Successive decades of disproportionate and arbitrary use of the criminal law and campaigns of state-sponsored discrimination against those who dare to speak out or try to leave the country has contributed to this feeling. Discriminatory dismissals from state-employment, and arbitrary harassment of self-employed workers in the private sector, as an additional layer of state control, and the lack of an effective recourse to challenge them, has created a profound climate of fear in Cuba.
The report – Your mind is in prison – Cuba’s web of control over free expression and its chilling effect on everyday life – examines how ordinary Cubans perceived to be even subtly critical of life in the country face a future of harassment at work, or unemployment as authorities use control over the job market as an additional tool of repression:
Those pushed out of work because of their views, have nowhere to challenge their dismissal. Most said Cuba’s only official trade union didn’t represent them and that they didn’t have the option to join an independent union. None interviewed had appealed their dismissal through the courts, as they considered them to be fully under the control of the government.
“Many Cubans feel suffocated by a web of state-control over their daily lives. Part of that control is: if you want to hold a job, you have to agree with everything the government says,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.