In a groundbreaking report, the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation partnered with Prisoners Defenders and the Czech Transition Promotion Program to expose the Cuban regime’s brutal system of torture targeting democracy activists and political prisoners. The report, Torture in Cuba, is the most comprehensive examination of Havana’s human rights crimes to date, analyzing 181 victims tortured by the regime in the last 12 months utilizing both quantitative and qualitative methods. The findings are shocking.
The study identified 15 unique methods of torture employed by communist officials, carried out on minors and adults alike, including a trans woman and four dual nationals. 80% of the victims were subjected to more than five types of torture including:
1. Deprivation of medical care.
2. Deprivation of liquids and/or food.
3. Physical aggression.
4. Forced labor and work that is not related to their status as a criminal defendant or convicted person.
5. Prolonged solitary confinement.
6. Being held in highly uncomfortable, harmful, degrading, and prolonged positions.
7. Use of temperature as a torture mechanism.
8. Display or threatening exhibition of weapons or elements of torture.
9. Intentional sleep deprivation.
10. Intentional disorientation.
11. Threats to their integrity, their safety, and that of their loved ones.
12. Deprivation of communication with family, defense and relatives.
13. Intentional subjection to anguish, grief or uncertainty about the situation of a family member.
14. Humiliation, degradation and verbal abuse.
15. Abnormal driving to locations unknown to inmates and family members.
Although Cuba has signed and ratified the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, its domestic criminal legislation has not been made compatible to the minimum degree necessary to punish conduct related to this scourge, in contravention of Article 4.1 of the Convention.
Tragically, the communist regime has weaponized this blatant disregard of international norms and human dignity to target its own citizens simply seeking basic rights.
On July 11, 2021, and in the subsequent days, a series of peaceful demonstrations took place across the island nation of Cuba. In response to the protests, known as 11J, the communist regime has exhibited the highest rates of repression recorded in years, with thousands of arbitrary arrests, hundreds of convictions for conscience, as well as hundreds of reports of torture, especially against activists, and opponents as well as their families.