Hunger strike in Cuba
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    Prisoner of conscience on hunger strike: Calixto Ramón Martínez Arias

    Document – Cuba: Further information: Prisoner of conscience on hunger

    strike: Calixto Ramón Martínez Arias

    Further information on UA: 25/13 Index: AMR 25/002/2013 Cuba Date: 14

    March 2013



    image1.png Independent journalist and prisoner of conscience Calixto

    Ramón Martínez Arias is on hunger strike to protest against his

    detention in Cuba. As a result, he has been placed in solitary

    confinement in a punishment cell.

    On 6 March, journalist Calixto Ramón Martínez Arias went on hunger

    strike to protest against his detention in Combinado del Este prison on

    the outskirts of Havana, Cuba. He was consequently transferred by the

    prison authorities to a punishment cell. According to his relatives, the

    small cell where he is now held has no light, toilet facilities or

    bedding, and he is not permitted to leave the cell to exercise in the

    open air. These kinds of punitive measures are typically used by the

    Cuban authorities against prisoners on hunger strike.

    image2.jpgCalixto Ramón Martínez Arias works for the unofficial news

    agency, Let's Talk Press (Hablemos Press). He was arrested in Havana on

    16 September 2012 by the Cuban Revolutionary Police (Policía

    Revolucionaria de Cuba) at José Martí International Airport in Havana.

    He had been investigating allegations that medicine provided by the

    World Health Organization to fight the cholera outbreak (which began in

    mid-2012) was being kept at the airport instead of being distributed.

    Since then, he has been detained in various detention centres. He has

    been held at Combinado del Este prison since November 2012.

    Calixto Ramón Martínez Arias is yet to be formally charged by the public

    prosecutor, and according to his relatives he is reportedly being

    accused of "disrespect" ("desacato"). Amnesty International believes

    Calixto Ramón Martínez Arias' detention is politically motivated and

    related to his peaceful exercise of freedom of expression.

    Please write immediately in Spanish or your own language:

    Calling on the Cuban authorities to release Calixto Ramón Martínez Arias

    immediately and unconditionally, as he is a prisoner of conscience,

    detained solely for peacefully exercising his right to freedom of


    Urging them to remove him from solitary confinement, and ensure he is

    granted any medical attention he may require;

    Urging them to refrain from taking punitive measures against prisoners

    for undertaking hunger strikes.



    Attorney General

    Dr. Darío Delgado Cura

    Fiscal General de la República, ?Fiscalía General de la República,

    Amistad 552, e/Monte y Estrella, ?Centro Habana,

    La Habana, Cuba

    Salutation: Dear Attorney General

    Interior Minister

    General Abelardo Coloma Ibarra

    Ministro del Interior y Prisiones

    Ministerio del Interior, ?Plaza de la Revolución, ?La Habana, Cuba

    Fax: +1 212 779 1697 (via Cuban Mission to UN)


    Salutation: Your Excellency

    And solidarity letters to:

    Centro de Información Hablemos Press

    Roberto de Jesús Guerra Pérez –


    calle Santa Marta 394, Apto 3 alto, entre Franco y Subirana, municipio

    Centro Habana, La Habana, Cuba



    Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.

    Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above

    date. This is the first update of UA 25/13. Further information:



    prisoner of conscience on hunger strike

    ADditional Information

    Restrictions on the Cuban media are stringent and pervasive and clearly

    stop those in the country from enjoying their right to freedom of

    opinion and expression, including freedom to seek, receive and impart

    information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. The

    state maintains a total monopoly on television, radio, the press,

    internet service providers, and other electronic means of communication.

    Article 53 of the Cuban Constitution recognizes freedom of the press but

    expressly prohibits private ownership of the mass media: "Citizens have

    freedom of speech and of the press in keeping with the objectives of

    socialist society. Material conditions for the exercise of that right

    are provided by the fact that the press, radio, television, cinema, and

    other mass media are state or social property and can never be private

    property. This assures their use at exclusive service of the working

    people and in the interests of society. The law regulates the exercise

    of those freedoms." Although there is no censorship law that explicitly

    regulates the functioning of the press or establishes what is published,

    journalists must join the Cuban Journalists Association (Unión de

    Periodistas Cubanos, UPEC) in order to practice journalism in the

    state-owned media. UPEC is self-governing; however, in its statutes it

    recognizes the Cuban Communist Party as "the highest leading force of

    society and of the state" and agrees to abide by Article 53 of the

    Constitution (see above).

    Compulsory membership of a professional association for the practice of

    journalism is an unlawful restriction on freedom of expression and a

    violation of the right to freedom of association. Article 20 of the

    Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) states that, "no one may be

    compelled to belong to an association". In the particular case of UPEC,

    whose members are employees of the government of Cuba, compulsory

    membership is a means of exerting political control in the field of

    communications. Only journalists expressing views in line with official

    government policies are accredited by UPEC; independent journalists are

    barred from joining.

    The news agency Hablemos Press is an unofficial Cuban news agency

    founded in February 2009 by independent journalists and human rights

    activists, "for the purpose of gathering and disseminating news within

    the country and for the rest of the world" according to their website.

    Hablemos Press journalists are regular victims of short-term arrests and

    harassment related to their work. Prior to his September arrest, Calixto

    Ramón Martínez Arias had been detained without charge on a number of

    occasions in 2012. On 11 September 2012 the director of Hablemos Press –

    Roberto de Jesús Guerra Pérez – was forced into a car and reportedly

    beaten as he was driven to a police station. Before being released, he

    was told that he had become the "number one dissident journalist" and

    would face imprisonment if he continued his activities.

    Amnesty International believes no prisoner should be confined long term

    in conditions of isolation and reduced sensory stimulation, and that

    conditions of detention should conform to the UN Standard Minimum Rules

    for the Treatment of Prisoners and other international human rights

    standards. Amnesty International believes that if solitary confinement

    is used, strict limits should be imposed on the practice, including

    regular and adequate medical supervision by a doctor.

    Hunger strikes are often used in Cuba by political dissidents and other

    activists as a way of protest, and demonstrate the situation of despair

    and hopelessness that they face when victims of unfair and prolonged

    incarcerations. For further information, see: Cuba must release prisoner

    of conscience on hunger strike


    In September 2012 Jorge Vázquez Chaviano carried out a hunger strike

    after the Cuban authorities failed to release him following the end of

    his 18-month prison sentence. In recent years hunger strikes have led to

    the death of two prisoners: Orlando Zapata Tamayo (see: Death of Cuban

    prisoner of conscience on hunger strike must herald change,

    in February 2010, and Wilmar Villar Mendoza (see: Cuban authorities

    'responsible' for activist's death on hunger strike,

    in January 2012 – both prisoners of conscience.

    Name: Calixto Ramón Martínez Arias

    Gender m/f: m

    Further information on UA: 25/13 Index: AMR 25/002/2013 Issue Date: 14

    March 2013

    Calixto Ramón Martínez Arias © Hablemos Press

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