NEW YORK — The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) calls on the Cuban government to stop raiding, beating, and arresting members of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU). Since December 2016, Cuban security agents have raided over 45 homes of UNPACU members.
During the raids, state agents confiscated all computers and cellphones they found and detained over a dozen activists and coordinators. UNPACU is a civil society organization founded by dissident José Daniel Ferrer that advocates for democracy in Cuba.
“The Cuban dictatorship fears civil society because it threatens the totalitarian rule they have imposed by force for more than half a century. UNPACU is today one of the most active dissident organizations on the island, which makes it an obvious target for the regime,” said HRF’s president, Thor Halvorssen. “These attacks on dozens of UNPACU members seek to terrorize human rights defenders across the island, and to crush one of Cuba’s leading prodemocracy organizations.”
According to an UNPACU spokesperson, the security agents typically enter the members’ houses at dawn by claiming to have search warrants for specific items, such as computers and “political propaganda.” Then, the officers confiscate all technological equipment, medicines, food, and cash without authorization. On one occasion, security agents even confiscated a freezer and tableware. Police have arrested several activists and coordinators during the raids, including Liettis Rachel Reyes who was pregnant at the time of her arrest. To date, there are more than 50 UNPACU members in prison across Cuba for exercising their freedoms of expression and assembly.
“After the death of Fidel Castro, the Cuban regime amped up its crackdown on dissidents and civil society in Cuba. Today, Cuban democracy activists face more danger than ever when they dare to express dissenting opinions,” said Halvorssen. “Cuban dissidents have faced the regime’s cruelty for years and have never backed down. They are determined to see democracy in Cuba — but they will need our support.”
The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that promotes and protects human rights globally, with a focus on closed societies.
Contact: Prachi Vidwans, (212) 246-8486, [email protected]
Condemn the Cuban regime’s arbitrary arrests and raids against UNPACU members.
Anayansi Rodríguez Camejo, Ambassador, Cuban Permanent Mission at the United Nations
Address: 315 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY, 10016
Telephone: (212) 689-7215
Fax: (212) 689 9073
Email: [email protected]