HAVANA – The Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation on Tuesday reported that in the first four months of 2016 there have been at least 5,351 arbitrary and politically-motivated arrests on the communist island.
“This confirms the ultra-repressive policy, adopted at the highest level of the island’s government, launched to try and silence dissident voices and any peaceful form of public demonstration of nonconformity,” said the dissident group in its monthly report.
The report acknowledges “the impossibility of enumerating the acts of repression and the climate of intimidation against all of society, a victim – in addition – of massive disinformation and propaganda campaigns” on the part of the government.
Political repression in Cuba “is not limited to the brief arbitrary arrests,” the commission said, citing as examples the 82 Cubans imprisoned for “crimes against the state.”
The commission mentions “four other women who are in prison temporarily after being arrested on April 15,” adding that these prisoners are “four militants of the Patriotic Union of Cuba who ... shouted anti-government slogans in the vicinity of the Capitol” in Havana.
The commission also said that it will “immediately” request “their international designation as prisoners of conscience, just like 20 other peaceful political prisoners.”
In addition, it will continue to demand “the release, for purely humanitarian reasons, of 22 other inmates designated counterrevolutionary prisoners who are being held in the Castro prisons for between 13 and 24 years.”
The dissident organization is the only group on the island to tally and publish figures on these incidents in Cuba.
The Cuban government, meanwhile, holds dissidents to be “counterrevolutionaries” and “mercenaries.”