Regime ramps up repression as Russia ponders return to Cuba

Babalu blog

Babluu blog

The Russian military is considering the possibility of regaining its Soviet-era bases on Cuba and in Vietnam, the Defense Ministry said Friday, a statement that comes amid growing U.S.-Russia tensions over Syria.

The announcement coincides with the approach of the one-year anniversary of U.S.-Cuban rapprochement.

Diplomatic re-engagement has done little to moderate the regime’s repressive tendencies, according to the Comisión Cubana de Derechos Humanos y Reconciliación Nacional (CCDHRN) which reports that there have been more than 7,800 politically motivated arrests in 2016. In September the organization documented at least 570 arbitrary political arrests of Cuban dissidents, representing a net increase over the number of arrests recorded in August.

The report highlighted the police raid on the independent law firm Cubalex and noted that the Ladies in White continue to be the group most affected.

“We are alarmed by the significant increase of arbitrary detentions, secret police raids, and intimidation targeting a wide cross-section of civil society,” said Carlos Ponce, Freedom House’s director for Latin America programs. “The international community should demand protection of the Cuban human rights defenders and prodemocracy movements.”

A new report by Instituto Cubano por la Libertad de Expresión y Prensa (ICLEP) documented freedom of expression and the press violations.

The regime also consistently fails to meet even the most basic of labor standards, including denial of employment due to belief systems, analysts Ana Quintana [a Penn Kemble fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy] and  Randall Ramos write for The National Interest.

cuba werlauCuba should not be part of the U. N. Human Rights Council, responsible for the promotion and protection of all human rights around the globe, because it is a totalitarian state that violates —in its laws and practices— essentially all applicable articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, said Maria C. Werlau (right), Executive Director of the Cuba Archive, addressing a press conference organized by UN Watch, Human Rights Foundation, and the Raoul Wallenberg Human Rights Centre.

Irwin Cotler, the Canadian human rights lawyer and former Liberal justice minister, has noted the Liberal government’s much-professed determination to “re-engage” with the UN, and made a laudable suggestion:  Canada should use its position to vote against the re-election of members  with objectionable records – such as Cuba – and publicly reveal its vote, reports suggest.

Cotler-300x168“People in these countries really see Canada as having the potential to be a leader in the promotion and protection of human rights, and [one that] can mobilize other fellow democracies,” Cotler (left) said. “We should leverage our involvement in the various forums to exercise leadership.”

Cuba is rated Not Free in Freedom in the World 2016, Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2016, and Not Free in Freedom on the Net 2015.

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