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International Community Under Fire for Overlooking Cuban Imprisonment of Minors

Condenan el silencio de la comunidad internacional ante el encarcelamiento de menores en Cuba

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The Center for a Free Cuba (CCL) urged the international community to strongly intercede on behalf of Cuban children and adolescents who are “targets of repression and harassment by the Castro regime.”

“It is unacceptable that the world remains silent in the face of this outrage,” the Washington-based organization said in a statement in response to a recent Cuban government report that 82 minors have been investigated in connection with the 2021 anti-government protests.

“The Castro regime shot and imprisoned teenagers since its inception. The trials against minors in Cuba demonstrate the continuity of unconscionable and brutal repressive methods,” the communiqué adds.

The document recalls a communication sent by the Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States (OAS) dated October 22, 1964, and addressed to the then Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cuba, Raúl Roa García.

In this letter, Roa García is questioned about the cases of minors who have been condemned by Cuban courts “without any consideration for their age and their physical and mental immaturity,” including some who have been sentenced to death, and about those sentenced to adult prisons.

The document recalls the death penalty by firing squad received in 1964 by 16-year-old minors Rubén Acosta and Justo García, tried in the province of Matanzas on charges of sabotage against sugar cane plantations.

The list of imprisoned minors could be longer

According to the Center for a Free Cuba, “this reality aggravates the current facts and the circumstance in which Cuban adolescents are being tried without due process, with impunity and as a drastic measure to increase terror among the Cuban people.”

The human rights organization warns that “the list of imprisoned and convicted adolescents in Cuba today, as in the past, is partial because a large number of cases are unknown because the families are afraid to denounce them.”

Among those under investigation, he added, there are 55 adolescents between 16 and 18 years of age, of whom 28 are in pre-trial detention. The minimum criminal age in Cuba is 16 and the penal code provides for the possibility of reducing sentences by half for convicted minors.

But these are not all minors. Because there are another 27 children under 16 who allegedly participated in the protests and who, since “they are not subjects of criminal law,” do not go to trial, but “the established legal procedure” is applied to them.

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