In an ideal world, the Cuban government would adopt “respect human rights” as its New Year’s resolution. Alas, the Cuban government remains stubbornly opposed to democratic principles, human rights, and fundamental freedoms.
New incarcerations for political dissent have not stopped. In December 2011, The Government of Cuba used harassment, detention and assault to block dozens of human rights activists, journalists, and others from observing International Human Rights Day. Members of the Damas de Blanco, winners of the Department of State’s 2011 Human Rights Defenders Award, continue to face harassment by government officials and pro-government groups. Despite government claims to the contrary, independent human rights groups estimate that more than 60 political activists remain in Cuban jails.
There have been a few positive glimmers: Cuba’s year-end release of 2900 prisoners and the announcement of some economic measures that could provide a greater degree of economic independence and relief to the long-suffering Cuban people. However, Cuba still has a long way to go. When it comes to human rights, the basic outline of Cuba’s political system has not changed. One party rule brooks no dissent and jail awaits those who dare speak out.