuman conditions he was exposed to in the
    detention center. On June 29, 2007, the IACHR asked the State to release
    him and to adopt protective measures until such time as he was
    released.[143]

    114. Similarly, José Gabriel Ramón Castillo,[144] after being
    confined to a punishment cell for 15 months at the Villa Clara Juvenile
    Prison, suffered damage to his central nervous system and other
    pathologies, and because of this his existing ailments worsened.[145]

    115. With regard to the use of isolation cells, the IACHR has
    ruled that:

    Isolation is an exceptional measure designed to prevent obstacles to an
    investigation into the facts. After examining the material facts of
    this case, it has been deduced that isolation was not used as an
    exceptional measure, but in several cases it was used instead as
    additional punishment of an indefinite nature, which is contrary to the
    United Nations' Minimum Standard Rules for the Treatment of
    Prisoners.[146][147]

    116. The IACHR was also told about the grave prison conditions
    facing seven of the nine[148] trade unionists convicted in 2003 for
    their involvement in independent workers' organizations; in some of
    those cases, the conditions constitute inhumane treatment. The
    information describes the grave health conditions of the imprisoned
    unionists, claims that the State does not provide the medical attention
    they need, and, in particular, reports on the very delicate health of
    Pedro Pablo Álvarez.

    117. In addition, with reference to prisoners of conscience not
    included in the group of 78 dissidents, on February 28, 2007, the
    Commission granted precautionary measures to protect the life and person
    of Mr. Francisco Pastor Chaviano, who suffered serious injuries to his
    face and head as a result of beatings meted out by prison guards.[149]
    At the public hearing on the "Situation of persons in jail in
    Cuba,"[150] held on July 20, 2007, during the IACHR's 128th regular
    session, one of Francisco Pastor Chaviano's daughters gave testimony on
    her father's condition. On August 10, 2007, the Commission was told that
    Francisco Pastor Chaviano had been released from prison.

    118. The IACHR appreciated the decision by the Cuban Government
    to release Francisco Pastor Chaviano. Nonetheless, the Commission notes
    that the recourse of release of prisoners for humanitarian reasons
    continues to be implemented on a discretionary basis, without following
    clear, objective, egalitarian criteria imposed by independent judges.

    119. At the same time, the IACHR notes that Mr. Jorge Luis
    García Pérez-Antúnez, imprisoned in 1990, was released from jail on
    April 22, 2007, upon completion of his entire prison sentence. The IACHR
    was told that Mr. García Pérez-Antúnez suffered frequent beatings at the
    hands of other inmates and that the authorities had threatened that he
    would never leave prison alive; for that reason, on November 21, 2006,
    it granted precautionary measures on his behalf.[151]

    120. At the same time, the Commission has noted its concern at
    what are known as "acts of repudiation" carried out against political
    dissidents paroled from jail under extrapenal licenses. These acts of
    repudiation involve harassment and intimidation carried out by members
    of groups of government supporters, among them the Committees for the
    Defense of the Revolution and the People's Rapid Response Brigades,
    against people they consider "counter-revolutionaries."[152]

    121. These acts of repudiation carried out against political
    dissidents, involving participants with ties to the Government of Cuba,
    ignore the human dignity and liberty owed to all persons, irrespective
    of their political ideas, and they are in breach of the American
    Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man.

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    [101] I/A Court H. R., Interpretation of the American Declaration of the
    Rights and Duties of Man Within the Framework of Article 64 of the
    American Convention on Human Rights, Advisory Opinion OC-10/89, July 14,
    1989, Series A Nº 10, paragraphs 43-46.

    [102] Statute of the IACHR, Article 20(a).

    [103] The complete text of Resolution VI may be found in "Eighth Meeting
    of Consultation of Ministers of Foreign Affairs acting as Organ of
    Consultation in application of the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal
    Assistance, Punta del Este, Uruguay, January 22-31, 1962, Documents of
    the Meeting," Organization of American States, OEA/Ser.F/II.8, doc. 68,
    pp. 17-19.

    [104] IACHR, Annual Report 2002, Chapter IV, Cuba, paragraphs 3-7. See
    also: IACHR, Annual Report 2001, Chapter IV, Cuba, paragraphs 3-7;
    IACHR, Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Cuba, Seventh Report,
    1983, paragraphs
    16-46.

    [105] IACHR, Annual Report 2002, Chapter IV, Cuba, paragraph 7.a.

    [106] See: IACHR, Special Reports for the following years: 1962, 1963,
    1967, 1970, 1976, 1979, and 1983.

    [107] See: IACHR, Chapter IV of the Annual Reports for the following
    years: 1990-91, 1991, 1992-1993, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999,
    2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006.

    [108] See: IACHR, Report on Merits Nº 47/96, Case 11.436, Tugboat 13 de
    Marzo, October 16, 1996; IACHR, Report on Merits Nº 86/99, Case 11.589,
    Armando Alejandre Jr., Carlos Costa, Mario de la Peña, and Pablo
    Morales, September 29, 1999; IACHR, Report on Admissibility Nº 56/04,
    Petition 12.127, Vladimiro Roca Antúnez et al., October 14, 2004; IACHR,
    Report on Admissibility Nº 57/04, Petitions 771/03 and 841/03, Oscar
    Elias Biscet et al., October 14, 2004; IACHR, Report on Admissibility Nº
    58/04, Petition 844/03, Lorenzo Enrique Copello Castillo et al., October
    14, 2004; IACHR, Report on the Merits Nº 67/06, Case 12.476, Oscar Elías
    Biscet et al., October 21, 2006; IACHR, Report on the Merits Nº 68/06,
    Case 12.477, Lorenzo Enrique Copello Castillo et al., October 21, 2006.

    [109] When informed of an IACHR decision, either the State of Cuba does
    not reply or it sends a note stating that the Inter-American Commission
    on Human Rights has no jurisdiction, and the Organization of American
    States no moral authority, to examine matters involving Cuba.

    [110] See: Video of public hearing on "Situation of persons in jail in
    Cuba," held on July 20, 2007, at:

    http://www.cidh.org/audiencias/seleccionar.aspx.

    [111] See: Video of public hearing on "Situation of the union members
    deprived of liberty in Cuba," held on July 20, 2007, at:

    http://www.cidh.org/audiencias/seleccionar.aspx.

    [112] See: Video of public hearing on "Case 12.476: Oscar Elías Biscet
    et al., Cuba (Follow-up of recommendations)," held on October 10, 2007,
    at: http://www.cidh.org/audiencias/seleccionar.aspx.

    [113] In Chapter 9, "White Book 2007," English version, published on the
    official web page of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba, at:

    http://www.cubaminrex.cu/CDH/62cdh/Ingles/White_Book_2007/index.htm.

    [114] See: Chapter 9, "White Book 2007," English version, published on
    the official web page of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba, cited
    above.

    [115] Article 3 of the Inter-American Democratic Charter states that one
    of the essential elements of representative democracy is the holding of
    periodic, free, and fair elections based on secret balloting and
    universal suffrage as an expression of the sovereignty of the people,
    together with the pluralistic system of political parties and organizations.

    [116] See: UNDP, Country Programme Document for Cuba (2008-2012),
    general distribution, July 30, 2007, at:

    http://www.undp.org/latinamerica/countryprogramme.shtml.

    [117] American Declaration, Article XVIII.

    [118] American Declaration, Article XXV.

    [119] American Declaration, Article XXVI.

    [120] American Declaration, Article I.

    [121] American Declaration, Article XXV.

    [122] American Declaration, Article XXV.

    [123] American Declaration, Article XXVI.

    [124] Chapter 7 of the "White Book 2007," published on the official web
    page of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cuba, cited above, says that:
    "Our country has ratified a significant number of international human
    rights instruments. Cuba is a State party to 16 fundamental treaties on
    this issue." A later paragraph reads: "Cuba reiterates its commitment
    with the principles enshrined in the International Covenants on Civil
    and Political Rights, and of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Such
    commitment was entered into since the adoption of both texts by the UN
    General Assembly. Cuba's Constitution and legal system uphold for all
    citizens the rights protected under such instruments. The State has
    implemented a number of programs and policies specially aimed at
    protecting and promoting these rights for all Cubans."

    [125] The Government of Cuba rejects the label "dissidents" for the
    victims in Case 12.476. The report titled "White Book 2007," published
    on the official web page of the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
    states that: "This slanderous campaign – still going on today with the
    cynical, complicit and active help of several client governments of the
    Empire – has resorted to sophisticated disinformation techniques
    developed by the Nazi-Fascists services, unjustifiably and repeatedly
    depicting the justly convicted mercenaries by giving the false epithets
    of 'dissidents,' 'peaceful political opponents,' 'human rights
    defenders,' 'independent journalists, librarians or unionists.' The idea
    is to make people believe that the mercenaries were 'arbitrarily and
    unjustly' convicted simply for 'peacefully exercising the right to
    freedom of speech, opinion and association'." See "White Book 2007,"
    Chapter 5, cited above.

    [126] See: Video of public hearing on "Situation of persons in jail in
    Cuba," held on July 20, 2007 and Video of public hearing on "Case
    12.476: Oscar Elías Biscet et al., Cuba (Follow-up of recommendations),"
    held on October 10, 2007,
    cited above.

    [127] Report on Merits Nº 67/06 was forwarded to the State of Cuba and
    to the petitioners' representatives on November 1, 2006. See: IACHR,
    Press Release Nº 40/06, "IACHR announces two reports on human rights
    violations in Cuba," November 1, 2006.

    [128] Article 91 of the Criminal Code of Cuba: "Anyone who, in the
    interests of a foreign state, commits an act with the intent of harming
    the independence of the Cuban State or the integrity of its territory
    shall be punished with imprisonment for a period of ten to twenty years
    or death."

    [129] See: Complete report at: http://www.cidh.org.

    [130] See: Complete report at: http://www.cidh.org.

    [131] In 2004, the following persons were granted medical parole:
    Osvaldo Alfonso, Margarito Broche Espinosa, Carmelo Díaz Fernández,
    Oscar Espinosa Chepe, Orlando Fundadora Álvarez, Edel José García Díaz,
    Marcelo López Bañobre, Roberto de Miranda, Jorge Olivera Castillo, Raúl
    Rivero Castañeda, Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello, Julio Valdés Guevara,
    Miguel Valdés Tamayo (died January 10, 2007), and Manuel Vásquez Portal.
    In 2005, Mario Enrique Mayo Hernández and Héctor Palacio Ruiz were
    granted medical parole.

    [132] The Criminal Code of Cuba provides: "Article 31.2: The sentencing
    court may grant persons sentenced to prison extrapenal license for the
    duration deemed necessary, when there is good reason and subject to the
    filing of an application. It may also be granted by the Ministry of the
    Interior, in extraordinary cases, provided notice is given to the
    President of the People's Supreme Court." "Article 31.4: The duration of
    extrapenal licenses and of permits for egress from the detention
    facility shall accrue to the duration of the prison sentence provided
    that the recipient of the benefit, during the time the license or permit
    is in force, displays good behavior. The reductions of sentence granted
    to the convict during his or her service of the sentence shall also
    accrue to its duration."

    [133] See: Video of public hearing on Case 12.476, held on October 10,
    2007, cited above. According to the State of Cuba, for "strictly
    humanitarian" reasons, 16 persons were granted extrapenal license. See:
    Chapter 5, "White Book 2007," English version, published on the official
    web page of the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs, cited above.

    [134] See: IACHR, Press Release Nº 40/07, "IACHR concludes its 128th
    period of sessions," August 1, 2007.

    [135] American Declaration, Article XXV.

    [136] IACHR, Annual Report 1995, Chapter V, paragraph 71; IACHR, Annual
    Report 1994, Chapter IV, page 168; IACHR, Annual Report 2004, Chapter
    IV, paragraphs 59-66; IACHR, Annual Report 2005, Chapter IV, paragraphs
    76-81; IACHR, Annual Report 2006, Chapter IV, paragraphs 65-70.

    [137] See: Video of public hearing on "Situation of persons in jail in
    Cuba," held on July 20, 2007 and Video of public hearing on "Case
    12.476: Oscar Elías Biscet et al., Cuba (Follow-up of recommendations),"
    held on October 10, 2007,
    cited above.

    [138] See: Video of public hearing on "Situation of persons in jail in
    Cuba," held on July 20, 2007 and Video of public hearing on "Case
    12.476: Oscar Elías Biscet et al., Cuba (Follow-up of recommendations),"
    held on October 10, 2007,
    cited above.

    [139] IACHR, Case 12.476: Oscar Elías Biscet et al., Cuba, Report Nº
    67/06, November 21, 2006, paragraph 157.

    [140] The Inter-American Commission has repeatedly indicated that the
    United Nations' Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners
    should be understood as a suitable international reference for standard
    minimum rules for the humane treatment of prisoners, including basic
    rules relating to cell and sanitary conditions, medical attention, and
    physical exercise. See IACHR, Report Nº 27/01, Case 12.183, Jamaica,
    paragraph 133; Report Nº 47/01, Case 12.028, Grenada, paragraph 127;
    Report Nº 48/01, Case 12.067, Bahamas, paragraph 195; Report Nº 38/00,
    Case 11.743, Grenada, paragraph 136.

    [141] On December 6, 2006, the IACHR received a request for
    precautionary measures lodged on behalf of Librado Ricardo Linares
    García. According to the request, Mr. Linares García continues to face
    poor conditions in prison, constant stress, poor nutrition, attacks from
    other inmates, restrictions of his religious freedom, and interference
    with his right to receive family visits. On December 15, 2006, the IACHR
    asked the State to release him and to adopt the necessary protection
    measures until such time as he was released.

    [142] These included erythematous gastritis in the lower stomach,
    jejunitis, atrophy in the intestinal cilia, giardiasic parasites on the
    intestine walls, intestinal leaks, deficiencies of folic acid and
    vitamin B-12, and malabsorption syndrome in the intestine.

    [143] The World Organisation Against Torture (WOAT) said that: "It calls
    the Cuban authorities' attention to this case and reminds them that the
    conditions in which Dr. José Luis García Paneque has been detained, the
    cause of his current grave health situation, violate the United Nations
    Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners and constitute a
    form of cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment in breach of the terms
    of the Convention against Torture." World Organisation Against Torture,
    "Fears for the personal integrity of Dr. José Luis García Paneque," Case
    CUB 090806.1, July 3, 2007.

    [144] On November 7, 2006, the IACHR received a request for
    precautionary measures lodged on behalf of José Gabriel Ramón Castillo,
    claiming that he was in immediate danger, was not being given food, and
    was not receiving medical attention. The information also added that he
    was physically mistreated and denied the medicine brought by his family
    for treating his ailments. On November 22, 2006, the IACHR asked the
    State to release him and to adopt the necessary protective measures
    until such time as he was released.

    [145] IACHR, Annual Report 2006, Chapter IV, paragraph 67.

    46 Minimum standard rules for the treatment of prisoners. Adopted by
    the First United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Treatment of
    Criminals, held in Geneva in 1955, and approved by the Economic and
    Social Council in its Resolutions 663C (XXIV) of July 31, 1957 and 2076
    (LXII) of May 13, 1977, Articles 31 and 32.1.

    [146] IACHR, Case 12.476: Oscar Elías Biscet et al., Cuba, Report Nº
    67/06, November 21, 2006, paragraph 154.

    [147] IACHR, Case 12.476: Oscar Elías Biscet et al., Cuba, Report Nº
    67/06, November 21, 2006, paragraph 154.

    [148] The trade unionists tried and convicted in 2003 were Pedro Pablo
    Álvarez Ramos, Horacio Julio Piña Borrego, Víctor Rolando Arroyo
    Carmona, Adolfo Fernández Sainz, Alfredo Felipe Fuentes, Luis Milán
    Fernández, Blas Giraldo Reyes Rodríguez, Carmelo Díaz Fernández, and
    Oscar Espinosa Chepe. The last two have been released on extrapenal
    license. See: Video of public hearing on "Situation of the union members
    deprived of liberty in Cuba," held on July 20, 2007, cited above.

    [149] Precautionary measures Nº 19-07, on behalf of Francisco Pastor
    Chaviano, were granted by the IACHR on February 28, 2007. According to
    the information received by the IACHR, the beneficiary suffered serious
    injuries to his face and head as a result of beatings at the hands of
    prison guards. The IACHR was also told that Mr. Chaviano suffers from a
    duodenal ulcer, arthritis, and respiratory problems, as a direct result
    of the detention conditions in which he is being held. In addition, in
    February 2007, the beneficiary's wife announced that he had been
    diagnosed with a 70% obstruction of the arteries and ischemia which, if
    not addressed through surgery could, in conjunction with his aggressive
    pulmonary tumor, lead to his death in prison.

    [150] See: Video of public hearing on "Situation of the union members
    deprived of liberty in Cuba," held on July 20, 2007, cited above.

    [151] Precautionary measures Nº 306-06, on behalf of Jorge Luis García
    Pérez-Antúnez, were granted by the IACHR on November 21, 2006.

    [152] The Committees for the Defense of the Revolution and the People's
    Rapid Response Brigades are intended to guard against activities
    considered counter-revolutionary and confront any suspected indication
    of opposition to the government.

    http://www.cidh.org/annualrep/2007eng/Chap.4b.htm

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