Weekly Report - 4 February 2021 (WR-21-05)

CUBA: New convictions raise eyebrows

“The harshest conviction for a political crime since the Black Spring of 2003.” Alluding to a notorious crackdown under the government, then led by the late Fidel Castro (1959-2008), in which 75 dissidents were imprisoned, Spain-based NGO Observatorio Cubano de Derechos Humanos (OCDH) was responding to hefty prison sentences recently handed down to three dissidents for allegedly vandalising busts of José Martí and other national heroes. The convictions follow calls by OCDH and other groups for the culture minister, Alpidio Alonso Grau, to face sanctions over acts of repression, and again suggest that hopes for dialogue and an improvement in freedom of expression, fanned by a rare protest in November to denounce government repression and censorship [WR-20-48], were premature.

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