HUMAN RIGHTS FOR EACH PERSON REGARDLESS OF AGE, RACE, RELIGION OR POLITICS
Pablo Pacheco Avila
'THE ENEMIES OF FREEDOM COULD HAVE STRENGTH BUT
NOT REASON, THEY COULD HAVE LAWS BUT NOT JUSTICE;
THEY COULD HAVE NEWS MEDIA BUT NOT TRUTH. THEY
COULD MANIPULATE MAN’S THOUGHTS BUT NOT HIS
CONSCIENCE; THEY COULD IMPRISON THE BODY BUT NOT
THE SPIRIT.' -
Pablo Pacheco, from prison, November 2003
Pablo Pacheco, 35, is married with one young son. He
works for an unofficial agency called Cooperativa
Avileña de Periodistas Independientes, Avileña
Cooperative of Independent Journalists, in Ciego de
Avila. On 18 March 2003, Pablo Pacheco was arrested
in one of the most severe crackdowns on the dissident
movement in Cuba since the years following the 1959
revolution. He was sentenced to 20 years'
imprisonment under articles of Law 88 which provides
lengthy prison terms for those found guilty of
supporting United States policy on Cuba aimed at
‘disrupting internal order, destabilising the country and
destroying the Socialist State and the independence of
Cuba’. He is currently held in Morón Municipal Prison,
Prisión Municipal de Morón, Ciego de Avila province.|
It is believed that Pablo Pacheco’s arrest and
sentencing were politically motivated, relating to his
legitimate journalistic activities and peaceful exercise
of his right to freedom of expression and association,
and Amnesty International therefore considers Pablo
Pacheco to be a prisoner of conscience.
Pablo Pacheco reportedly suffers from migraine,
acute gastritis, chronic synovitis (inflammation of a
membrane covering the sinews in the knee), renal
ptosis (displacement of the kidney) and high blood
After being arrested in March 2003, Pablo Pacheco
began his 20-year sentence in Prisión de Agüica,
municipality of Colón, Matanzas province. In August
2004, he was transferred from Agüica Prison to Morón
Municipal Prison in his home province of Ciego de
Avila. In December 2004 he was reportedly temporarily
transferred to a Havana prison for a medical check up
and then back to Morón Municipal Prison. In February
2005 he was reportedly sent to a Ciego de Avila
Provincial Hospital to be examined for synovitis, but
because the machinery was broken the examination
could not take place. He was told he would need
physiotherapy and was returned to Morón Municipal
Prison in July 2005.
We are concerned for Pablo
Pacheco's health, and is calling for his immediate and
For further information and actions
Pablo Pacheco Avila
Prisión Municipal de Morón
Ciego de Avila province
Whether young or old, many of Cuba's political prisoners suffer from poor health in Fidel Castro's gulag. It seems that every week, family members or other contacts report on the poor health of a particular prisoner of consicence, and how little their jailers are doing for them.
Last week, CubaNet reported that imprisoned journalist Pablo Pacheco Avila, 36, was in a hospital in Ciego de Ávila suffering from a variety of ailments, including gastritis and problems with his spine and kidneys.
Publicity about the prisoners' poor health is vital since international pressure has succeeded in helping with the release of other dissidents on medical parole.
Pacheco was well familiar with Castro's repressive ways before he was sentenced to 20 years in prison in 2003.
In 1998, he was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison for "enemy propaganda," according to Payolibre.
Reporters Without Borders has more.
He was detained three times in 2002 for "unlawful association" but was released each time after a few hours. His phone line was often cut when something happened in Ciego de Ávila to prevent him from contributing a report to Radio Martí, the US government radio station that beams programmes to Cuba.
Pacheco maintained that he was not the target of systematic harassment, but his family was the victim of bureaucratic reprisals. His wife, a doctor in a clinic, was overburdened with work but their four-year-old boy was denied a place in the day-care centre. His elderly mother, who lives in the United States, was subject to extensive and humiliating searches at the airport on both arrival and departure when she made a visit in August 2002.
Pacheco, a contributor to the Ciego de Ávila Independent Journalists Cooperative (CAPI), was arrested March 18, 2003, as part of the "black spring" roundup of 75 journalists, librarians, human rights activists and other dissidents.
On April 4 — his 33rd birthday — Pacheco was convicted and sentenced to 20 years' in prison under Law 88 which provides lengthy prison terms for those found guilty of supporting United States policy on Cuba aimed at "disrupting internal order, destabilising the country and destroying the Socialist State and the independence of Cuba," according to Amnesty International.
Amnesty International continues:
It is believed that Pablo Pacheco’s arrest and sentencing were politically motivated, relating to his legitimate journalistic activities and peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression and association, and Amnesty International therefore considers Pablo Pacheco to be a prisoner of conscience.
Freedom of association, assembly and
expression in Cuba are severely limited
in law and in practice. Journalists
belonging to independent press
agencies are routinely harassed,
intimidated, threatened and detained
and many have been tried and
sentenced. At least 15 current
prisoners of conscience are journalists.
In March 2003, the Cuban
government carried out the most
severe crackdown on the dissident
movement since the years following
the 1959 revolution. Scores of
dissidents were detained, 75 of whom
were subjected to summary trials and
quickly sentenced to prison terms
ranging from 26 months to 28 years.|
This crackdown came as a surprise to
many observers who believed that
Cuba might be moving towards a more
open and tolerant approach towards
opponents of the regime: the number
of prisoners of conscience had
declined and had been superseded by
short term detentions, interrogations,
summonses, threats, intimidation,
eviction, loss of employment,
restrictions on travel, house searches
or physical or verbal acts of
The events of March/April 2003
signaled a step backwards for Cuba in
terms of respect for human rights. The
authorities tried to justify the
crackdown by citing provocation and
aggression from the United States.
Amnesty International declared the 75
convicted dissidents to be prisoners of
conscience and called for their
immediate and unconditional release,
since the conduct for which dissidents
were prosecuted was non-violent and
fell within the parameters of the
legitimate exercise of fundamental
freedoms as guaranteed under
international standards. Amnesty
International believes the charges are
politically motivated and
disproportionate to the alleged
Please write to the Cuban authorities calling on them
Information on Pablo Pacheco at Amnesty International
FREEDOM IS A RIGHT OF ALL HUMAN BEINGS IN A WORLD WHERE LIFE IS VALUED AND PEACE MAY FINALLY BE A POSSIBILITY
Just in case you forgot - read the Universal declaration of Human Rights