|This article is part of a series on the|
politics and government of
The Cuban dissident movement is a political movement in Cuba whose aim is to replace the current regime with a more democratic form of government.According to Human Rights Watch, the Cuban government represses nearly all forms of political dissent.
In the social sciences, a political movement is a social group that operates together to obtain a political goal, on a local, regional, national, or international scope. Political movements develop, coordinate, promulgate, revise, amend, interpret, and produce materials that are intended to address the goals of the base of the movement. A social movement in the area of politics can be organized around a single issue or set of issues, or around a set of shared concerns of a social group. In a political party, a political organization seeks to influence, or control, government policy, usually by nominating their candidates and seating candidates in politics and governmental offices. Additionally, parties participate in electoral campaigns and educational outreach or protest actions aiming to convince citizens or governments to take action on the issues and concerns which are the focus of the movement. Parties often espouse an ideology, expressed in a party program, bolstered by a written platform with specific goals, forming a [coalition] among disparate interests.
Cuba, officially the Republic of Cuba, is a country comprising the island of Cuba as well as Isla de la Juventud and several minor archipelagos. Cuba is located in the northern Caribbean where the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean meet. It is east of the Yucatán Peninsula (Mexico), south of both the U.S. state of Florida and the Bahamas, west of Haiti and north of both Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. Havana is the largest city and capital; other major cities include Santiago de Cuba and Camagüey. The area of the Republic of Cuba is 110,860 square kilometers (42,800 sq mi). The island of Cuba is the largest island in Cuba and in the Caribbean, with an area of 105,006 square kilometers (40,543 sq mi), and the second-most populous after Hispaniola, with over 11 million inhabitants.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) is an international non-governmental organization, headquartered in New York City, that conducts research and advocacy on human rights. The group pressures some governments, policy makers and human rights abusers to denounce abuse and respect human rights, and the group often works on behalf of refugees, children, migrants and political prisoners.
Fidel Castro came to power with the Cuban Revolution of 1959. By the end of 1960, according to Paul H. Lewis in Authoritarian Regimes in Latin America, all opposition newspaper had been closed down and all radio and television stations were in state control.Lewis states that moderate teachers and professors were purged, about 20,000 dissidents were held and tortured in prisons.
Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz was a Cuban communist revolutionary and politician who governed the Republic of Cuba as Prime Minister from 1959 to 1976 and then as President from 1976 to 2008. A Marxist–Leninist and Cuban nationalist, Castro also served as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba from 1961 until 2011. Under his administration, Cuba became a one-party communist state, while industry and business were nationalized and state socialist reforms were implemented throughout society.
The Cuban Revolution was an armed revolt conducted by Fidel Castro's revolutionary 26th of July Movement and its allies against the military dictatorship of Cuban President Fulgencio Batista. The revolution began in July 1953, and continued sporadically until the rebels finally ousted Batista on 31 December 1958, replacing his government with a revolutionary socialist state. 26 July 1953 is celebrated in Cuba as the Day of the Revolution. The 26th of July Movement later reformed along communist lines, becoming the Communist Party in October 1965.
Paul H. Lewis is Professor of Political Science at Tulane University. Among his publications are: Paraguay under Stroessner (1980); Socialism, Liberalism, and Dictatorship in Paraguay (1982); The Crisis of Argentine Capitalism (1990); Latin Fascist Elites. The Mussolini, Franco and Salazar Regimes (2003); Guerrillas and Generals, The Agony of Argentine Capitalism: From Menem to the Kirchners and Authoritarian Regimes in Latin America: Dictators, Despots, and Tyrants.
Homosexuals as well as other "deviant" groups who were barred from military conscription, were forced to conduct their compulsory military service in camps called "Military Units to Aid Production" in the 1960s, and were subjected to political "reeducation".Some of Castro's military commanders brutalized the inmates.
Military Units to Aid Production or UMAPs were agricultural labor camps operated by the Cuban government from November 1965 to July 1968 in the province of Camagüey. The UMAP camps served as a form of alternative civilian service for Cubans who could not serve in the military due to being, conscientious objectors, Christians and other religious people, homosexuals, or political enemies of Fidel Castro or his communist revolution. The language used in the title can be misleading, as pointed by historian Abel Sierra Madero, "The hybrid structure of work camps cum military units served to camouflage the true objectives of the recruitment effort and to distance the UMAPs from the legacy of forced labor." There is no official account of the internships of the UMAP's, but it has been estimated that the majority of the servicemen were conscientious objectors. Around a small portion or about 8% to 9% of the inmates probably were homosexual men, Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh-day Adventists, Catholic priests and Protestant ministers, intellectuals, farmers who resisted collectivization, as well as anyone else considered "anti-social" or "counter-revolutionary". Former Intelligence Directorate agent Norberto Fuentes estimated that of approximately 35,000 internees, 507 ended up in psychiatric wards, 72 died from torture, and 180 committed suicide. A 1967 human rights report from the Organization of American States found that over 30,000 internees are "forced to work for free in state farms from 10 to 12 hours a day, from sunrise to sunset, seven days per week, poor alimentation with rice and spoiled food, unhealthy water, unclean plates, congested barracks, no electricity, latrines, no showers, inmates are given the same treatment as political prisoners." The report concludes that the UMAP camps’ two objectives are "facilitating free labor for the state" and "punishing young people who refuse to join communist organizations." The Cuban government maintained that the UMAPs are not labor camps, but part of military service. In a 2010 interview with La Jornada, Fidel Castro admitted in response to a question about the UMAP camps that "Yes, there were moments of great injustice, great injustice!" Historically the Cuban government has presented UMAPs as a mistake, but according to Abel Sierra Madero, this institution has to be understood as part of a project of “social engineering” tailored for political and social control. Sophisticated methodologies were deployed that incorporated judicial, military, educational, medical and psychiatric apparatuses."
In nearly all areas of government, loyalty to the regime became the primary criterion for all appointments.
Department of Revolutionary Orientation (DOR) is a division of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba.
Social dangerousness is a category of anti-social behaviour on the basis of detectors of dangerousness that, in some democracy, enable the judicial authorities to justify the need for a particular control by the police authorities.
Dissent is a sentiment or philosophy of non-agreement or opposition to a prevailing idea or an entity. The term's antonyms include agreement, consensus and consent, when one party agrees to a proposition made by another.
In 2017, Cuba was described as one of only two "authoritarian regimes" in the Americas by The Economist's 2017 Democracy Index.The island had the second highest number of imprisoned journalists in the world in 2008, second only to the People's Republic of China, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), an international press organization. The military of Cuba is a central organization; it controls 60 percent of the economy and is Raúl Castro's base.
The Americas comprise the totality of the continents of North and South America. Together, they make up most of the land in Earth's western hemisphere and comprise the New World.
The Economist is an English-language weekly magazine-format newspaper owned by the Economist Group and edited at offices in London. Continuous publication began under its founder James Wilson in September 1843. In 2015, its average weekly circulation was a little over 1.5 million, about half of which were sold in the United States. Pearson PLC held a 50% shareholding via The Financial Times Limited until August 2015. At that time, Pearson sold their share in the Economist. The Agnelli family's Exor paid £287m to raise their stake from 4.7% to 43.4% while the Economist paid £182m for the balance of 5.04m shares which will be distributed to current shareholders. Aside from the Agnelli family, smaller shareholders in the company include Cadbury, Rothschild (21%), Schroder, Layton and other family interests as well as a number of staff and former staff shareholders.
The Democracy Index is an index compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), a UK-based company. Its intention is to measure the state of democracy in 167 countries, of which 166 are sovereign states and 164 are UN member states.
According to a paper published in the Harvard International Review , dissident groups are weak and infiltrated by Cuban state security. Media is totally state-controlled. Dissidents find it difficult to organize and "Many of their leaders have shown enormous courage in defying the regime. Yet, time and again, the security apparatus has discredited or destroyed them. They do not represent a major threat to the regime."
The paper Can Cuba Change? in the National Endowment for Democracy's Journal of Democracy states that about nine-tenths of the populace forms an economically and politically oppressed underclass and "Using the principles of democracy and human rights to unite and mobilize this vast, dispossessed majority in the face of a highly repressive regime is the key to peaceful change".Working people are a critical source of discontent. The only legal trade union is controlled by the government and strikes are banned. Afro-Cuban dissidents have also risen, fueled by racism in Cuba.
In 2012, Amnesty International warned that repression of Cuban dissidents was on the rise over the past two years, citing the Wilmar Villar hunger strike death, as well as the arrests of prisoners of conscience Yasmin Conyedo Riveron, Yusmani Rafael Alvarez Esmori, and Antonio Michel and Marcos Máiquel Lima Cruz.The Cuban Commission of Human Rights reported that there were 6,602 detentions of government opponents in 2012, up from 4,123 in 2011.
There are a number of opposition parties and groups that campaign for political change in Cuba. Though amendments to the Cuban Constitution of 1992 decriminalized the right to form political parties other than the Communist Party of Cuba, these parties are not permitted to engage in public political activities on the island.[ citation needed ]
During the "Black Spring" in 2003, the regime imprisoned 75 dissidents, including 29 journalists.Their cases were reviewed by Amnesty International who officially adopted them as prisoners of conscience. To the original list of 75 prisoners of conscience resulting from the wave of arrests in spring 2003, Amnesty International added four more dissidents in January 2004. They had been arrested in the same context as the other 75 but did not receive their sentences until much later. These prisoners have since been released in the face of international pressure. Tripartite talks between the Cuban government, the Catholic Church in Cuba and the Spanish government were initiated in spring 2010 in reaction to the controversial death of political prisoner Orlando Zapata Tamayo in February 2010 following a hunger strike amid reports of massive abuse at the hands of prison staff. These negotiations resulted in a July 2010 agreement that all remaining prisoners of the 'Group of 75' would be freed. Spain offered to receive those prisoners who would agree to be released and immediately exiled together with their families. Of the 79 prisoners of conscience 56 were still behind bars at the time of the agreement. Of the total group, 21 are still living in Cuba today whereas the others are in exile, most of them in Spain. The final two prisoners were released on 23 March 2011.
The Foreign Policy magazine named Yoani Sánchez one of the 10 Most Influential Intellectuals of Latin America, the only woman on the list.An article in El Nuevo Herald by Ivette Leyva Martinez, speaks to the role played by Yoani Sanchez and other young people, outside the Cuban opposition and dissidence movements, in working towards a free and democratic Cuba today:
|“||Amid the paralysis of the dissident movement, bloggers, with Yoani Sanchez in the lead, rebel artists such as the writer Orlando Luis Pardo, and musicians such as Gorki Aguila are a promising sign of growing civic resistance to the Cuban dictatorship. And el castrismo, without doubt, has taken note. Will they succeed in sparking a popular movement, or at least consciousness of the need for democracy in Cuba? Who knows. The youngest sector of Cuban society is the one least committed to the dictatorship but at the same time the most apolitical, the one most permeated with political skepticism, escapism, and other similar 'isms.' It would seem, however, that after 50 years of dictatorship, public rejection of that regime is taking on more original and independent forms. Finally, a breeze of fresh, hopeful air.||”|
On 29 March 2009, Yoani Sánchez, at Tania Bruguera's performance where a podium with an open mic was staged for people to have one minute of uncensored public speech, Sánchez was among people to publicly criticize censorship and said that "the time has come to jump over the wall of control". The government condemned the event.
Yoani Sánchez is under permanent surveillance by Cuba's police force, which camps outside her home.
On Thursday, 10 June 2010, seventy-four of Cuba's dissidents signed a letter to the United States Congress in support of a bill that would lift the US travel ban for Americans wishing to visit Cuba. The signers include blogger Yoani Sanchez and hunger striker Guillermo Farinas, as well as Elizardo Sanchez, head of Cuba's most prominent human rights group and Miriam Leiva, who helped found the Damas de Blanco, or Ladies in White, a group of wives and mothers of jailed dissidents. The letter supports a bill introduced on 23 February by Rep. Collin Peterson, a Minnesota Democrat, that would bar the president from prohibiting travel to Cuba or blocking transactions required to make such trips. It also would bar the White House from stopping direct transfers between US and Cuban banks. The signers stated that:
We share the opinion that the isolation of the people of Cuba benefits the most inflexible interests of its government, while any opening serves to inform and empower the Cuban people and helps to further strengthen our civil society.
The Center for Democracy in the Americas, a Washington-based group supporting the bill, issued a press release stating that "74 of Cuba's most prominent political dissidents have endorsed the Peterson-Moran legislation to end the travel ban and expand food exports to Cuba because in their words it is good for human rights, good for alleviating hunger, and good for spreading information and showing solidarity with the Cuban people. Their letter answers every argument the pro-embargo forces use to oppose this legislation. This, itself, answers the question 'who is speaking for the Cuban people in this debate?' - those who want to send food and Americans to visit the island and stand with ordinary Cubans, or those who don't. If Cuba's best known bloggers, dissidents, hunger strikers, and other activists for human rights want this legislation enacted, what else needs be said?"The Center also hosts English as well as the Spanish version of the letter signed by the 74 dissidents.
On 3 April 1972, Pedro Luis Boitel, an imprisoned poet and dissident, declared himself on hunger strike. After 53 days on hunger strike without receiving medical assistance and receiving only liquids, he died of starvation on 25 May 1972. His last days were related by his close friend, poet Armando Valladares. He was buried in an unmarked grave in the Cólon Cemetery in Havana.
Guillermo Fariñas did a seven-month hunger strike to protest against the extensive Internet censorship in Cuba. He ended it in Autumn 2006, with severe health problems although still conscious.Reporters Without Borders awarded its cyber-freedom prize to Guillermo Fariñas in 2006.
Jorge Luis García Pérez (known as Antúnez) has done hunger strikes. In 2009, following the end of his 17-year imprisonment, Antúnez, his wife Iris, and Diosiris Santana Pérez started a hunger strike to support other political prisoners. Leaders from Uruguay, Costa Rica, and Argentina declared their support for Antúnez.
Orlando Zapata Tamayo, an imprisoned activist and dissident, died while on a hunger strike for more than 80 days.Zapata went on the strike in protest against the Cuban government for having denied him the choice of wearing white dissident clothes instead of the designated prisoner uniform, as well as denouncing the living conditions of other prisoners. As part of his claim, Zapata was asking for the prisoners conditions to be comparable to those that Fidel Castro had while incarcerated after his 1953 attack against the Moncada Barracks.
In 2012, Wilmar Villar Mendoza died after a 50+ day hunger strike.
More than one million Cubans of all social classes have left the island to the United States,and to Spain, the UK, Canada, Mexico and other countries. Because leaving required exit permit and a substantial amount of money, most Cubans could never leave Cuban soil.
Many Cuban exiles have actively campaigned for a change of government in Cuba.
A hunger strike is a method of non-violent resistance or pressure in which participants fast as an act of political protest, or to provoke the feelings of guilt in others, usually with the objective to achieve a specific goal, such as a policy change. Most hunger strikers will take liquids but not solid food.
Prisoner of conscience (POC) is a term coined by Peter Benenson in a 28 May 1961 article for the London Observer newspaper. Most often associated with the human rights organisation Amnesty International, the term can refer to anyone imprisoned because of their race, sexual orientation, religion, or political views. It also refers to those who have been imprisoned and/or persecuted for the non-violent expression of their conscientiously held beliefs.
Human rights in Cuba are under the scrutiny of human rights organizations, who accuse the Cuban government of systematic human rights abuses, including arbitrary imprisonment and unfair trials. International human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have drawn attention to the actions of the human rights movement and designated members of it as prisoners of conscience, such as Óscar Elías Biscet. In addition, the International Committee for Democracy in Cuba led by former heads of state Václav Havel of the Czech Republic, José María Aznar of Spain and Patricio Aylwin of Chile was created to support the civic movement.
Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas was a Cuban political activist. A Roman Catholic, he founded the Christian Liberation Movement in 1987 to oppose the one-party rule of the Cuban Communist Party. He attracted international attention for organizing a petition drive known as the Varela Project, in which 25,000 signatories petitioned the Cuban government to guarantee freedom of speech and freedom of assembly as well as to institute a multi-party democracy. In recognition of his work, he received the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize and People in Need's Homo Homini Award.
Dr. Óscar Elías Biscet González, is a Cuban physician and an advocate for human rights and democratic freedoms in Cuba. He is also the founder of the Lawton Foundation.
Ladies in White is an opposition movement in Cuba founded in 2003 by wives and other female relatives of jailed dissidents. The women protest the imprisonments by attending Mass each Sunday wearing white dresses and then silently walking through the streets dressed in white clothing. The color white is chosen to symbolize peace.
Abdolfattah Soltani is an Iranian human rights lawyer and spokesman for the Defenders of Human Rights Center. He co-founded the group with Mohammad Seifzadeh and Nobel Peace Prize-winner Shirin Ebadi. Along with Ebadi, Soltani served as a lawyer for the family of slain Iranian-Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi, who was allegedly tortured and murdered in Evin Prison in July 2003. Ebadi and Soltani, along with others, also represented jailed journalist Akbar Ganji during his imprisonment and long hunger strike.
Pedro Luis Boitel was a Cuban poet and dissident who opposed the governments of both Fulgencio Batista and Fidel Castro. In 1961, the regime sentenced him to 10 years in prison.
Marta Beatriz Roque Cabello is a Cuban political dissident. She is an economist by training, and the founder as well as director of the Cuban Institute of Independent Economists. Agence France-Presse described her in 2007 as Cuba's "leading woman dissident".
Guillermo Fariñas Hernández is a Cuban doctor of psychology, independent journalist and political dissident in Cuba. He has conducted 23 hunger strikes over the years to protest various elements of the Cuban government. He has stated that he is ready to die in the struggle against censorship in Cuba.
Jorge Luis García Pérez is a human rights and democracy activist in Cuba.
Black Spring refers to the 2003 crackdown on Cuban dissidents. The government imprisoned 75 dissidents, that included 29 journalists, as well as librarians, human rights activists, and democracy activists, on the basis that they were acting as agents of the United States by accepting aid from the US government. Although Amnesty International adopted 75 Cubans as prisoners of conscience, according to Cuba "the 75 individuals arrested, tried and sentenced in March/April 2003 ... who were jailed are demonstrably not independent thinkers, writers or human rights activists, but persons directly in the pay of the US government ... those who were arrested and tried were charged not with criticizing the government, but for receiving American government funds and collaborating with U.S diplomats."
Manuel Vázquez Portal is a Cuban poet, writer and journalist known for his 2003 imprisonment.
Antonio Ramon Díaz Sánchez is a Cuban dissident. He participated in the gathering of signatures for the Varela project and was a member of the Christian Liberation Movement.
Orlando Zapata Tamayo was a Cuban mason, plumber, and political activist and prisoner who died after fasting for more than 80 days. His death received international attention, and was viewed as a significant setback in Cuba's relationship with the U.S. and the EU.
Rosa Parks Feminist Movement for Civil Rights is a human rights movement in Cuba. It is named after Rosa Parks. The movement is headed by Iris Tamara Pérez Aguilera, the wife of human rights and democracy advocate Jorge Luis García Pérez.
Darsi Ferrer Ramírez was a Cuban doctor, journalist, director of Juan Bruno Zayas Health and Human Rights Center, and also a dissident.
Anwar al-Bunni is a Syrian human rights lawyer who has defended clients such as Riad al-Turk, Riad Seif, the owner of The Lamplighter,, Kurdish protesters, and "dozens of others."
Ivonne Malleza Galano is a Cuban democracy activist who was imprisoned in 2011 by the Cuban government. Amnesty International designated her a prisoner of conscience.
Mohammad Fahad Muflih al-Qahtani is an economics professor and co-founder of the Saudi Arabian human rights organisation Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA) and, during 2011, its leader. Alkarama described al-Qahtani as "one of [the Saudi Arabian judiciary's] most eloquent and fervent critics". On 9 March 2013, al-Qahtani was sentenced to ten years in prison and ten years of travel ban after being convicted of several charges relating to his human rights activities.
|deadurl=(help) In: Café Fuerte, 22 March 2011