Political prisoners of "La Modelo" begin indefinite hunger strike to demand their release

Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua add up to almost 1,500 political prisoners, according to the IACHR

Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua close 2022 with almost 1,500 political prisoners between the three countries, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) denounced this Thursday.

In a statement, the IACHR described the governments of these three countries as “authoritarian” and accused them of using the judiciary to prosecute and imprison people for political reasons.

“The independence and autonomy of the judiciary is an essential element for the existence of a rule of law,” claimed the commission, an autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), based in Washington.

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In total in the three countries, the commission reported 1,467 detainees for political reasons, counting civilians and soldiers. Cuba is the country with the most prisoners of this type, with 1,034 people detained as of November 2022.

Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua add up to almost 1,500 political prisoners, according to the IACHR

It is followed by Venezuela, with 247 political prisoners as of October of this year, and Nicaragua, with a total of 195 detainees.

Persons deprived of their liberty under these governments are also treated differently from the rest of the prison population, the IACHR stressed, “which has caused a serious deterioration in health” in several of them.

There is little official information on the situation of the detainees, since they are isolated and it is difficult for them to maintain regular contact with their families and in some cases they are subjected to torture and cruel treatment, denounced the IACHR.

Women detainees also face violence based on their gender, as well as “ill-treatment as a method of punishment, repression and humiliation,” the commission stressed.

In early December, the President of the United States, Joe Biden, reiterated his request to the Cuban government to release the “political prisoners” detained after the July 2021 protests on the island.

According to the NGO Cubalex and Justicia 11J, after last year’s protests, nearly 600 sentences have been handed down, some of up to 30 years in prison.

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