RESOLUTION (CASE 1604)
By communication of October 14, 1965, the following was denounced:
“Reports indicate that Pedro Luis Boitel, the ex-President of the Association of Engineering Students of the University of Havana and candidate for the office of President of the University Student Federation in 1959, is on the brink of death.
“We beseech you to approach the Representatives of the Havana Government in order to see to it that Pedro Luis Boitel is included among the ailing Cubans who are authorized to leave Cuba”;
In the exercise of authority granted it by Article 9 (bis) of its Statute, this Commission requested the Government of Cuba, by note of April 28, 1966, to provide information on the matter and transmitted to it, at the same time, the pertinent parts of the aforementioned communication, in the manner established in Articles 42 (1) and 44 of its Regulations;
The Government of Cuba did not reply to that request, notwithstanding the urgency and seriousness of the facts set forth in the denunciation;
At its twentieth session (December 1968), the Commission noted that the Government of Cuba had not yet furnished the information requested, and, since the 180-day period specified in Article 51 of the Regulations had elapsed, it decided, pursuant to subparagraph 1) of that article, to presume the confirmation of the occurrence of the events denounced;
By note of February 14, 1969, it informed the Government of Cuba of the decision adopted at its twentieth session, and stated, in addition, that the Commission assumed that the appropriate authorities of that government had already taken the necessary steps to terminate the conditions in which Mr. Pedro Luis Boitel found himself, because they constitute violations of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man;
The Government of Cuba did not reply to that note either;
Inasmuch as it continued to receive communications or claims from persons and organizations, including Mr. Pedro Luis Boitel himself, describing the distressing conditions under which he and other political prisoners continued to be confined in Cuba, the Commission decided at its twenty-second session (November 1969) to reopen consideration of this and other cases, and, by note of November 22, 1969, informed the then Council of the Organization of American States that:
“At the present moment, the Commission has been informed through many denunciations and various depositions, which it considers trustworthy, of the extremely serious situation that has been created for the political prisoners of that country, of which there are tens of thousands.
“According to these denunciations and depositions, as a consequence of the cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of these prisoners, especially in the prison ‘La Cabaña’ a hunger strike took place several months ago which lasted 36 days and ended with the deaths of several of them and the lives of many of the others in danger. This desperate reaction on the part of the political prisoners, initiated in 'La Cabaña' under the slogan 'deportation or death' (in response to the fact that the Government of the United States had indicated its willingness to receive those deported from the Island) ended with the deaths of several of them and the lives of many of the others in danger. This desperate reaction on the part of the political prisoners, initiated in ‘La Cabaña’ under the slogan ‘deportation or death’ (in response to the fact that the Government of the United States had indicated its willingness to receive those deported from the Island) provoked similar movements in other prisons. According to reports in the hands of the Commission, the Cuban government’s response has been to aggravate the inhuman treatment of these citizens to unbearable levels. We have also received denunciations of the elimination of medical attention and medicines, the deprivation of proper clothing and indispensable minimum diet, the imposition of forced labor and of all kinds of physical and mental torture to the point of feigning executions, etc. However, not only the political prisoners have received this inacceptable treatment but their mothers and wives have also been submitted to all kinds of harassment and moral torture. These women have been denied any communication with their jailed relatives and the acme of cruelty was reached during the hunger strike when announcements were made from time to time to them of the deaths of prisoners but without giving names”;
In addition, the communication of November 22, 1969, reported that:
“According to news received by the Commission, aggravation of the conditions of the Cuban political prisoners is continuing at the present time with many of them in imminent danger of death. Specifically, in relation to the circumstances referred to in this note, the Commission sent a request for information by cable to the Government of Cuba on October 18 and 23, 1969, to which there has been no reply so far”;
Finally, that note to the then Council of the Organization stated that:
“Moved by deeply humane considerations, the Commission has deemed it necessary to urgently advise the Council of the Organization regarding these extremely grave events so that the member states may be cognizant of them and in the hope that the Council, with broader and more varied means of action at its disposal, as well as the governments represented on it, may arrange effective formulas for the protection of so many human beings under imminent risk of death”;
On May 15, 1972, the Commission was informed that Mr. Pedro Luis Boitel, still a prisoner in the “El Príncipe” Castle in Havana, was seriously ill as a result of the maltreatment and torture to which he continued to be subjected;
The Commission, in exercise of the authority granted it by Article 9 (bis) of its Statute, again requested the Government of Cuba, in a note of May 24, 1972, to provide information on this matter and transmitted to it, at the same time, the pertinent parts of the aforementioned communication, in the manner established in Articles 42 (1) and 44 of its Regulations;
On May 28, 1972, the Commission received a communication informing it that Mr. Pedro Luis Boitel died in prison, after eleven years of captivity, as a result of the ill-treatment he had received;
At that time, and pursuant to its Regulations, the Commission sent a note on June 6, 1972; to the Government of Cuba requesting it to send the information it considered appropriate on this case;
The Commission, at its twenty-ninth session (October 1972), in application of Article 9 (bis) c) of its Statute, decided to make the observations it deemed appropriate on this case in the annual report it is required to submit to the General Assembly of the Organization;
In view of the systematic silence of the present Government of Cuba in the face of the numerous communications received from this Commission, it would serve no practical purpose to make recommendations to that government of the type envisaged in Articles 9 paragraph b) and 9 (bis) paragraph b) of the Statute. However, this does not prevent the Commission from making known to the Assembly the judgments merited by the events denounced;
Neither the formulation of such observations nor, in general, the competence of this Commission to take cognizance of denunciations regarding violations of human rights committed in the territory of Cuba is barred by the measures adopted by the Organization of American States with respect to the present government of that country, since that government has not denounced the Charter of the Organization, as provided for in Article 148 of the Charter, for which reason it is the duty of this Commission to continue to take cognizance of these denunciations;
THE INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS,
1. To make known to the Assembly that the events denounced in case 1604, and imputable to the Government of Cuba, constitute a very serious case of violation of the right to life, liberty and personal security, set forth in Article I of the American Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man.
2. To transmit the text of this resolution to the Government of Cuba and to the claimants.