July 2007: Cuban
Ambassador replies to my call for information on alleged Prisoners of Conscience in Cuban
During my visit to Cuba in August 2006, I had arranged
to send the Cuban Minister of Justice, Roberto Sotolongo, information from Amnesty
International on alleged cases of people being imprisoned in Cuban jails for no other
crime than disagreeing with the current administration (so called Prisoners of Conscience
After sending an email to the Minister in November, and
having received no reply, I sent an email and further letters to the Cuban Ambassador, René
Mujica Cantelar. I was pleased to finally receive a formal response this month.
Unfortunately the Ambassador refused to answer the allegations from Amnesty that there are
69 POCs in Cuban jails nor the specific information I provided on the cases of Pablo
Pacheco Avila, Oscar Elías Biscet González and Omar Rodríguez Saludes. The Ambassador stated:
subject of your above mentioned letters has to be considered in the context of what is for
Cuba a complex international political situation that puts her at risk. For Cuba the sole
dignifed and practical option in the matter has been to draw a line of principle and not
engage in argument about slanderous charges. While this may baffle some of Cuba's friends,
it is part of how Cuba, in defending herself from the onslaught of those advesaries,
protects herself from playing into their hands. We are confident that, in the end, the
truth will prevail."
The Ambassador's letter also
attached two press statements from the Cuban administration, one defends its Human Rights
record, and the other provides its position on perceived foreign threats to the Revolution
am dissapointed that Cuba has decided not to acknowledge the concerns of an objective and
balanced organisation such as Amnesty International. To dismiss such enquiries, I believe,
actually does a disservice to Cuba as it provides amunition for her enemies to foster
suspicion of her in the eyes of the international community.
I outline in my report of my visit to Cuba, there are some stunning successes to the
Revolution, such as the number of doctors and standard of education. I deeply admire these
achievements and believe they should serve as an example to the rest of the world. But
until Cuba becomes more open and transparent, I believe these successes will be
overshadowed by concerns that the administration does not uphold the Human Rights of its
that each view is fairly represented, the below links will take you to the Ambassador's
letter, the report of my visit to Cuba and Amnesty's assessment of the Human Rights
situation in the country.
Click here to read my report on my visit to Cuba
Cuban Ambassador letter p1, p2, p3, p4, p5, p6
Click here to read
Amnesty International's assessment of the state of Human Rights in Cuba
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