Arrested Cuba activist arrives in Spain after three men disappear

Written by By Alex Hulse, CNN As Cuban state media praised the arrival in Spain of a detained government activist, Amnesty International drew a clearer connection between the disappearance of three young Cuban men…

Arrested Cuba activist arrives in Spain after three men disappear

Written by By Alex Hulse, CNN

As Cuban state media praised the arrival in Spain of a detained government activist, Amnesty International drew a clearer connection between the disappearance of three young Cuban men last month and their reported executions by state forces.

The brothers Elio, Giovanni and Diego Rodríguez, who disappeared after celebrating Guillermo Farinas’ birthday together in the western province of Pinar del Rio, reportedly were shot by state security forces. Cuban authorities said the missing men were fishermen when they were reported missing .

While the Castro government has denied there was an organized kidnapping and blamed an isolated case of police negligence, human rights groups and family members point to the escalation of attacks on the island’s cultural and civic life, as well as Cuba’s uncertain future under a yet-unnamed government.

“What has happened in Cuba is a modern-day dictatorship,” said an Amnesty International spokesperson, speaking to CNN about the sudden increase in the reported number of disappeared dissidents.

“Given the high number of disappearances and the speed with which they happen, this is a man-made, state-controlled system” — it is a system that violates the principles of due process and the right to life.

If Cuban authorities want to shift the onus of responsibility onto the families of those disappeared, that is their prerogative, but it cannot be used as an excuse to hide the violent and systematic nature of state repression, said the spokesperson.

Further allegations of torture were made on Monday as members of the media were denied entry into the house where 18-year-old Garrígio Rodríguez had been held by police.

The Cuban government released a series of statements recognizing the arrival of Garcia Aguilera, who was detained with his colleague Lorenzo Rafael Jiménez in February 2018. The men were detained on suspicion of publishing material calling for a non-violent “rebellion” against the state.

However, the government did not mention the names of the three missing men or acknowledge their arrests, raising fears of a cover-up.

Reporters Without Borders reports three men have been sentenced to six years in prison for peaceful involvement in a Facebook group. The group’s representative, Mihail Dogan, said Garcia Aguilera was one of four activists recently prosecuted by the national counterterrorism unit.

Raul Castro, who has been president since 2008, did not speak to the media and the Cuban embassy did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

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