Friday, January 18, 2008

Note to the Cuban Archive Project: There Are No "Common Prisoners" In Cuba's Jails

In Cuba, there is no such thing as a "common prisoner" because due process is not available there to any prisoner and all must therefore be assumed to be innocent, even those labelled "common prisoners" by the regime, until such time as their cases are reviewed, and, if necessary, adjudicated by a de jure state which obeys the Rule of Law. Moreover, it is often the practice of the Castro regime to label as "common criminals" persons whose actions would nowhere else subject them to prosecution or imprisonment.

In a list of Cubans killed "extra-judicially" in 2007 by the regime (that, too, is a misnomer since it supposes the existence of a competent judiciary in Cuba), compiled by the Cuban Archive Project and reproduced in Babalú by rsnlk, one prisoner's death is described thusly:

Manuel Diende Rosa, common prisoner, was reported to have committed suicide by hanging on September 2, 2007 in his punishment cell at the Kilo 7 prison in Camagüey. He was on a hunger strike to demand his rights.

At the very least, Diende Rosa should have been identified as someone "alleged to be a common criminal by Fidel Castro's outlaw regime," or, better yet, his patriotic conduct and martyrdom should not have been sullied by any reference to what his verdugos claimed he was.

Laudable as is the work of the Cuban Archive Project, it should be more careful not to create extraneous distinctions betweens Cuban prisoners or Cubans in general. This is precisely what the regime would want and what they should avoid doing.

Cuba's Political Prisoners: Forgetfulness Is Never Acceptable


Charlie Bravo said...

As per my experience in Cuba, a person labeled a common criminal by the tyranny is branded as so without any legal practice, or any lawyer present, by the police when he or she is apprehended.
For example, if you write Abajo Fidel on the wall, you might be charged with defacing of state property, which is a "common criminal legal figure", even when your statement was political and therefore it could not be considered as common vandalism. Even the act of leaving Cuba is considered by the regime as a "common crime", maybe because it's common since it happens very often.... and you're sent to jail as a "common criminal". Even the convicted for petty thievery should be the object to an international legal body review, since sometimes men and women steal from the State owned farms or enterprises to feed their families. Let's also point out that in many instances the guerrillas from the Escambray were executed for "robbery, murder, and bandidismo"
There's no such a thing as a working legal system in Cuba -it's just an organized mockery of the laws, the constitution, and the general rule of civility. All laws can be twisted at will by the Ministerio Fiscal, the Judge, the police, the G2, and even "the government star witnesses". A person who distribute anticastro pamphlets, for example, can be condemned to jail for vandalism and for attempting against the public order, and then sent to purge the sentence in a "mayor rigor" facility where everybody is a political prisoner with a "common criminal" file. Those prisoners suffer the rigueurs of jail in the worst possible manner. I hope this clarifies the issue a bit.... It's like talking about extrajudicial executions. There's no independent judicial system in Cuba, and I am certainly against giving any hints of legality to the regime by suggesting so. The regime in Cuba is judge, prosecutor, witness, jailer, and ultimately, executioner and undertaker, I thought that this was a clear notion, but I see I am mistaken....

Vana said...

To have commited suicide, my ass, we all know he was murdered by the state, the real common criminals in Cuba is the regime, most in jail are political prisoners.