Connect to share and comment

A new Castro, but the same old Cuba

It's straight out of Orwell.

The Cuban government of Raul Castro has kept up the repression of the Cuban people through a Criminal Code known as “dangerousness.”

According to a new report released by Human Rights Watch today, this code allows authorities to imprison individuals before they have committed any crime, on the suspicion that they are likely to commit an offense in the future.

In other words, the “dangerousness” provision is defining as “dangerous” any behavior that contradicts Cuba’s socialist norms. Orwell’s protagonist Winston Smith in 1984 would absolutely recognize such a law.

The 123-page report by Human Rights Watch, “New Castro, Same Cuba,” documents how scores of people in Cuba are being locked up for exercising their fundamental freedoms and how many more political prisoners arrested during Fidel Castro’s rule are being left to languish in detention.

Rather than dismantle Cuba’s repressive machinery, Raul Castro has kept it firmly in place and fully active, the report says. 

“In his three years in power, Raul Castro has been just as brutal as his brother," said Jose Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch. “Cubans who dare to criticize the government live in perpetual fear, knowing they could wind up in prison for merely expressing their views.”  

Based on a fact-finding mission to Cuba and more than 60 in-depth interviews, Human Rights Watch’s Nik Steinberg led a team of researchers that have documented more than 40 cases in which the government has imprisoned individuals under the “dangerousness” provision for exercising their basic rights.