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    A Glossary Against the Deafness of Raul Castro

    A Glossary Against the Deafness of Raul Castro / Luis Felipe Rojas
    Posted on April 10, 2016

    Luis Felipe Rojas, 28 March 2016 — With mouths agape and arms extended
    to the heavens, Cubans of goodwill are still awaiting the night on which
    Raúl Castro will liberate all political prisoners and fling into the
    garbage can that judicial aberration which is the current Penal Code.

    Meanwhile, Elizardo Sánchez Santacruz, president of the Cuban Commission
    on Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCDHRN) continues
    documenting–with an artisan’s meticulousness and well-sharpened
    pencil–every blow, act of repudiation, police harrassment, and finally
    compiles the details on every Cuban sent to prison under obscure
    circumstances that appear to be politically motivated.

    CCDHRN published–mere hours after Castro’s misstep during the March 21
    press conference with Barack Obama–a current list of Cuban political
    prisoners, including first and last names, detention dates, charges,
    sentences, and a few observations. CCDHRN provided the current list to
    14ymedio two weeks prior to when the organization had planned to release
    its regular update; the General’s slip-up motivated them to issue an
    advance report.

    There are 89 political prisoners. The flimsiest causes could end up
    being up charged with aggression after having bean beaten with military
    force, or receiving a years-long sentence for an indictment of public
    disorder following an act of repudiation–if one takes into account that
    the state’s case is based on the fact that activists are labeled as ones
    who provoke “the impassioned public” with their peaceful protests.

    “The most frequent crimes for which government opponents are imprisoned
    are contempt, pre-criminal social dangerousness, resisting arrest,
    disobedience, or attack. If at the moment when a citizen is detained
    there is any violence, trying to block the blows with his hands can be
    interpreted as resistance. If in the scuffle the detainee elbows a
    police offider, this is considered an attempted attack,” Sánchez explained.

    Throughout the 2000s I visited the CCDHRN headquarters in the Miramar
    neighborhood on several occasions, to have a drink of water, or to
    access books and magazines banned by the regime. I always witnessed the
    calls for help coming in from the most diverse points of the country: a
    lady who cried for her son whose ribs were broken because he pleaded for
    medical attention; the son of a prisoner of the Black Spring who
    denounced that his father was not allowed to receive a Bible; an elderly
    man who described how his brother was sentenced for damage to property,
    when in fact the government agents banged his head against the door of
    the patrol car. In all cases, Elizardo documents, takes notes, his
    “correspondents” gather details in the field, and a final report is issued.

    “Give me the list!” shouted the old man of the olive-green oligarchy
    that day. There is such a list: it has been produced for more than 20
    years, and has served such prestigious organizations as Amnesty
    International, Human Rights Watch, Reporters Without Borders, and
    governments that have negotiated the final exile of those condemned for
    differing from Cuban communism.

    The list of political prisoners exists–as does the deafness of Raúl Castro.

    Translated by: Alicia Barraqué Ellison

    Source: A Glossary Against the Deafness of Raul Castro / Luis Felipe
    Rojas | Translating Cuba –

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