Number of Detained Activists in Cuba Was 674 in July, According to CCDHRN

El escritor Ángel Santiesteban junto a las Damas de Blanco en el Parque Gandhi a la salida de la iglesia de Santa Rita (Foto Luis Lázaro Guanche)
The writer Angel Santiesteban with the Ladies in White at Gandhi Park outside the church of Santa Rita. (Luis Lazaro Guanche)

During the month of July there were 674 arbitrary arrests reported on the island, according to the report released Tuesday by the  National Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCDHRN). The independent entity reported “at least 21 cases of physical assault and 71 victims of acts of repudiation orchestrated by the secret political police and paramilitary elements.”

The number of documented arrests during the seventh month of the year is the highest since June 2014, said the CCDHRN. The organization also stressed that “short duration” detentions on the island occurred in that period, leading the Western Hemisphere in terms of violations of human, civil and political rights.

The CCDHRN is pessimistic and says that “nothing indicates that this situation will change, at least in the short term.” As an example, the report describes that “the Government of Cuba asserted its influence in certain sectors of the Government of El Salvador to seek the expulsion, between July 20 and 21, of eleven peaceful Cuban dissidents officially invited by the Salvadoran government.”

However, it goes on to note that the effort failed, “Thanks to the solidarity of the democratic forces in that country and elsewhere who defended our right to participate in this conference.”

Notable in the list of detainees are the dozens of Ladies in White arrested mainly during their Sunday marches. In recent weeks the Cuban opposition and independent journalists have denounced the increase in repression.

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