Washington D.C., January 23, 2023 – In the framework of the 7th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Community of Latin America and Caribbean States (CELAC), the International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights (Race and Equality) denounces Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela hold on the largest number of people deprived of liberty for political reasons in the Americas. In these three countries more than 1,500 people have been or are in the process of being subjected to unfair trials, as well as physical and psychological torture.
Cuba holds the most people deprived of their liberty. According to figures from the 11J Justice working group. as of January 10, 2023, more than 600 people remained in detention for having participated in the peaceful protests of July 2021.
However, the number of Cubans who have been detained for demanding their rights is even higher. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) revealed at the end of last year that more than a thousand citizens remain in prison for political reasons on the island.
As of January 17, 2023, Foro Penal registered 274 persons deprived of liberty for political reasons in Venezuela, the second country with the highest number of this type of arbitrary detention. Meanwhile in Nicaragua the numbers continue to increase, and as of November 2022, the Mechanism for the Recognition of Political Prisoners counted more than 235 persons arbitrarily deprived of their liberty for political reasons.
Due to this situation, Race and Equality is carrying out a series of actions to denounce the situation in Argentina, the country where the VII CELAC Summit will be held, so that the heads of state are aware that they must continue to demand the release of these people.
As part of these strategic actions in the framework of the CELAC Summit in Buenos Aires, we have installed 200 two-sided vertical posters that are at the eye level of passers-by, with a message demanding that the more than one thousand people deprived of their freedom for political reasons in Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela be released.
The posters were placed at strategic points in the city of Buenos Aires, including near the Sheraton Buenos Aires Hotel & Convention Center, where the Summit will be held.
We also installed two billboards for a period of three days (January 20, 21, and 22); one demanding the release of the more than 600 people deprived of liberty for political reasons in Cuba, and the other for the more than 235 people arbitrarily detained in Nicaragua. These were placed in front of the Quinta Presidencial de Olivos, the official residence of the President of Argentina, Alberto Fernández.
We reiterate our commitment to the people deprived of their freedom in Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela, so that their stories are known, as well as the arbitrariness to which they have been subjected to.
The organizations in Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela that demand the release of persons deprived of liberty for political reasons will be accompanying us in the denunciations and
demands for freedom. The loved ones of the detainees will also raise their voices using social media networks, so that the immediate release of the arbitrarily detained persons remains on the agenda.
From Race and Equality and allied organizations, we continue to carry out litigation and advocacy actions before the international bodies of the Inter-American System and the Universal System of Human Rights to facilitate a path towards the freedom of all persons unjustly deprived of their liberty in Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela.