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UA 296/94 - Cuba: prisoners of conscience: Jorge Omar Lorenzo Pimienta, Dr Alberto Rodriguez Garcia, Dr Jesus Faisel Iglesias, Dr Rene Gomez Manzano, Rene del Pozo, Gerardo Valdes, Fernando Velazquez Medina, Xiomara Gonzalez, Soldilina del Pozo, Heriberto

, N° d'index: AMR 25/010/1994

The above-named 19 people were arrested by members of the security forces in Havana on 6 August 1994 in an apparent round-up of government critics and human rights activists. The authorities have acknowledged that some 300 people are in detention in connection with events during the preceding day or so but unofficial reports suggest that some 500 people may have been arrested. AI is calling for the immediate and unconditional release of these people.

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 25/10/94
Distr: UA/SC
UA 296/94 Prisoners of Conscience 11 August 1994
CUBA: Jorge Omar LORENZO PIMIENTA, Interim President of the
Consejo Nacional por los Derechos Civiles
National Council for Civil Rights
Dr Alberto RODRíGUEZ GARCIA, CNDC member
Dr Jesús FAISEL IGLESIAS, lawyer and CNDC member
Dr René GÓMEZ MANZANO, lawyer and CNDC member
René DEL POZO, spokesman for the Coordinadora de
Organizaciones de Derechos Humanos de
Cuba (CODEHU), Coordinating Group of Cuban Human Rights
Gerardo VALDÉS, CODEHU member
Fernando VELAZQUEZ MEDINA, recently released prisoner of
Xiomara GONZÁLEZ, wife of Fernando Velázquez Medina
Soldilina DEL POZO, medical surgeon
Sara FRANCO LEMON, member of the unofficial Confederación
de Trabajadores Democráticos, Confederation of
Democratic Workers
Dra María VALDÉS ROSADO, President of the unofficial
Movimiento Cubano Demócrata Cristiano (MCDC),
Cuban Christian Democrat Movement
David BUZZI (Junior)
Aída Rosa JIMENÉZ, President of the Partido Cívico
Democrático, Civic Democratic Party
Nélida VERA
Gustavo CANO
Amnesty International has received the names of 19 people who were arrested
by members of the security forces in Havana on 6 August 1994 in an apparent
round-up of known government critics and human rights activists. The
authorities have acknowledged that some 300 people are in detention in
connection with a series of events that had taken place over the preceding
day or so. However, unofficial sources believe that some 500 may have been
arrested. Some of those under arrest, including the above, are believed to
be prisoners of conscience who had not been involved in the violent events
but were targeted in reprisal for their known anti-government views. It is
not clear where they are being held though some detainees were reportedly shown
on Cuban television apparently being held in some kind of prison complex.
Members of the National Council for Civil Rights in Cuba are believed to have
been particularly singled out because of their work in trying to document the
large numbers of people who have drowned trying to leave Cuba illegally by
sea. The President of the group, Francisco Chaviano, was arrested on 7 May
and is currently under investigation at State Security headquarters reportedly
accused of revealing state security secrets (see UA 186/94 (AMR 25/05/94, 11
May 1994) and follow-up AMR 25/08/94, 2 August 1994). Amnesty International
believes him to be a prisoner of conscience. Most of the others named above
are known to be active members of unofficial political and human rights groups.
Over 5,000 people trying to flee Cuba illegally have been picked up by US Coast
Guards during 1994. In the wake of a spate of attempted armed hijackings of
local ferries by people wishing to leave the country illegally in which two
policemen are believed to have died, violent clashes took place on 5 August
in central Havana between anti-government protesters and police and
pro-government groups. Several thousand people had reportedly gathered along
the Havana seafront, many apparently hoping that other boats would be hijacked
and that they would be able to board them and reach the USA. When this did
not occur and refusing to obey police orders to disperse, the crowd reportedly
attacked the security forces with sticks and stones while shouting
anti-government slogans and proceeded to break shop windows and loot some shops
in the centre of Havana. The police reportedly fired repeatedly into the air
to force them to disperse. Many people were arrested, including, according
to some reports, innocent bystanders.
Similar incidents were also reported in other parts of the city where special
armed troops were said to have been called in. In response to the unrest,
the authorities mobilised large numbers of supporters, including the Rapid
Response Brigades (Brigadas de Respuesta Rápida), groups of volunteers set
up in 1991 to confront any signs of "counter-revolutionary" activity. Many
of these were said to be armed with sticks and metal tubing. They reportedly
attacked the demonstrators, as well as anyone who did not appear to support
the government. President Castro said that if "counter-revolutionaries"
caused further disturbances in the capital, the people themselves would deal
with them without firing shots ("sin tiros"). However, if the police were
attacked with weapons, they would have to defend themselves. The Chief of
Staff of the Armed Forces also called on "Havana patriots" to be on the alert
to confront any "counter-revolutionary" activity.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes and airmail letters:
- urging that those named above be released immediately and unconditionally
on the grounds that they are prisoners of conscience who have been targeted
simply for their legitimate activities in defence of human and civil rights;
- requesting that they be granted immediate access to lawyers;
- requesting that their relatives be immediately informed of where they are
being held and be permitted to visit them;
- urging that all members of non-violent political and human rights groups
be permitted to carry out their legitimate activities without interference
from the authorities.
1) President:
Dr Fidel Castro Ruz
Presidente de los Consejos de Estado
y de Ministros
La Habana, Cuba
Telegrams: Presidente Castro, Havana, Cuba
Telex: 511122 / 511464 / 512950
Fax: + 53 7 333085 / + 53 7 335261 [These telex and fax numbers are for the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs - please ask them to forward your message to the
Salutation: Señor Presidente / Dear President
2) Attorney General:
Dr Juan Escalona Reguera
Fiscal General de la República
Fiscalía General de la República
San Rafael 3
La Habana, Cuba
Telegrams: Fiscal General, Havana, Cuba
Telex: 511456 fisge
Fax: + 53 7 333164
Salutation: Sr Fiscal General / Dear Attorney General
3) Minister of Justice:
Dr Carlos Amat Forés
Ministro de Justicia
Ministerio de Justicia
CAlle 0 # 216, 8º piso
e/ 23 y Humboldt, Vedado
La Habana, Cuba
Telegrams: Ministro Justicia, Havana, Cuba
Telex: 511331
Salutation: Sr Ministro / Dear Minister
4) Department of State Security (Villa Marista)
Coronel Adalberto Rabeiro García
Jefe del Centro de Investigaciones
Departamento de Seguridad del Estado
Villa Marista
La Víbora
La Habana, Cuba
Telegrams: CoronelGarcía, La Víbora, La Habana, Cuba
Fax: + 53 7 408036
Tel: + 53 7 403535
Salutation: Sr Ministro / Dear Minister
Minister of Foreign Affairs:
Sr Roberto Robaina González
Ministro de Relaciones Exteriores
Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores
Calzada No. 360
La Habana, Cuba
Faxes: + 53 7 333085 / + 53 7 335261
National Union of Jurists:
Dra Zenaida Osorio Vizcaina
Unión Nacional de Juristas de Cuba
Calle 21, No. 552, esq. D
Apartado 4161
La Habana 4, Cuba
and to diplomatic representatives of Cuba accredited to your country
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 21 September 1994.

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