The pardons of more than 2,900 Cuban prisoners announced by dictator Raul Castro are a “farce manipulation of the regime“, denounced the Lady in White and independent journalist Caridad Caballero Batista, from her native town of Holguin. “Those who have been released are highly dangerous prisoners who, while in prison, attacked other prisoners who would demand their rights or who would protest“, the activist added.
According to Batista, “What is very clear is that they are using these common prisoners, who are highly dangerous, to later oppress the opposition out on the streets. They are people who have murdered, who have raped, and who truly are delinquents“. It is usual for the Cuban regime to use common prisoners to participate in acts of mob repudiation against dissidents, as well as in beatings and any other form of violence or harassment against any person who opposes the system.
Only 5 political prisoners have been released under the supposed pardons- Carlos Martínez Ballester, Walfrido Rodríguez Piloto, Yordani Martínez Carvajal, Hiram González Torna and Augusto Guerra Márquez (for more information visit ‘Uncommon Sense‘). As consequence, numerous political prisoners have been using their strictly limited telephone minutes to call dissidents throughout the island in order to denounce their situations, for their are no plans for their release, not even those who have served their full and unjust sentences. “I have received phone calls from countless prisons- Boniato, Mar Verde, Dos Bahías, Playa Manteca, Cuba Si, Las Mangas- and many others. They are really frustrated”, explained Caballero Batista.
The Lady in White also added that many prisoners, both common and political, have opted for hunger strikes and other forms of protest.
Though some international reports of the situation have labeled the process as a reform or an opening within the system, for human rights activists on the island the reality is different. “My message to the international community,” declares Caridad Caballero , “is that they make an effort to truly know what happens here in Cuba. That they become aware of the situation which the political prisoners go through behind the bars, as well as common prisoners who have chosen to also advocate change. This entire process has been a farce in order to portray a positive image of Cuba before Pope Benedict visits the island next year, to say that they have been liberating prisoners. But save for the political ones, they have only released the ones which can serve them”.
Caridad Caballero Batista has shared two reports with this blog about the horrors which have been occurring within the Cuban prisons throughout 2011 and since dictator Raul Castro announced the pardons. The accounts will follow this post.