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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06HAVANA13740
2006-07-05 14:50:00
CONFIDENTIAL
US Interests Section Havana
Cable title:  

CUBA HUMAN RIGHTS ROUNDUP: JULY 5, 2006

Tags:   PHUM  KDEM  SOCI  CU 
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VZCZCXYZ0029
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHUB #3740/01 1861450
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 051450Z JUL 06
FM USINT HAVANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0957
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES
RUEHWH/WESTERN HEMISPHERIC AFFAIRS DIPL POSTS
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
						C O N F I D E N T I A L HAVANA 013740 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE DEPT FOR WHA/CCA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/05/2016
TAGS: PHUM KDEM SOCI CU
SUBJECT: CUBA HUMAN RIGHTS ROUNDUP: JULY 5, 2006

Classified By: COM Michael Parmly for Reason 1.4(d).



1. (C) Summary: The number of documented political prisoners
in Cuba dropped by four percentage points over the past six
months, as the Cuban Government stepped up its use of
less-scrutinized forms of control, including warnings,
beatings and "acts of repudiation." Government-directed
thugs held one such act June 27 aimed at Julia Cecilia
Delgado of the Cuban Liberal Party. The GOC opened retail
stores in front of the home of freed 75er Felix Bonne, to
encourage neighbors' participation in acts of repudiation
against him, but to date people have only shopped. Martha
Beatriz Roque met with two visiting Uruguayan senators.
Oswaldo Paya rejected the Russian and Chinese transition
models, criticized "savage capitalism," and wished U.S.
students would rally in support of Cuba's political
prisoners. State Security agents harassed the wife of
dissident doctor Darsi Ferrer. Some 20 dissidents took part
in a USINT-arranged videoconference June 29 with former CIA
analyst Brian Latell. End Summary.



2. (C) Over the past six months, the number of documented
political prisoners in Cuba fell from 333 to 316, according
to a not-yet-released report by Elizardo Sanchez's Cuban
Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation.
(Note: Another, less-credible source reports that 346
political prisoners are currently held. End Note.) Sanchez
said the fact that the GOC has lowered the number of
political prisoners for the first time in at least three
years reflects the GOC's desire to bolster its international
image. He said the GOC is using other harsh tactics to keep
dissidents in line, including more "acts of repudiation,"
beatings, warnings, interrogations and convictions for
"dangerousness."

GOON SQUAD COMES CALLING


--------------------------





3. (C) On June 27, USINT received a heads-up call stating
that an act of repudiation was underway, aimed at Julia
Cecilia Delgado of the outlawed Cuban Liberal Party. Poloff
and visiting GAO inspectors drove there; when we approached,
two thuggish Communist militants hurried to the home's
doorway, blocking access. One wrote down our license plate
number. Six other thugs quickly arrived, and we drove away
to another planned meeting. Later, Delgado and other
dissidents reported that the militants had entered the home
and threatened her.

BONNE AND ROQUE


--------------------------





4. (C) Felix Bonne of the Assembly to Promote Civil Society
(APSC), one of the 75 activists jailed in March 2003 (and
subsequently freed on health grounds), told us June 29 that
the GOC has failed to turn neighbors against him. Bonne,

whose backyard hosted a major dissident gathering in May
2005, said the GOC recently set up four shops in front of his
house. He said the sandwich kiosk, vegetable stand,
second-hand clothing store and tobacco outlet are aimed at
attracting neighbors to "acts of repudiation" targeting
Bonne. He chuckled and explained, "My neighbors hate the
Communists, so what they do is come and buy some cigarettes
or whatever but don't take part in the act of repudiation."
APSC leader Martha Beatriz Roque told us that on June 27, she
received a visit at home by two Uruguayan senators looking
into Cuba's human rights situation. Roque did not identify
them but said they left the island with a clear understanding
of what Cuban dissidents are up against.

PAYA REJECTS RUSSIAN, CHINESE MODELS


--------------------------





5. (C) Oswaldo Paya of the Christian Liberation Movement
(MCL) and his lieutenant, Minervo Shil, met with us at length
on June 27. They said they had witnessed part of the act of
repudiation against Delgado, and confirmed that some of the
participants were State Security agents. On another front,
Paya said the Russian and Chinese transition models would not
work for Cuba. "We want to avoid the Russian model, in which
the property was turned over to the nomenclature, which
became the new mafia," he said. "The Chinese changed their
system and may have opened a bunch of markets for the Chinese
hierarchy, but the Chinese are still slaves." Paya also
criticized what he called "savage capitalism," and said a
future, democratic GOC will have to institutionalize such
rights as universal medical care and the prevention of
post-Castro housing evictions. "We don't want people to go
to a clinic and hear, 'Sorry, you have no money and we've
been privatized'."

FOREIGN SUPPORT CRUCIAL


--------------------------





6. (C) Paya said resolutions passed in the U.S. Congress and
European Parliament calling for the liberation of Cuba's
political prisoners are needed. "But what would be even more
profound, exponentially more important, would be a million
university students saying the same thing at a rally on the
streets of Washington," he said. Paya complained that many
journalists are criticizing his organization's "Program for
All Cubans" document - a plan for a peaceful transition to
democracy - "not because of its content, but because of its
existence." He said that because critics were unable to find
fault with the Program, they were attacking its creators.

DISSIDENT'S WIFE HARASSED


--------------------------





7. (C) Two State Security agents paid a June 23 visit to the
home of dissident doctor Darsi Ferrer and when they found he
was not home, they asked his wife, Yusnaimy Jorge, whether
she would prefer to be questioned at a hotel. Jorge, sensing
a sexual undercurrent to the question, told them she would
leave with them for questioning only when they produced an
official citation. The agents eventually left, but on June
28, Ferrer was summoned to court, where he was threatened
with imprisonment.

LATELL VIDEOCONFERNCE WELL RECEIVED


--------------------------





8. (C) Some 20 dissidents, including four freed 75ers, joined
dozens of diplomats and journalists at a USINT-arranged
videoconference June 29 with former CIA analyst Brian Latell,
author of a book on the Cuban leadership. Afterwards, the
dissidents noted that frank discussion on Fidel and Raul
Castro is taboo in all other settings, and said they found
the event fascinating. Some of the post-event chatter
focused on Raul's succession prospects, and whether his
perceived pragmatism signals the potential opening of a space
for state-led entrepreneurship in Cuba.

FARINAS HUNGER STRIKE CONTINUES


--------------------------





9. (C) Dissident journalist Guillermo Farinas stretched his
hunger strike to Day 155 on July 5. He continued to receive
intravenous fluids at a Santa Clara hospital and to demand
Internet access. The GOC maintained tight restrictions on
his telephone and visitation rights. The Italian Political
Counselor told us that state telecom ETECSA, an Italian joint
venture, approached Farinas with an offer to equip his home
with connectivity, but that Farinas turned it down, saying
his hunger strike was for open access for the public, not
just himself. Farinas' girlfriend, Noelia Pedraza, told us
that Farinas was planning to intensify his hunger strike by
rejecting any IV fluid that contains protein, but this could
not be confirmed.
PARMLY