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Desperate Times In Cuba
Wednesday, November 30, 2005 By: Juan Paxety
Self abuse and suicide attempts
The New York Sun reports desperation in Cuba. Cuba's political prisoners are using means such as hunger strikes, suicide attempts, and self-mutilation in an attempt to get international recognition for their plight.
According to leaders of the Cuban pro-democracy movement in Havana, Miami, and Washington, the months since July have witnessed a dramatic increase in reports of such acts emerging from Castro's gulag. The prisoners' behavior, activists said, is a response both to increased crackdowns outside the prisons and new levels of abuse inside, and to the perceived indifference of the international community, particularly Europe.
"The prisoners are pleading to the world to pay attention as they work for liberty," one of Cuba's leading prodemocracy activists, Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello, told The New York Sun in Spanish earlier this week in a telephone interview from Havana.
As the prisoners plead for help, the useless U.N. is planning a meeting in Cuba. Prensa Latina says UNESCO is holding the Latin American and Caribbean Conference On Science, Technology And Technological Innovation For Sustainable Development.
According to Cuban Science, Technology, and Environment (CITMA) Vice Minister America Santos, 20 Latin American and Caribbean nations have confirmed their attendance.
"We will study in the meeting, how area countries can develop regional cooperation even more, especially in issues like Community health, Communication and Science, Disaster Prevention, and Food and Agriculture Innovation.
The official explained that the event will be an opportunity to discuss proposals for technological innovation, creation of development capacities, and the importance of human capital.
Meanwhile, across the island, human capital is now being used by fidel in a most unsustainable way
- Mario Enrique Mayo, a lawyer and independent journalist who has been locked up more than two years, has attempted suicide twice and once used a knife to demand his freedom - and carved the letters "I" and "L" into his forehead. He says he is Inocente and demands his Liberte. He is one of the 75-condemned to castro's dungeons following a roundup in 2003.
- Manuel Fiallo, held in Canaleta prison, cut himself to protest the lack of medical care in the prison.
- Laura Pollan Toledo, leader of the Ladies in White, told the Sun that Juan Carlos Herrera had beaten himself repeatedly to protest conditions, and she says that Prospero Gainza Aguero has sewn his mouth closed in an act of protest.
The hunger strikes, suicide attempts, and self-mutilation, observers said, were signs that the conditions both on the island and in its prisons were worsening; that Mr. Castro had grown increasingly repressive as a result of both surging domestic discontent and his backing from Venezuela's president, Hugo Chavez; and that recent international appeasement of Mr. Castro had signaled to Cuba's dissidents that they would need to intensify their cries for them to be heard by deaf international ears.
The crackdown began at about the time of fidel's annual July 25th speech celebrating the beginning of his revolution. That came about two months after the island's first meeting of the pro-democracy group, The Assembly to Promote Civil Society in Cuba.