Crackdown on Civil Society in Cuba Continues to Worsen Despite Warnings

Civil Rights Defenders is shocked to have learned that Antonio Rodilles Project Director of the independent State of Sats has been severely beaten by state security officials and that 80 human rights activists were arrested on Sunday 5 July.

This is despite the stark warnings from Cuban civil society and international organisations such as Civil Rights Defenders to the EU and USA regarding the deteriorating situation for human rights defenders in Cuba.

Antonio Rodilles sustained a fracture to the nose that required surgery yesterday in what has now become the 12th successive Sunday of repression against civil society by the authorities. Physical abuse, torture and beatings have become an every day reality for human rights defenders with arbitrary detentions now at their highest level since July of 2014.

“Human Rights Defenders in Cuba such as Antonio Rodilles have warned the international community for many months regarding the deterioration in the human rights landscape in Cuba. Despite the on-going campaign to wake up the EU and USA and address human rights violations before closer ties are established with Cuba it seems to have fallen on deaf ears,” said Erik Jennische, Latin America Programme Director, Civil Rights Defenders.

”We have also highlighted the fact that the EU has shown complete indifference and apathy to the plight of human rights defenders in Cuba. It seems to be more focused on concluding broad agreements with the government without improving the human rights situation for civil society,” said Erik Jennische.

There is little reason to rejoice over the new open door policy of the USA and EU towards Cuba as human rights abuses continue unabated while the continuing alliance building has led to no real change for human rights defenders in Cuba.