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Cuba Begins to Re-Imprison Political Dissidents ‘Freed’ Under Obama Deal

Dec 11, 2015 | News

The Cuban government has re-arrested almost all of the 53 political prisoners released in January as part of its “normalization” with President Obama, according to Senator Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL).The news comes as Cuban police assault and detain dozens of dissidents in anticipation of International Human Rights Day, December 10.

Sen. Rubio’s social media message Wednesday alerted the media to the case of Vladimir Morera Bacallao y Jorge Ramírez Calderón, who are both currently in prison after being released as part of the Cuban government’s publicity stunt. Bacallao, according to the dissident group the Cuban Democratic Directorate, is currently undergoing a hunger strike after being arrested and sentenced to four years in prison for hanging an anti-Castro sign out of his window. Ramírez Calderón is currently serving two and a half years in prison for having marched in silence as part of a protest against the Cuban government.
While both men were sentenced last month and are serving long sentences, the more common method the Cuban government uses to repress dissidents is to repeatedly temporarily detain them, allow them to claim they have fewer political prisoners in their jail cells while also limiting the activities of these dissidents consistently. During Pope Francis’ visit to Cuba in September, for example, more than 250 Cuban dissidents were detained and freed shortly after Pope Francis left, so as to prevent them from organizing any protest against the government. Dissident groups such as the Ladies in White – a group consisting of the female relatives of political prisoners – suffer weekly or even more often temporary detention. The Ladies in White, a mostly Catholic group, are typically arrested after attending Sunday Mass.

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