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UA 22/92 - Cuba: possible prisoners of conscience / medical concern / legal concern: Bienvenida Cucalo Santana, Joel Duenas, Arturo Garnica Torres

, Index number: AMR 25/003/1992

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 25/03/92
Distr: UA/SC
Please send up to 10 appeals per section
UA 22/92 Possible Prisoners of Conscience/ 16 January 1992
Medical Concern/ Legal Concern
CUBA: Bienvenida CUCALO SANTANA (f), Secretary General of the
Movimiento Feminino Humanitario Cubano, Cuban Women's
Humanitarian Movement
Joel DUEÑAS, aged 21 ) members of the
Arturo GARNICA TORRES, aged 27) above movement
Amnesty International has been informed of the arrest of Bienvenida Cúcalo Santana,
the Secretary General of the unofficial Movimiento Feminino Humanitario Cubano, Cuban
Humanitarian Women's Movement, and two other members of the same group. All three
were arrested in Havana on or about 31 December 1991 following searches of their
homes. Little information is so far known about the reasons for their arrests but
one report indicates that Joel Dueñas is accused of illegal association (asociación
ilícita) and enemy propaganda (propaganda enemiga). He is reportedly being held at
the 10th police unit in Avenida de Acosta. Amnesty International is particularly
concerned about his state of health: he is said to suffer from chronic epilepsy and
to have had 21 attacks in one day while in custody. He is also said to be suffering
from high blood pressure (grave hipertensión arterial) and diabetes. Arturo Garnica
Torres is thought to be held at the same police station but Bienvenida Cúcalo Santana
is believed to be at the headquarters of the Departamento de Seguridad del Estado
(DSE), Department of State Security, at Villa Marista. It is unlikely that any of
them will have had access to lawyers.
Amnesty International believes that all three are probably prisoners of conscience
detained solely on account of their peaceful activities on behalf of the Movimiento
Feminino Humanitario Cubano. This group was set up in 1991 and has been providing
assistance to the relatives of political prisoners. It does not have official
recognition (such groups have to apply for registration from the Ministry of Justice).
It is part of a coalition of political and human rights groups called the Concertación
Democrática Cubana, Cuban Democratic Convergence, five of whose leaders have been
arrested in the past few weeks.
The Cuban authorities have increasingly clamped down on signs of dissent over recent
months. On 31 December 1991, a senior Cuban official said that they would not hesitate
to act against "counter-revolutionary activities" and did not intend to change their
policy of detaining, prosecuting and jailing opponents. In June 1991, they set up
Destacamentos Populares de Respuesta Rápida, People's Rapid Response Detachments,
also known as brigades (brigadas), for which civilians were asked to volunteer. They
are under specific instructions to crack down on any signs of unrest or dissent.
Several incidents have occurred recently in which known dissidents, including human
rights activists, have been verbally and physically attacked by such groups. In some
cases, those under attack have been arrested and brought to trial and are now serving
prison sentences following conviction on charges such as illegal association
(asociación ilícita), clandestine printing (clandestinidad de impresos) and
defamation (difamación). Trials on such charges often take place within days of arrest
and access to defence lawyers is non-existent or extremely limited. If more serious
charges such as enemy propaganda (propaganda enemiga) or other crimes against state
security are brought, the detainee is often held under investigation for several
months without access to lawyers.
Page 2 of UA 22/92
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Telegrams/telexes/airmail letters:
- urging that all three be immediately and unconditionally released unless charged
with a recognizable criminal offence;
- requesting that they be humanely treated while in detention and in particular
that Joel Dueñas be granted all necessary medical treatment;
- requesting that they be allowed full access to family and lawyers.
1) President:
Dr Fidel Castro Ruz Su Excelencia / Your Excellency
Presidente del Consejo de Estado y del Consejo de Ministros
Ciudad de la Habana, Cuba
Telegrams: Presidente Castro, Havana, Cuba
Telexes: 51212 P DESP PRESID
2) Minister of the Interior:
General Abelardo Colomé Ibarra Señor Minstro / Dear Minister
Ministro del Interior
Ministerio del Interior
Plaza de la Revolución
Ciudad de la Habana, Cuba
Telegrams: Ministro Interior, Havana, Cuba
3) Head of the 10th Police Unit in Avenida de Acosta:
Señor Director de la 10a Unidad de la PNR Señor Director / Dear Sir
Avenida de Acosta
Municipio 10 de octubre
Ciudad de la Habana, Cuba
Telegrams: Director 10a Unidad de la PNR, Havana, Cuba
4) Head of Investigations at the Department of State Security:
Coronel Adalberto Rabeiro García Señor Coronel / Dear Sir
Jefe de Investigaciones
Departamento de Seguridad del Estado
Villa Marista
Ciudad de la Habana, Cuba
Telegrams: Coronel Rabeiro, Villa Marista, Havana, Cuba
5) Attorney General:
Dr Ramón de la Cruz Ochoa Señor Fiscal General / Dear Attorney General
Fiscal General de la República
Fiscalía General de la República
San Rafael 3
Ciudad de la Habana, Cuba
Telegrams: Fiscal General, Havana, Cuba
Telexes: 511456 FISGE
Information Bureau of the Human Rights Movement in Cuba
3901 S.W. 109 Ave, Apt B10
FL 33165
and to diplomatic representatives of Cuba in your country
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat, or your
section office, if sending appeals after 27 February 1992.

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