Black Spring (Cuba)

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Black Spring refers to the 2003 crackdown on Cuban dissidents.[1][2][3][4] The government imprisoned 75 dissidents, that included 29 journalists,[1] as well as librarians, human rights activists, and democracy activists, on the basis that they were acting as agents of the United States by accepting aid from the US government. Although Amnesty International adopted 75 Cubans as prisoners of conscience,[5] according to Cuba "the 75 individuals arrested, tried and sentenced in March/April 2003 ... who were jailed are demonstrably not independent thinkers, writers or human rights activists, but persons directly in the pay of the US government ... those who were arrested and tried were charged not with criticizing the government, but for receiving American government funds and collaborating with U.S diplomats."[6]

The crackdown on grassroots activists began on March 18 and lasted two days, coordinated with the US invasion of Iraq for minimum publicity.[1]

Responding to human rights violations, the European Union imposed sanctions on the Castro regime in 2003, that were lifted on January 2008.[7] The European Union declared that the arrests "constituted a breach of the most elementary human rights, especially as regards freedom of expression and political association".[8]

All of the dissidents were eventually released, most of whom were exiled to Spain starting in 2010.[9][10]

Imprisoned people[edit]

Manuel Vázquez Portal received the International Press Freedom Award in 2003.[11] Héctor Maseda Gutiérrez received the same prize in 2008, while locked up in a maximum-security prison.[12]

List of 75 jailed dissidents and their prison sentences:[5]

Related movements[edit]

The wives of imprisoned activists, led by Laura Pollán, formed a movement called Ladies in White. The movement received the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought from the European Parliament in 2005.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Carlos Lauria, Monica Campbell, and María Salazar (March 18, 2008). "Cuba's Long Black Spring". The Committee To Protect Journalists. 
  2. ^ "Black Spring of 2003: A former Cuban prisoner speaks". The Committee to Protect Journalists. 
  3. ^ "Three years after "black spring" the independent press refuses to remain in the dark". The Reporters Without Borders. 
  4. ^ "Cuba - No surrender by independent journalists, five years on from "black spring"". The Reporters Without Borders. March 2008. 
  5. ^ a b "Cuba: "Essential measures"? Human rights crackdown in the name of security". Amnesty International. 2 June 2003. 
  6. ^ "ON RECENT EVENTS IN CUBA Statement by the Nova Scotia Cuba Association". Granma.cu. 8 May 2003. 
  7. ^ "EU lifts sanctions against Cuba". BBC. 20 June 2008. 
  8. ^ "Sakharov nominee: Cuban women who protest against unjust imprisonment". European Parliament. 
  9. ^ "Dissidents' release draws line under Cuba crackdown". BBC News. 24 March 2011. 
  10. ^ "World Report - Cuba". Reporters Without Borders. April 2011. Retrieved 21 February 2013. 
  11. ^ "Awards 2003 - Vazquez Portal". The Committee to Protect Journalists. 
  12. ^ "Héctor Maseda Gutiérrez, Founder and contributor, Grupo de Trabajo Decoro". The Committee to Protect Journalists.