The Cuban Observatory for Human Rights (OCDH) denounced the Cuban government before the United Nations (UN) for at least 30,786 arbitrary arrests, mainly of political opponents, journalists, and independent activists in the last five years. It’s one of the Cuban communist regime’s means of keeping its population in extreme poverty and with its freedoms completely limited.

According to the data analysis carried out by the OCDH, “in the course of 5 years and 6 months (2015–June 2021), there have been 30,786 arbitrary detentions in Cuba (16,764 women and 14,022 men).” The highest incidence of arbitrary detentions occurred in the years of the so-called “thaw” between Cuba and the United States (2015–2017), while Obama was president of the United States. At the time, he considerably weakened the economic sanctions imposed on the island, indicating that the regime has never had the will to change things, despite the promises made and the benefits obtained.

“Arbitrary arrests are carried out on a regular basis by police agents and members of state security, as a method of repression and harassment against people with political activism contrary to government interests,” the report reads. 

“These acts, at times, are intended to discourage demonstrations critical of the government, to hinder the free expression of opinions and ideas, of assembly, association and other fundamental rights, as well as to prevent the promotion and defense of human rights.”

The report highlights that detentions are generally accompanied by ill-treatment and excessive use of force, even leading to torture situations such as the use of handcuffs for prolonged periods of time, detention for hours in the sun, and inside security force cars for hours without any ventilation.

As detailed above, the arrests of women exceed those of men. A considerable proportion of these women are members of the “Ladies in White,” a women’s group that fights for the release of all prisoners imprisoned for political reasons and stands up for respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms in Cuba.

The OCDH has been documenting another type of repressive pattern of the Cuban regime, which constitutes a constant modality of arbitrary detention: it consists of illegally detaining human rights activists, journalists, and independent artists in private homes. This type of mechanism is a clear violation of freedom of movement and, above all, a form of illegal deprivation of liberty to prevent the exercise of other rights.

This method of detention has also been recently denounced as a common practice carried out by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) against dissidents to terrorize and silence their citizens. 

According to a recent report published by the human rights group Safeguard Defenders, the Chinese Communist regime is widely developing the use of a system that amounts to “state-sanctioned mass abduction” to terrorize and silence individuals, including foreign nationals such as basketball player Harper.

Harper, a professional basketball forward who’s played mostly internationally, spent eight months in what China calls “residential surveillance in a designated location” after he says he witnessed an altercation between a man and a woman in Shenzen in Jan. 2020.

This type of house arrest and illegal detention in Cuba did not result in the regime’s elimination of the prolonged detentions routinely carried out against political prisoners. It even included a category where thousands of civilians are imprisoned under the charge of “pre-criminals.” 

This category refers to people explicitly convicted without having been found guilty of having committed any crime but who present a potential risk of doing so in the future, according to the Communist Party.

The Cuban NGO concluded its accusatory statement by pointing out that the Communist Party’s objective is “to discourage protests critical of the government, to block the free expression of opinions and ideas, the freedoms of assembly, association and other fundamental rights, as well as to prevent the promotion and defense of human rights.”

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