Who are the leaders of the Movimiento Cubano de Jóvenes por la Democracia and the Consejo Unitario de Trabajadores Cubanos?
The president of the Movimiento Cubano de Jóvenes por la Democracia (hereafter, the Movimiento) is Néstor Rodríguez Lobaina, who was sentenced to 18 months in prison on April 10, 1997 for "disrespect" and "resistance," and is currently imprisoned in the Combinado de Guantánamo prison in Guantánamo province. Radamés García de la Vega, a Movimiento vice president was sentenced on July 23, 1997 to 18 months in prison for "disrespect" and is currently imprisoned in Santiago de Cuba (AI August 1997, 11-12).
In 1998 the principal spokesperson for the Movimiento was Rafael Fonseca Ochoa, who is currently a vice president of the group and also a member of the Consejo Unitario de Trabajadores Cubanos (CUTC) (BPIC 19 June 1998). During 1998, he has often denounced to independent Cuban journalists poor treatment of prisoners and other human rights violations (BPIC 23 February 1998). The Buró de Prensa Independiente de Cuba (BPIC) reported that he was detained by state security on May 26, 1998, threatened with imprisonment on a charge of "disobedience," and released (BPIC 11 June 1998). In mid-June, Fonseca denounced that Néstor Rodríguez Lobaina and other political prisoners in Combinado de Guantánamo prison had become ill because the prisons drinking water had become contaminated (BPIC 19 June 1998).
The home town of Néstor Rodríguez Lobaina is Baracoa, Guantánamo province, and his fathers name is Ramón Rodríguez Azahares. The father told independent journalists in mid-June 1998 that in May his son and others had been confined to maximum security punishment cells in the Combinado de Guantánamo prison because they had carried out an homage to Pedro Luis Boitel, a political prisoner who died in prison in 1972 (El Nuevo Herald 23 June 1998). Boitel is the namesake of at least two political prisoner groups in Cuba . In the Combinado de Guantánamo prison the group is called the Presidio Político Cubano Pedro Luis Boitel and Rodríguez Lobaina participates in it (El Nuevo Herald 23 June 1998).
In early March 1998 the Movimiento and 12 other dissident groups in the eastern provinces formed an umbrella group, the Plataforma Democrática Oriental. This group issued the Declaración de Oriente, which said that, inspired by the Pope, they had come together around the idea of liberty, democracy and justice based on "Social Christian Doctrine" (De Motas 10 March 1998).
As noted above, Rafael Fonseca Ochoa is also a member of the CUTC. The CUTC was founded in Havana in 1995 and since then has established branches in some other provinces, including Guantánamo (BPIC 8 March 1998). The president of the CUTC is Pedro Pablo Alvarez Ramos. On June 9, 1998, the CUTC issued a written statement in Havana protesting the Cuban governments refusal to let Alvarez Ramos make a trip to Venezuela (NPC 18 June 1998). Two days earlier, on June 7, the CUTC and eight other organizations issued a document in Havana which proposed to the Cuban government the idea of creating a Cámara Conjunta de Representantes, to be made up of government representatives and peaceful opposition groups both on the island and in exile, for the purpose of establishing a dialogue (InfoBuró 15 June 1998).
This Response was prepared after searching publicly accessible information currently available to the RIC within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.
Amnesty International. August 1997. Cuba: Renewed Crackdown on Peaceful Government Critics. (AI Index: AMR 25/29/97). London: Amnesty International.
Buró de Información de Movimiento Cubano de Derechos Humanos (InfoBuró) [Miami]. 15 June 1998. "Organizaciones disidentes de dentro y fuera de Cuba proponen proyecto de nueva cámara." [Internet] <URL:www.netpoint.net/~infoburo>.
Buró de Prensa Independiente de Cuba (BPIC) [Havana]. 19 June 1998. Luis López Prendes. "Dramática convivencia en cárcel cubana." [Internet] <URL: www.cubanet.org/centro.html> [Accessed on 23 June 1998]. Article also published 29 June 1998 as "Maltratan a presos en Guantánamo." El Nuevo Herald [Miami].
11 June 1998. Luis López Prendes. "Detenido periodista sindical en un desalojo." [Internet] <URL:www.cubanet.org/centro.html> [Accessed on 16 June 1998].
8 March 1998. Virgilio Escobar. "Llamamiento del Consejo Unitario de Trabajadores." [Internet] <URL:www.cubanet.org/centro.html> [Accessed on 11 March 1998].
23 February 1998. Luis López Prendes. "Niegan asistencia médica a prisioneros políticos." [Internet] <URL: www.cubanet.org/centro.html> [Accessed on 25 February 1998].
De Motas, Monike. 10 March 1998. "Se unifican 13 organizaciones orientales." [Internet] <URL:www.cubanet.org/centro.html>.
El Nuevo Herald [Miami]. 23 June 1998. Raul Rivero. "Denuncian aislamiento de prisionero."
Nueva Prensa Cubana (NPC). 18 June 1998. "No permite Cuba salida del país a sindicalista independiente." Diario Las Americas [Miami].