The opposition Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation on Monday said that in January 2014 there were at least 1,052 politically motivated arbitrary arrests on the Communist-ruled island.
In its first monthly report about repression this year, the commission said that the arrests had as their main aim “to silence dissident voices” during the summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, or CELAC, held last week in Havana.
During that period, “thousands of officers of the secret political police, other repressive bodies and parapolice elements” were deployed and hundreds of opposition figures were subjected to de facto house arrest, commission chairman Elizardo Sanchez said.
“Police kidnappings predominated, (and) the whereabouts of the detainees was not reported (and they were) not permitted to communicate right away, via telephone, with their relatives or attorneys,” the commission said in a statement.
The group said that 179 dissidents were “physically attacked” last month, while more than 300 others were subjected to “forms of harassment” such as vandalism at their homes.
Sanchez said that the number of arrests in January was similar to that registered in December, adding that “there is no sign that the government is thinking about reducing the repression of the citizens who dare to dissent.”
However, he said that “one may hope” that the Cuban government will respond positively to the request by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon for Havana to ratify the two big global human rights pacts it signed six years ago.
The Cuban government considers dissidents to be “counterrevolutionaries” and mercenaries in the service of the United States.