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The Homo Homini Award for human rights has been given to 11 Cuban dissidents

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They decided to not emigrate, even after their own government tried to force them.

Prague, 5 February 2016 – The Homo Homini Award for 2015 has been given to a group of eleven Cuban dissidents for their perseverance, fearlessness and moral fortitutde in pushing for human rights in Cuba, while willingly sacrificing their own personal freedom. "The prize has been awarded to eleven former political prisoners who, despite the pressure from the regime to emigrate, remained on the island and have continued to fight for greater freedom for the Cuban people. For us, these people symbolize all Cuban dissidents, political prisoners and activists who are and have been campaigning for democratic reforms. In this regard, all of them deserve our support," said Simon Panek, the Executive Director of People in Need.

For SPANISH scroll down.

The prize is traditionally awarded during the opening ceremony of the One World International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival, which will be held on 7 March 2016 at the Prague Crossroads. The opening ceremony starts at 19:00.

"It was clear to me that I have to stay in Cuba and continue to fight for democracy. I knew it would not be easy and there would be no going back, but I have never regretted my decision and I never will, "says Jorge Olivera, one of the awarded dissidents, who is a writer and journalist.

In 2003, during the so-called Black Spring, the Castro regime arrested 75 of the most prominent Cuban dissidents and sentenced them to harsh prison sentences ranging from 6 to 28 years. Thanks to the substantial international pressure, most of the 75 prisoners were released early in 2010. The regime subsequently exerted a strong pressure on them to go into exile. These eleven people decided to stay in Cuba, despite the daily threats, harassment and bullying, and have continued to fight for human rights and freedoms on the island.

"The prize is a big commitment and a new strong motivation for our work for democracy in Cuba," said Jorge Olivera.

According to the government of the Castros, this group of released prisoners in Cuba represents a security risk. Their freedoms are restricted. For example, the regime does not allow them to leave and come back like other Cubans, for whom travel has already gotten easier. Their freedom is dependent on the basis of institutional paroles, which basically means, that until the length of their original sentences expire, which will be between 2024 and 2028, they can be sent back to prison at any time.

Current Day Cuba

In December 2014, Cuba announced the resumption of diplomatic relations with the US. The news brought increased attention from the international community. Subsequently, Cuba has been visited by many politicians and investors from around the globe, and the regime has been fairly successful in convincing the world that the country is keen to open up and slowly transform itself into a democracy. Unfortunately, except for the opening of the American embassy in Cuba, the year 2015 didn’t bring too many positive changes. In the second half of the year, the number of arbitrary detentions of activists even increased –  for example, almost 1500 people were detained for a short period of time in November. In Cuba, there are still between 27 and 30 known political prisoners; space for civil society remains extremely limited; critical independent organizations are unable to benefit from being registered and, therefore, cannot work openly in the country though no one other than the state media is actually allowed to do so.

The 11 Award winners are:

Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello, Jorge Olivera Castillo, Ángel Juan Moya Acosta, José Daniel Ferrer García, Félix Navarro Rodríguez, Iván Hernández Carrillo, Héctor Maseda Gutiérrez, Óscar Elías Biscet González, Eduardo Díaz Fleitas, Librado Ricardo Linares García, and Arnaldo Ramos Lauzurique

Homo Homini

People in Need has given the Homo Homini Award annually to individuals or groups who have made contributions to the promotion of human rights, democracy and non-violent solutions for political conflicts. The prize was first awarded in 1994. Among those who have worn the prize in the past are: the Azerbaijani lawyer Intigam Aliyev; a Kyrgyz defender of the unjustly prosecuted Azimžan Askarov; Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo (who was later awarded the Nobel Peace Prize) and Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya Sardinas, who died in unexplained circumstances three years ago. Unfortunately, a number of the award holders remain behind bars for political reasons in their countries.

People in Need in Cuba

People in Need has been working in Cuba since 1997, when it began supporting dissidents and political prisoners. With the changing situation on the island, People in Need has been increasingly focused on supporting the activities of independent civil society groups and journalists. It remains dedicated to monitoring human rights violations on the island and defending the rights of the politically persecuted.

 

SPANISH:

Decidieron no exiliarse, a pesar de que su gobierno les forzó a ello.

Once opositores cubanos reciben el premio Homo Homini por la defensa de los derechos humanos.

Praga, 5 de febrero de 2016 - El premio Homo Homini 2015 ha sido concedido a 11 opositores cubanos del grupo de los 75 por su resistencia, valentía y coherencia moral en la lucha por los derechos humanos en Cuba, a la cual sacrificaron su propia libertad.  “El premio ha sido otorgado a 11 ex presos políticos que, a pesar de la presión del gobierno para que partieran en el exilio, se quedaron en la isla y continúan la lucha para que los ciudadanos cubanos obtengan una mayor libertad. Estas personas representan para nosotros a todos los opositores cubanos, presos políticos y activistas que promueven las reformas democráticas en el país. Todos ellos tienen nuestro apoyo” ha dicho Simon Panek, director de People in Need.

El premio será entregado, como es tradición, durante la ceremonia de apertura del festival internacional de cine documental de derechos humanos One World, el 7 de marzo de 2016 en Prague Crossroads. El acto comenzará a las 7 pm.

“Supe que mi lugar estaba en Cuba luchando por la democracia. Sabía que quemaba las naves, pero no me arrepiento de mi decisión y nunca me arrepentiré”, ha apuntado el escritor y periodista Jorge Olivera, uno de los galardonados.

En el año 2003, durante la llamada Primavera Negra, el gobierno cubano encarceló a 75 disidentes, sentenciados a penas de entre 6 y 28 años de prisión. Debido a la presión internacional, muchos de ellos fueron puestos en libertad en 2010 y recibieron fuertes presiones para obligarlos a partir al exilio. Sin embargo, algunos de ellos decidieron quedarse en la isla. Hoy en día, 11 de estos 75 resisten en en Cuba, trabajando por devolver la democracia al país.

“Para mí este premio representa un nuevo escalón en el compromiso internacional para luchar por la democracia en Cuba y un fuerte estímulo para seguir adelante”, ha añadido Olivera.

Para el gobierno cubano, este grupo de ex prisioneros políticos todavía supone un peligro. Su libertad está limitada, no pudiendo, por ejemplo, viajar fuera de la isla y volver de nuevo a Cuba, como el resto de los cubanos. Además, la  figura de la “licencia extrapenal”, bajo la que fueron puestos en libertad, alegando en la mayoría de los casos razones de salud, permitiría al gobierno volver a encarcelarlos en cualquier momento mientras duren sus condenas, que acabarán entre 2024 y 2028.

Cuba hoy

El diciembre de 2014 Cuba anunció el restablecimiento de las relaciones diplomáticas con Estados Unidos. El acontecimento enseguida despertó el interés de la opinión pública mundial. Desde entonces, las isla ha sido visitada por políticos e inversores de todo el planeta y el gobierno cubano ha conseguido convencer al mundo de que el país está dando pasos para convertirse en una democracia, Por desgracia, aparte de la apertura de la embajada de EEUU en la Habana, el año 2015 no ha traído cambios positivos. En la segunda mitad del año incluso se han incrementado las detenciones arbitrarias de activistas, llegando en el mes de noviembre, por ejemplo, casi a las 1500. En Cuba hay todavía entre 27 y 30 presos políticos, el espacio para la sociedad civil continúa siendo muy limitado, y las asociaciones de activistas no tienen permitido registrarse legalmente ni realizar sus actividades abiertamente en un país en el que ningún medio de comunicación no estatal está permitido.

Homo Homini

La ONG People in Need concede cada año el premio Homo Homini a una persona o grupo de personas que hayan contribuido de forma destacada a la promoción de los derechos humanos, la democracia y a la resolución no violenta de conflictos políticos. El premio fue otorgado por primera vez en el año 1994. Entre los galardonados se encuentra el abogado azerbaiyano Intigam Aliyev, el  activista kirguiso Azimzhan Askarov, el disidente chino Liu Xiaobo (al que posteriormente se otorgó el Premio Nobel de la Paz) y al opositor cubano Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas,que murió hace tres años en circunstancias aún no aclaradas. Desgraciadamente, buena parte de los galardonados con este premio todavía continúan tras las rejas en sus respectivos países por motivos políticos.

People in Need en Cuba

People in Need trabaja en Cuba desde 1997, cuando empezó a apoyar a opositores y presos políticos. Dada la evolución de la situación en la isla, el trabajo está cada vez más orientado al apoyo de actividades de grupos de la sociedad civil y periodistas independientes. También se dedica al monitoreo de violaciones de los derechos humanos en la isla  ya a la defensa de los derechos de los perseguidos políticos.

 

For additional information:

Adéla Pospíchalová, tel.: 777 787 968, adela.pospichalova@clovekvtisni.cz

 

 

Autor: AP

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