Cuba: Amnesty International names five new prisoners of conscience

Just over a year since President Miguel Díaz-Canel took office, the existence of prisoners of conscience in Cuba remains a sharp indicator of how authorities there continue to restrict the fundamental rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, Amnesty International said today.

“For decades, Cuba has stifled freedom of expression and assembly by locking up people for their beliefs and opposition to the government. Over the years, the names of Cuba’s prisoners of conscience have changed, but the state’s tactics have stayed almost exactly the same,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

For decades, Cuba has stifled freedom of expression and assembly by locking up people for their beliefs and opposition to the government. Over the years, the names of Cuba’s prisoners of conscience have changed, but the state’s tactics have stayed almost exactly the same
Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International

“Sadly, we know that the five prisoners of conscience we have named today likely represent a tiny fraction of those behind bars for peacefully expressing their views. As the Cuban authorities continue to deny independent human rights monitors access to the country and its prisons, and because the state’s machinery of control maintains a profound climate of fear, there are serious barriers for Amnesty International to document such cases.”

The list of prisoners of conscience includes members of political and pro-democracy groups not recognized by the state – all of whom have been imprisoned for crimes that are either inconsistent with international law or that have been used for decades in Cuba to silence critical voices. As the executive continues to tightly control lawyers and the judiciary, there are few ways to challenge such decisions.

“The government of Díaz-Canel should focus on finding real solutions to Cuba’s problems, which include increasing scarcity of food and medicine, according to news reports. Instead, it continues to lock people up for their views”, said Erika Guevara-Rosas.

The government of Díaz-Canel should focus on finding real solutions to Cuba’s problems, which include increasing scarcity of food and medicine, according to news reports. Instead, it continues to lock people up for their views
Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Carlos Mendoza: +52 55 4145 7003 carlos.mendoza@amnesty.org