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Document – Cuba: Further information: 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 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 in Havana on

16 September 2012 by the Cuban Revolutionary (Policía

Revolucionaria de Cuba) at José Martí International in Havana.

He had been investigating allegations that medicine provided by the

World 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,

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

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 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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