Torture by Authorities in  [Cuba]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Cuba]  [other countries]

Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance

& Other Ill Treatment

In the early years of the 21st Century, 2000 to 2018                                        

Republic of Cuba

The government continues to balance the need for economic loosening against a desire for firm political control. It has rolled back limited reforms undertaken in the 1990s to increase enterprise efficiency and alleviate serious shortages of food, consumer goods, and services. The average Cuban's standard of living remains at a lower level than before the downturn of the 1990s, which was caused by the loss of Soviet aid and domestic inefficiencies.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Cuba

CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Cuba.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Torture by Authorities are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring the moral justification for inflicting pain or inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment in order to obtain critical information that may save countless lives, or to elicit a confession for a criminal act, or to punish someone to teach him a lesson outside of the courtroom.  Perhaps your paper might focus on some of the methods of torture, like fear, extreme temperatures, starvation, thirst, sleep deprivation, suffocation, or immersion in freezing water.  On the other hand, you might choose to write about the people acting in an official capacity who perpetrate such cruelty.  There is a lot to the subject of Torture by Authorities.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.

*** ARCHIVES ***

2017 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 20 April 2018

[accessed 23 February 2020]


The law prohibits abusive treatment of detainees and prisoners. There were reports, however, that members of the security forces intimidated and physically assaulted human rights and prodemocracy advocates, political dissidents, and other detainees and prisoners during detention and imprisonment, and that they did so with impunity. Some detainees and prisoners also endured physical abuse by other inmates with the acquiescence of guards.

There were reports of police assaulting detainees or being complicit in public harassment of and physical assaults on peaceful demonstrators (see section 2.b.).

PRISON AND DETENTION CENTER CONDITIONS -- Prison conditions continued to be harsh. Prisons were overcrowded, and facilities, sanitation, and medical care were deficient. There were reports of prison officials assaulting prisoners.

Prisoners reported that solitary confinement was a common punishment for misconduct and that some prisoners were isolated for months at a time.

The government subjected prisoners who criticized the government or engaged in hunger strikes and other forms of protest to extended solitary confinement, assaults, restrictions on family visits, and denial of medical care.

Freedom House Country Report - Political Rights: 7   Civil Liberties: 6   Status: Not Free

2018 Edition

[accessed 23 February 2020]


Opposition activists, human rights defenders, and other perceived enemies of the regime are routinely subjected to public assaults as well as abuse in custody. For example, in October 2017 alone, the CCDHRN documented 13 cases of physical aggression, 27 acts of harassment, and two so-called acts of repudiation against dissidents that were organized or encouraged by state security forces.

Prison conditions are poor, featuring overcrowding, forced labor, inadequate sanitation and medical care, and physical abuse.

Fidel Castro tortured Americans, 12 April 2015

[accessed 5 May 2015]


The engineering battalion maintained Route 9 of the Ho Chi Min trail. Their facilities included a POW camp and field hospital near the DMZ. Cuban interrogators also worked a a Hanoi prison called “the Zoo.”

At the Zoo, Alegret—referred to as “Fidel” by the POWs—brutally beat our men. A zoo survivor described the treatment of a captured F–105 crew member: “He was completely catatonic. His body was ripped and torn everywhere. His cuffs appeared almost to sever his wrists. Slivers of bamboo were imbedded in his bloody shins. He was bleeding everywhere. Fidel smashed his fist into the man’s face driving him into the wall. In the center of the room he was forced to his knees. Screaming in rage, Fidel then repeatedly lashed his face as hard as he could with a rubber hose. He did not react, cry out or even blink an eye, which enraged Alegret, who continued beating him. He was not repatriated, but instead was listed as having died in captivity, with his remains returned in 1974.”

POWs held near Cong Truong Five along with two other Cuban-run camps were “never acknowledged or accounted for and they simply disappeared.”

Human Rights Watch World Report 2015 - Events of 2014

Human Rights Watch, 29 January 2015 or download PDF at

[accessed 18 March 2015]


PRISON CONDITIONS - Prisons are overcrowded, and unhygienic and unhealthy conditions lead to extensive malnutrition and illness. Prisoners are forced to work 12-hour days and punished if they do not meet production quotas, according to former political prisoners. Inmates have no effective complaint mechanism to seek redress, and those who criticize the government, or engage in hunger strikes and other forms of protest, are subjected to extended solitary confinement, beatings, restrictions on family visits, and denial of medical care.

While the government allowed select members of the foreign press to conduct controlled visits to a handful of prisons in April 2013, it continues to deny international human rights groups and independent Cuban organizations access to its prisons.

Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture

U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment  -- Doc. CAT/C/CUB/CO/2 (2012)

[accessed 25 February 2013]

7. While noting the information provided by the State party regarding work towards a possible reform of the Criminal Code, the Committee regrets that torture, as defined in article 1 of the Convention, is still not codified as a specific offence. As regards the State party’s assertion that other similar criminal offences are expressly defined in its domestic legislation, the Committee draws the State party’s attention to its general comment No. 2 (2007), on the implementation of article 2 by States parties, which emphasizes the preventive value of codifying torture as a distinct offence (CAT/C/GC/2, para. 11) (arts. 1 and 4).

The Committee reiterates the recommendation made in 1997 (A/53/44, para. 118 (a)) that the State party should expressly criminalize torture in its domestic legislation and should adopt a definition of torture covering all the aspects contained in article 1 of the Convention. The State party must also ensure that such offences are punishable by appropriate penalties which take into account their grave nature, in accordance with article 4, paragraph 2, of the Convention.

Coerced confessions

22. While it takes note of the constitutional safeguards and the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Act establishing the inadmissibility of evidence obtained through torture, the Committee expresses concern about reports of the use of coercive methods during questioning, in particular sleep deprivation, solitary confinement and exposure to sudden temperature changes. The Committee notes the information provided by the State party which indicates that during the period under review no cases were dismissed because the evidence or testimonies submitted were obtained through torture or ill-treatment, although, according to the delegation, neither was torture as a procedure invoked in any case (arts. 2 and 15).

The State party must adopt effective measures that guarantee in practice the inadmissibility of coerced confessions. The State party should ensure that law enforcement officials, judges and lawyers receive training in how to detect and investigate cases where confessions are obtained under duress.

Human Rights in Cuba

Human Rights Watch

[accessed 22 January 2013]

Cuba remains the only country in Latin America that represses virtually all forms of political dissent. The government enforces political conformity using harassment, invasive surveillance, threats of imprisonment, and travel restrictions.

In 2011, the Castro government released the remaining political prisoners from the “group of 75”—human rights defenders, journalists, and other dissidents who were sentenced in 2003 in summary trials for exercising their basic rights—forcing most into exile. Since then, the government has increasingly relied on the unlawful use of force, arbitrary arrests, and short-term detentions to restrict its critics’ rights, including the freedom of assembly and expression.


From an old article -- URL not available

Article was published sometime prior to 2015

RIGHTS TO FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION, ASSOCIATION, MOVEMENT AND ASSEMBLY - The authorities adopted a range of measures to prevent activists reporting on human rights including surrounding the homes of activists and disconnecting phones. Organizations whose activities had been tolerated by the authorities in the past, such as the Cuban Commission on Human Rights and National Reconciliation, were targeted. Independent journalists reporting on dissidents’ activities were detained.

Roberto de Jesús Guerra Pérez, founder of the independent news agency Let’s Talk Press (Hablemos Press), was forced into a car in September, and reportedly beaten as he was driven to a police station. Before being released, he was told that he had become the “number one dissident journalist” and would be imprisoned if he continued his activities.


For current articles:: Search Amnesty International Website

[accessed 25 December 2018]

Scroll Down


Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 22 January 2013]

[accessed 3 July 2019]

TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT – The law prohibits abusive treatment of detainees and prisoners; however, members of the security forces sometimes beat and otherwise abused human rights advocates, detainees, and prisoners, particularly political prisoners, and did so with impunity.

Authorities often subjected detainees and prisoners to repeated, vigorous interrogations designed to coerce them into signing incriminating statements or to force their collaboration with authorities. Some endured physical and sexual abuse, typically by other inmates with the acquiescence of guards, or long periods in isolation or punishment cells.

On February 19, a "reeducation specialist" forced political prisoner Fidel Garcia Roldan into a cell, pushed him against the wall, then hit him repeatedly in the head.

On March 2, Juan Carlos Herrera Acosta, a prisoner at Kilo 8 prison in Camaguey, was handcuffed and dragged more than 120 feet across the floor of the prison; he suffered severe cuts and abrasions. As of that date, Herrera Acosta had not been exposed to sunlight for more than one year.

Throughout March and April, authorities subjected political prisoner Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia to deafeningly loud music and noise from a speaker placed by the guards at the entrance to his cell from the early morning until late each night; as of April 28, he had been denied exposure to sunlight for seven months.

In August a prison guard beat dissident Arnaldo Ramos Lauzurique. On September 26, a guard at Camaguey's Kilo 8 prison punched and broke the nose of political prisoner Lamberto Hernandez Plana, following his refusal to stand for a lineup of inmates. The government knowingly sent mentally healthy prisoners to psychiatric hospitals or the psychiatric ward of a prison hospital. For most of the year, Dr. Luis Milan Fernandez, a political prisoner with no known mental ailment, was held at the psychiatric ward of the Boniato prison in Santiago. Dr. Milan was forced to share a cell with prisoners suffering from severe mental illness. In February the government regained custody of academic Orlando Vallin Diaz, who had escaped from a psychiatric hospital months earlier. Vallin had been sent to the hospital after serving approximately three months in prison for alleged drug trafficking; family members denied that Vallin had ever been involved with drugs or shown any sign of mental illness.

The government continued to subject persons who disagreed with it to "acts of repudiation." At government instigation members of state-controlled mass organizations, fellow workers, or neighbors of victims staged public protests against those who dissented from the government's policies by shouting obscenities and causing damage to the homes and property of those targeted. Physical attacks on victims or their family members sometimes occurred. Police and State Security agents often were present but took no action to prevent or end the attacks. Those who refused to participate in these actions faced disciplinary action, including loss of employment.

Freedom House Country Report - Political Rights: 7   Civil Liberties: 6   Status: Not Free

2009 Edition

[accessed 22 January 2013]

Since 1991, the United Nations has voted annually to assign a special investigator on human rights to Cuba who was routinely denied a visa. In 2007, the UN Human Rights Council ended the investigator position for Cuba. In February 2008, Raul Castro authorized Cuban representatives to sign two UN human rights treaties, despite strong objections from Fidel Castro. Cuba does not grant the International Committee of the Red Cross or other humanitarian organizations access to its prisons.

All material used herein reproduced under the fair use exception of 17 USC § 107 for noncommercial, nonprofit, and educational use.  PLEASE RESPECT COPYRIGHTS OF COMPONENT ARTICLES. 

Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, " Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance & Other Ill Treatment in the early years of the 21st Century- Cuba",, [accessed <date>]



Torture by Authorities in  [Cuba]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Cuba]  [other countries]