EspañolOn February 5, Cuban police arrested 12 activists who were demonstrating in front of the National Assembly in Havana’s Playa municipality against the island’s “pre-criminal danger to society law.”
The dissidents also demanded that the Cuban government respect international agreements on human rights, release political prisoners, and hold free and fair elections.
According to Article 73 of Cuba’s Penal Code, citizens can be arrested for “dangerousness” or “anti-social behavior” through regular “acts of violence or provocation … or damaging the rules of coexistence, disturbing community order, living off the work of others, or practicing socially reprehensible habits.”
Those judged guilty of being in a “dangerous state” can face therapy, reeducation, and monitoring or detention by the National Revolutionary Police (PNR) for up to four years, “depending on the severity of the danger posed by the individual and the possibility of reeducation.”
Among the detained were representatives from the National Front of Civic Resistance, who promote peaceful resistance in Cuba as a means for political change.
“The protest only lasted 20 minutes, because they were arrested and taken to different police stations,” opposition leader Ángel Juan Moya told Martí Noticias.
Moya reported via Twitter that National Front coordinator Hugo Damián Prieto went missing after the demonstration, saying that his home was under guard by state intelligence police (DSE) and PNR officers.
Local activist Antonio Rodiles revealed the names of other demonstrators arrested: Leudis Reyes, Lázaro Mendoza, José Pompa, Luis Domínguez, Andrés Domínguez, Ernesto Fonseca, Ricardo Luna, Luis López, Reinaldo Rodríguez, Francisco Garcia, and Lázaro José de la Noval.
Ernesto Oliva, a member of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) based in Santiago de Cuba, told the PanAm Post of the dangers that political dissidents are exposed to with this law.
“The pre-criminal danger law is based on assumptions, without evidence, that a person is likely to commit crimes, and mandates a sentence of up to four years in prison, quoting the existing Penal Code,” said Oliva.
US Congress Hears Cuban Complaints
On the same day in Washington DC, the US Congress heard three Cuban opposition leaders discuss the Caribbean nation’s human-rights situation.
Berta Soler, leader of the non-violent opposition group Ladies in White, Jorge Luis García Pérez (also known as “Antúnez”), leader of the Civic Resistance Movement in Cuba, and Sara Marta Fonseca, an activist and political refugee in the United States spoke with the House of Representatives’ Human Rights Subcommittee.
“Right now, several dissidents on the island who were demonstrating for freedom and democracy are being repressed,” Antúnez told the committee. He also rejected deeper diplomatic ties between President Barack Obama and the government of Cuban President Raúl Castro, arguing that it would open the door to “neocastrismo.”
Translated by Daniel Duarte and Rebeca Morla. Edited by Laurie Blair.