Cuba Prisoners of Conscience
Our Prisoners of Conscience
Good News From Cuba
Both of the Dundee group's Prisoners of Conscience have been released from detention as part of a general amnesty granted to 52 detainees by the Cuban authorities earlier this year. Both are now exiled in Spain.
Journalist Pablo Avila was arrested in April, 2003, and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for supporting US policy on Cuba aimed at 'destabilising the country'. Pablo intends to resume his career in Malaga and says he likes Spain but would go back to Cuba if democracy returned.
Lester Gonzales Penton was one of 6 Trade Unionists arrested in March, 2003, and sentenced to 20 years in prison for having contact with 'subversive organisations'. Lester's latest situation in Spain is unclear.
The Dundee group has been writing to Cuban Government officials for several years and whereas we are delighted both Pablo and Lester are now free, Amnesty International will continue to press Cuba to repeal any legislation which prevents its citizens exercising their basic Human Rights and so allows for their arrest and imprisonment.
CUBA: More good news, but more to do.
The cases of 6 Trade Unionist prisoners of conscience allocated to the Dundee Group, following the arrest and imprisonment of 73 human rights activists in March 2003, have now been officially closed. One was released on grounds of ill-health and the others were released earlier this year after agreeing with the Cuban Authorities to be exiled to Spain.
This is far from ideal and is indicative of the human rights abuses, particularly against freedom of speech, still taking place in Cuba and so campaigning will continue until Cuba respects freedom of expression for all its citizens.
One example of what is happening is the case of Guillermo Farinas, a journalist who was detained for several hours along with other opposition figures on 23rd. March 2011. The group were released later that day without being told why they had been detained. Farinas was a winner of the International Sakharov Prize, but he was unable to obtain an exit visa to attend the award ceremony and his chair on the platform stood empty as a mark of protest.
Another exiled journalist, Pablo Pacheco Avila who now works in Malaga, Spain, recently said, 'Continued pressure is necessary so there are no more waves of repression like those in 2003, and I hope activists in the UK understand this. Hopefully soon there will be no prisoners of conscience in my country and you will have all played a huge part in this. I thank you in the name of my people. Today I was looking at the postcards that you have all sent me over the last 7 years and how happy I feel with every single word on every card.
With love, Pablo.
For those like Pablo who found themselves imprisoned for simply exercising the basic human rights we all enjoy, we will continue our campaigning in Cuba and around the world.