Cuban Urgent Actions

For some years our group has focussed on Campaigns and Actions relating to Cuba – Amnesty has always encouraged groups and individuals to focus their energies on particular countries or individual cases.  The country coordinator, Sue Bingham, last visited the group in 2010, so we were delighted to welcome her back for an update at our May meeting in Moordown.  Sue has done a tremendous amount of work, and visited Cuba numerous times, to ensure we are kept up to date with campaign work.

Ironically, since Sues visit there have been updates and now two Urgent Actions. This is a message from Sue last week when she enclosed the first action…

“I visited Cuba on holiday in May, and it is very chilling for me to receive this Urgent Action, as Roberto was assaulted in the street in broad daylight in the neighbourhood where I was staying. As Amnesty is not officially allowed in Cuba, I did not make contact with any dissidents or attempt to do any Amnesty related research. I did chat to lots of people informally though, of course, and there were several occasions when strangers (e.g. bookseller, guesthouse owner) told me freely that Cuba is a highly controlled society, with no freedom of information or expression. This has never happened before on my previous trips.

The streets seemed busier with a wider range of cars, now that restrictions have been lifted on buying/selling them, but the “pop-up” shops in people’s houses with imported clothes had gone, following the backtracking by the authorities on the new economic freedoms, replaced with tourist T shirts and souvenirs.”

Sue was in touch again a couple of days ago with the second case….

“Three brothers who have been in pre-trial detention in Cuba since late 2012 have now been tried and are due for sentencing. They are at risk of being sentenced to between three and five years’ imprisonment. Amnesty International believes they are prisoners of conscience, detained solely for exercising their right to freedom of expression.”

Sue has sent model letters:-  UA 20 Jun 14 Journalist attacked model letter

and   UA 27 jun 2014 POCs await sentence model letter

These are the original urgent actions:-

UA 15914 UK Cuba journalist threatened 20 jun 2014

and UA 20113 prisoners of conscience awaiting sentence

Do try to find time to download these letters, personalise, and send to Cuba and/or the UK Embassy. You can also email them if you prefer.