Last Updated: Wednesday, 17 January 2018, 20:36 GMT

Cuba: Description of "Frank-Grupo DDHH", group of doctors working for human rights, named after Frank País; treatment of members

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 25 March 2004
Citation / Document Symbol CUB42501.E
Reference 2
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Cuba: Description of "Frank-Grupo DDHH", group of doctors working for human rights, named after Frank País; treatment of members, 25 March 2004, CUB42501.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/41501c021c.html [accessed 18 January 2018]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Information on "Frank - Grupo DDHH" could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate. However, information on the Partido Democrático 30 de Noviembre "Frank País" (PDTN) (Democratic Party 30th of November "Frank País" or DP-30-N) obtained mostly from the party's website, is included below.

The PDTN was founded in Cuba on 13 September 1991 under the inspiration of two national historical figures, Frank País and José Antonio Echevarría who fought for freedom and democracy in Cuba (DP-30-N 2003a). The party hopes to bring an end to Fidel Castro's regime through non-violent means (ibid.; Siglo XXI 13 Dec. 2000). Banned by the present Cuban government, the DP-30-N proposes "civil resistance, civil disobedience, and the denunciation of human ... rights violations" in order to achieve its main objectives, namely, "a representative democracy, a multi-party political system, social justice, ... a free market system, ... [and] reconstruction of the nation" (DP-30-N 2003a).

The DP-30-N engages in a wide range of activities (DP-30-N 2003b). Besides its denunciation of human rights violations, state repression, and lack of freedom, the party seeks to educate Cubans about the benefits of democratic change, cooperate with like-minded parties and media both within and outside of Cuba, conduct public opinion polls, start petitions (to protect human rights and the rights of political prisoners) and devise a political platform in anticipation of an eventual change in government (ibid.). The party' is headquartered at Baraguá (CubaNet 18 Jan. 2000), and is currently led by president Rafael Ibarra Roque (DP-30-N 2003c).

Major human rights organizations have reported on the treatment of various members of the DP-30-N (AI 13 May 2002; HRW June 1999, sect. 4; PRODOS Mar. 2001). August 1997 saw the conviction and sentencing of DP-30-N member Luis Mario Pared Estrada to one year's imprisonment for "dangerousness" (HRW 1998). Another member, Maritza Lugo Fernández, acting vice-president of DP-30-N (ABC 1998), was sentenced in June 1997 to two years' house arrest for bribery after having "conspired to bribe a guard at the Unit 1580 Prison in Havana Province ... to bring a tape recorder into the prison" (HRW June 1999, sect. 4). Human Rights Watch alleges "Cuban authorities, who often were frustrated by prisoners' outspoken criticism of prison conditions and abuses, apparently targeted ... Lugo Fernández in order to prevent the dissemination of information about Cuban prisons" (ibid.). In December 1998, Lugo Fernández was arrested along with another activist from her party before they reached a Havana meeting of activists to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (ABC 11 Dec. 1998). She was arrested again in December 2000 when she attended another demonstration to celebrate this declaration, and was jailed without trial (AI 13 May 2002).

In March 2001, it was reported that "prisoner of conscience" Maritza Lugo Fernández (ibid.; PRODOS 2001) had been suffering from a "terrible hygienic situation" since her December 2000 incarceration in the "Manto Negro" prison (ibid.). According to Lugo Fernández, prison conditions were so bad as to constitute a "cruel, inhumane and degrading" punishment (trato cruel, inhumano o degradante) (AI 13 May 2002). After three months of detention, Lugo Fernández had still not been charged with any crime, and her husband, Rafael Ibarra Roque, was serving a twenty-year sentence in another prison (ibid.) for sabotage (ibid.). The DP-30-N maintains that Ibarra Roque was "savagely beaten when Communist authorities forced him to live with dangerous criminals," as political prisoners must share cells with criminals (DP-30-N 2003d). Maritza Lugo Fernández was released from "Manto Negro" in April 2001 (AI 13 May 2002).

According to the DP-30-N, Amado Ruiz Moreno, a local provincial party delegate, was sentenced to three years in prison after an allegedly unfair trial, in which he did not have access to any friends or relatives and in which no witnesses testified against him (DP-30-N 28 Sept. 2001).

In November 2000, the DP-30-N's national coordinator Marcos Lazaro Leon Torres was arbitrarily (arbitrariamente) arrested in his Havana home for planning to participate in a peaceful commemoration of the incarceration of Cuba's first prisoner of conscience (preso de conciencia), Dr. Oscar E. Biscet (DP-30-N 2000). In the same month, several DP-30-N members were detained while attempting to publicly commemorate the day of their party's creation (ibid.).

In January 2003, DP-30-N delegate Ramón Suárez and his wife Annia Hernández, were detained because of their alleged participation in the commemoration of José Martí (DP-30-N 2003h), a Cuban patriotic figure. In December 2003, a man in charge of Religious Affairs for the DP-30-N was assaulted in the street following his release from prison (DP-30-N 2003e). He believed the assailants were members of the government's paramilitary, since they were shouting pro-Castro slogans (ibid.).

On 2 March 2004, members of DP-30-N called upon all families of political prisoners to join the mother of Luis Campos Corrales in the hunger strike to protest her son's incarceration (DP-30-N 2003f). Campos himself was on a hunger strike to protest his inhumane treatment by Cuban authorities (ibid.). DP-30-N maintains that Corrales is a political prisoner sentenced to 20 years in prison for peaceful anti-Castro demonstration, and he must endure very harsh prison conditions (DP-30-N 2003g).

Freedom of expression, association, and assembly are limited under federal law, and Cuban authorities continue to arrest prisoners of conscience and harass critics of the government (AI 2003). Among the measures used to punish suspected dissenters were "detention, frequent summonses, threats, eviction, loss of employment, and restrictions on movement" (ibid.). As of 2003, Amnesty International had not been allowed to visit Cuba since 1988 (ibid.). In March 2003, the government unleashed a strong offensive against "non-violent dissidents, independent journalists, human rights advocates, independent librarians and others brave enough to challenge the government's monopoly on truth" (HRW 16 Apr. 2003).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

ABC Madrid. 11 December 1998. "Cuba: Dissidents Arrested Prior to Paris Human Rights Event." Dialog.

Amnesty International (AI). 2003. Amnesty International Report 2003. "Cuba." [Accessed 17 Mar. 2004]

_____. 13 May 2002. "La situación de los derechos humanos en Cuba." [Accessed 5 Mar. 2004]

CubaNet. 18 January 2000. "Comunicado del Partido Democrático 30 de Noviembre 'Frank País'." [Accessed 9 Mar. 2004]

Human Rights Watch (HRW). 16 April 2003. "Crackdown Against Dissidents in Cuba." [Accessed 17 Mar. 2004]

_____. 1999. "Cuba's Repressive Machinery: Human Rights Forty Years After the Revolution." [Accessed 15 Mar. 2004]

_____. 1998. Human Rights Watch World Report 1998. "Cuba." [Accessed 15 Mar. 2004]

Movimiento 30 de Noviembre (DP-30-N), New Jersey. 2003a. "About the Democratic Party 30th of November 'Frank País'." [Accessed 15 Mar. 2004]

_____. 2003b. "Breve historia del Partido 30 de Noviembre." [Accessed 15 Mar. 2004]

_____. 2003c. "Reestructurada la Directiva Nacional del PD-30-N [Accessed 15 Mar. 2004]

_____. 2003d. "The Cuban Communist Government Must Separate Political Prisoners from Common Criminals." [Accessed 15 Mar. 2004]

_____. 2003e. "The Following Are Several Cases That Prove Castro's Revenge Against His Political Opponents." [Accessed 15 Mar. 2004]

_____. 2003f. "Ayunantes en solidaridad con Luis Campos Corrales." [Accessed 15 Mar. 2004]

_____. 2003g. "Muere lentamente Luis Campos Corrales." [Accessed 15 Mar. 2004]

_____. 2003h. "News: 2003." [Accessed 15 Mar. 2004]

_____. 2001. "News: 2001." [Accessed 15 Mar. 2004]

_____. 2000. "News: 2000." [Accessed 15 Mar. 2004]

PRODOS Institute Inc., Richmond South, Australia. 27 March 2001. "Inside Cuba: March 2001 Archives."

SigloXXI. 13 December 2000. Comité cubano pro-derechos humanos. "Aportes cubanos a los temas de la disidencia." [Accessed 15 Mar. 2004]

Additional Sources Consulted

The Center for a Free Cuba, Movimiento 30 de Noviembre

Internet Sites, including: Alianza Patriótica Cubana, BBC Mundo, The Economist, El Economista, European Country of Origin Network (ECOI), Freedom House, Granma Internet, Juventud Rebelde, Miami Herald, No Castro, La Nueva Cuba, Opciones, Periódico 26, Prensa Latina, Physicians for Human Rights, United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR), United States Department of State, World News Connection (WNC)

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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