From EFE: “Political arrests on rise in Cuba, opposition says”

The intensification of “low level” political repression in Cuba in the last year or so is disturbing. It reverses the mild “net” tendency towards greater liberalization – with fits and starts, and ups and downs – that I thought I saw occurring some time ago. (see Freedom of Expression, Economic Self-Correction and Self-Renewal.)

(EFE) Published December 19, 2011

Havana –  The opposition Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation said Monday that in December there have been 388 temporary detentions for political reasons in Cuba.

“We are very disturbed by the increase of what is called ‘low intensity’ political repression consisting of being kept in custody for hours, days or weeks,” Elizardo Sanchez, spokesman for the illegal but tolerated commission, told foreign correspondents.

“We have absolutely confirmed – up to yesterday, Dec. 18 – 388 detentions for political reasons, many of them violent,” he said.

Sanchez said that the political, economic and cultural situation and that of civil rights in Communist-ruled Cuba “continue to deteriorate.”

As an example of his complaint he presented the case of Henry Perales, who appeared at the same press conference to report that he was violently arrested and jailed by police together with a group of dissidents when they tried to carry out a peaceful march on Dec. 2 in the eastern town of Palma Soriano.

Perales, 27, said that he and his friends were beaten by security agents and, in his case, by the driver of the bus they put him in.

“When I got on (the bus) I yelled ‘Long live human rights!’ The driver had a tool in his hand, he struck me with it and when I called him a murderer he hit me again,” Perales said.

He said police took him to a medical post where he was given nine stitches to close the wounds caused by the blows. Afterwards he was jailed for nearly five days and was later released without charges.

Perales said he intended to present a “formal accusation” against the bus driver, and Sanchez confirmed that the commission will aid the dissident in his efforts to obtain justice.

Elizardo Sanchez Santacruz, Director of the Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation

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