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Cuba: Executions meant to deter migration

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posted on Apr, 19 2003 @ 05:18 AM
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HAVANA -The Cuban government Friday justified the recent executions of three men who hijacked a ferry as an effort to avert a ''migration crisis'' that, according to the foreign minister, could result in a ''war'' with the United States.

The 53-nation U.N. Commission on Human Rights, which regularly criticizes Cuba on its rights record, voted 31-15 during its meeting in Geneva against condemning the communist island's monthlong drive against dissidents and other opponents. The rejected amendment expressed ''deep concern about the recent detention, summary prosecution and harsh sentencing of numerous members of the political opposition'' and called for them to be released.

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posted on Apr, 19 2003 @ 10:54 AM
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Earlier this month, while Iraq was dominating the news, Fidel Castro quietly imprisoned nearly 100 of Cuba's dissidents, independent journalists, human rights activists and intellectuals. Oscar Elias Biscet, for instance, a doctor and one of Cuba's best-known activists, was sentenced to 25 years in jail. Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello, a 56-year-old economist who leads an umbrella organization of 300 human rights groups, was sentenced to 20 years; as was independent journalist Oscar Espinosa Chepe, who has written about the Cuban economy for U.S. Web sites. Cuban authorities accuse the defendants of collaborating in a U.S.-led scheme to undermine the country's government. The charges are baseless. But convictions were rammed through in farcical "trials" nevertheless.

Back at home, the Canadian government issued a statement decrying the "severity" of the recent crackdown. But Jean Chrétien made clear he still wants good relations. "

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