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Public Papers - 1989

Statement on Alfredo Mustelier Nuevo's Hunger Strike and the Treatment of Cuban Political Prisoners


I view with grave concern the news that long-term Cuban political prisoner Alfredo Mustelier Nuevo has been on a hunger strike since completing 20 years in Castro's prisons on October 27. For the past week he has been refusing liquids as well, and his current health situation is extremely serious.

The revised Cuban penal code limits incarceration for all offenses to no more than 20 years, except when the death penalty may be imposed. In addition to Mustelier, two other political prisoners have languished in Cuban prisons for over 20 years: Ernesto Diaz Rodriguez and Mario Chanes de Armas. All three men are serving out these long prison sentences after trials which lacked any semblance of due process. These three men, who have bravely endured years of harsh prison conditions, are no threat to the Cuban Government.

I call upon the Cuban Government to release these men immediately, as well as to free all remaining political prisoners. I call upon the international community to raise its collective voice and press the Cuban Government to let these people go and to conform to accepted international standards regarding human rights. The intolerable present human rights situation in Cuba, where some 50 human rights activists have been arrested since the U.N. Human Rights Commission visited late last year, underscores the need for continued United Nations monitoring of Cuba's human rights practices.

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