Political imprisonment in Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Nicaragua is a crime against humanity

Carlos Sánchez Berzaín

One of the most despicable arrangements to retain power featuring “State-sponsored terrorism” is to unjustifiably imprison human beings who ask for freedom. Dictatorships use political prisoners to instill fear in the population, forcing them not to fight for their human rights and remain subjected and defenseless by fear. There are political prisoners in Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Nicaragua who are tortured and are used as tokens for negotiation when, in reality, they are flagrant proof of crimes against humanity that dictators and their operators must be legally charged with.

Article 7, Section 1 of the Rome Statute ascertains that; “For the purpose of this Statute, crime against humanity means any of the following acts when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack . . . (e) Imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law; (f) Torture . . .” Fundamental rules of international law are the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the American Convention on Human Rights, and others.

To politically imprison and torture is the “widespread or systematic” method that is institutionalized in Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Nicaragua and these are crimes against humanity that are being committed by Raul Castro, Miguel Diaz-Canel in Cuba, Nicolas Maduro, Diosdado Cabello in Venezuela, Luis Arce, Evo Morales in Bolivia, and Daniel Ortega, Rosario Murillo in Nicaragua. All of them with their groups of thugs, henchmen, torturers, and hit-men who present themselves as members of governmental institutions such as security forces, police, prosecutors, judges, officials from penitentiary systems, and propaganda.

The system of political imprisonment in dictatorships of the 21st Century Socialism is so institutionalized that they have added rules in their constitutions and have legislated laws that are retroactive instead of the non-retroactivity of the law, that determine capricious arrests at the whim of their operators who limit or eliminate the right to a defense, allow the prosecution of defense attorneys, prolong or manipulate procedural phases to their convenience. Dictatorships have created “despicable laws” that destroy the “legal due-process” instituting a “legal criminal manipulation”.

The absence of the “Rule of Law” and the total concentration of power also reveals, as a methodology of 21st century dictatorships or Castrochavism, the use of the judicial branch, prosecutors and judges, to make undue allegations, falsify evidence and crimes, violate all elements of the “legal due-process”, accuse victims of the crimes the victimizers commit and then become the victims’ accusers, and extend the undue accusations to the victims’ attorneys and the victims’ families.

Political prisoners of the ALBA, Bolivarian, Socialist, or Castrochavist System, in the 21st century Americas’ dictatorships are victims of; the violation of their human right to “freedom”, “equality before the law”, “presumption of innocence”, “protection under the law”, “impartial judges”, “non-retroactivity of the law”, the “legal due-process”. Moreover, these dictatorships’ system, through counterfeited narratives commit the “assassination of the victims’ reputation”.

Political prisoners in Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Nicaragua are victims of torture that is the “severe physical or psychological pain inflicted in a deliberate manner onto a person . . .” Isolation cells, restricting food or dress, extreme darkness or light, beatings and brutal torture. These criminal practices against defenseless individuals who, in many cases end in their death, have been widely documented by the news- media, organizations, and the prisoners’ families.

Today, there are around 1,000 political prisoners in Cuba, about 400 in Venezuela, over 60 in Bolivia, and over 150 in Nicaragua. The Organization of American States (OAS) has just made a plea for the freedom of political prisoners, highlighting the case of Jose Daniel Ferrer in Cuba, stating that “Ferrer is confined in a small windowless cell without any contact to people different than the guards and without access to natural light”.

INFOBAE has published the “4 political female prisoners with more than six months of almost total isolation”. The New Herald has headlined “Desperation grows among families of minor children jailed” in Cuba. According to JusticiaOrg, military political prisoners in Venezuela have not had, for over 3 years, any formal prosecution or medical attention. Los Tiempos and El Deber newspapers in Bolivia reported on the “physical assaults” against former president Jeanine Añez now a victim of torture and the recent arrest and beatings against Marco Pumari. There are thousands of proofs everywhere.

*Attorney & Political Scientist. Director of the Interamerican Institute for Democracy.

Translated from Spanish by; Edgar L. Terrazas, member of the American Translators Association, ATA # 234680.


Published in Spanish by Infobae.com Sunday December 19th, 2021.

“The opinions published herein are the sole responsibility of its author”.