EXECUTIVE SUMMARY NO.2

Attacks due to political motives of ideological indoctrination in Cuban universities as a violation of the right to academic freedom.

1. ​​Violations to academic freedom, via retaliation against members of the collegiate community, due to political motives.  

As a result The Global Observatory on Academic Freedom (GOAF) a conjunction of incidents of persecution has been documented in Cuban universities due to political and ideological reasons. This, as part of a systematic policy of the State, as a detriment to members of the Cuban academic community, which results as incompatible with various international instruments. In the present report documentation of new cases emerge and present a record of these incidents in agreement with endangered rights, the recorded years and the institutions of higher education where these occurred. Note that chart 1 includes the registered cases in the first two reports.

This is according to the type of incident that occurred, having recorded the following data:

 

Gráfica 1. Incidentes por tipo​​

Informe No. 2 OLA
Gráfica 1. Incidentes por tipo.png

Fuente: Defenders Data Base (2020)

 

1.1 Harassment against Eliecer Jiménez Almeida, journalism student at the University of Camagüey (UC)

Since October 2009, Eliecer Jiménez Almeida, a UC journalism student, has been the target of harassment actions against him by various authorities, professors, and university students. The harassment began after the student submitted a short film to an audiovisual contest, entitled: Toilet-ando sin ganas, [Toilet-walking without wanting to]. In the short film the critical situation of the bathrooms (toilets) in that education center was exposed. Among the actions taken, those that stood out: his separation from higher education for two (2) years (officially motivated by unexcused absences), the verbal prohibition of his entrance to the university, his dishonorable expulsion from the Unión de Jóvenes Comunistas (UJC) [Union of Young Communists], harassment by a professor, postponement of an academic semester and persecution by the Security Agent assigned to the university.

The events set forth have exposed Eliecer Jiménez Almeida to various distinct human rights violations, among these: the right to freedom of expression and opinion acknowledged in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (article 19), the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (article 19), the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man (article IV), the American Convention on Human Rights (Pact of San José, article 13), the right to freedom of thought or recognized conscience in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (article 18), International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (article 18), the right to education and the academic freedom recognized in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (article 13), the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (article 26), The general Observation N° 13 of The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) of the United Nations, the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man (article XII), among other instruments. It’s important to highlight, the constant violation of the right to due process, contained in the article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the principle of non-discrimination recognized in the  Universal Declaration of Human Rights (article 2), among other instruments2.

1.2. Arbitrary dismissal of Noel Medina Hernández, professor at the Universidad de Ciencias Informáticas (UCI) [University of Computer Science]

In March of 2013, Noel Medina Hernández, professor at UCI, was expelled from the university during a process directed by the Dean of the VII School, accompanied by leaders of the Party and Syndicate of that school. The event occurred after the professor held a conversation with a coworker, via an internal UCI chat application, in which he commented that he had to sign a book of condolences.

The book signing was regarding the national mourning, decreed by the Cuban government, due to the death of the then Venezuelan President, Hugo Chávez. During the conversation, Professor Medina did so express himself, regarding the leader:

“(…) it’s not like he was going to

send us oil from heaven. ”

Medina appealed the decision before the UCI Labor Council and the Municipal Court. These organizations ratified the aforementioned decision, based on the non-fulfillment of the “ideal requirements” that were demanded of a professor in that university, without taking into account the quality of their work performance.

 

This situation prevented him from getting a job as a university professor again. In addition, it constituted a violation of academic freedom and the right to freedom of thought, as well as the inviolability of personal communications, as guaranteed in article 57 of the Cuban Constitution of 1976.

 

Noel Medina has been a victim of the violation of distinct human rights, among those: the right to freedom of expression and opinion3, the right to freedom of thought or conscience4, the right to education and academic freedom5, due process6, the right to work7, the right to not be discriminated against8, among other rights9.

2. Systematic attacks and retaliation against university students due to political motives.

2.1. Retaliation against Rafael Gabriel Almanza Alonso, fourth-year student of Economics at the University of Camagüey (UC)

In 1980, UC Dean, Dr. Juan Vela Valdés, imposed upon Rafael Almanza Alonso, a fourth-year economics student, a sanction of separation from  university studies for one(1)  year. The objective of the sanction was due to having freely protested about professors and dogmas with the implementation of Cuban Marxism. The official banned the student from any possible appeal. The event was framed within the repressive climate highlighted at a national level due to the development of “The Deepening of the Revolutionary Conscience Process.” Said process consisted of purging all educational levels within Cuba, a cause of recent massive migration to the United States.

2.2. Retaliation against Amado Gil Alfonso, student at the School of Scenery Art of the Higher Institute of Art (ISA)

In 1981, Amado Gil Alfonso, student at the School of Scenery Art of the ISA, was banned and professionally after having refused to acknowledge his brother as a traitor, who had emigrated the year before to the United States. The student also refused to work as an undercover agent for the Cuban counterintelligence entity, upon being recruited by the Departamento de la Seguridad del Estado (DSE) [Department of State Security],  for that to be implemented.

 

As a consequence of the harassment that this situation generated, he decided to emigrate with his family to the United States, such indention being graded as a “grave fault of character” by the Disciplinary Commission of the ISA, headed by Dr. María Angélica Álvarez Capín. The grade,  in accordance with the Dean, Dra. Graziella Pogolotti Jacobson, even motivated Gil Alfonso’s immediate expulsion from the institute in 1983, and subsequently being prohibited to continue attending classes. In addition, he was forced to  wait five (5) years to receive his migratory release (permission to leave the country), due to having been a university student.

 

Amado Gil has been a victim of the violation of the right of free expression and opinion10, the right to freedom of thought or conscience11,  the right to education and academic freedom12, due process13, in addition to the right to not be discriminated against14, among others15.

2. Practices of ideological indoctrination or intervention to the detriment of Cuban universities.

2.3. Speech given by Fidel Castro on the 7th of July of 1981, President of the Republic of Cuba, in which he threatens the right to academic freedom.

On the 7th of July of 1981, during the  graduation ceremony from the "Manuel Ascunce Domenech" Pedagogical University, Fidel Castro gave a speech in which he pointed out the principle traits of a Cuban university professor. These traits served as a reference for the regulation of higher education in Cuba, also being cited the article of the 13th of August of 2019, by Martha del Carmen Mesa Valenciano, First Vice Minister of the Ministry of Higher Education, in which, she addressed Cuban university professors having to encourage morale, principles, policy and the ideology of the Communist Party of Cuba. The above, assumes that university professors don’t enjoy academic freedom, to the extent that they must be aligned with the ideological pillars of the party in order to execute their professorship. In other words, you can’t be a university professor without agreeing with the political alignment of the regime in power.

2.4. Resolution Nº 85 of the 13th of July of 2016, issued by the Ministry of Higher Education of Cuba, violating the right to academic freedom and thought.  

On the 7th of February of 2017, Resolution Nº 85 was published in Gaceta Oficial Nº 5.  It was a product of the Agreement of the 13th of July of 2016, adopted by the State Council and signed by the Minister of Education, José Ramón Saborido Loidi. The Resolution stipulated a set of norms that condition the political-ideological qualities of teaching by Cuban university professors. The conditioning obeys the content control of their lectures, conforming to the imposed ideals of the Revolution and the socialist government of Cuba, which jeopardizes the right to academic freedom and of thought, recognized by  international human rights.

1. Cuba forms part of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, its two optional protocols, and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. In addition, Cuba has ratified the ILO Conventions on: Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organize (No. 87, 1948), Application of the Principles of the Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining (No. 98, 1949), Equal Remuneration for Men and Women Performing Jobs of Equal Value (No. 100, 1951), Discrimination with respect to Employment and Occupation (No. 111, 1958) and Employment Policy (No. 122). The Cuban State has neither ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, even when it was signed on the 28th of February of 2008, nor that of the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Cuba also participated in the approval of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man (1948), and did ratify, on the 16th of July of 1952, the Charter of the Organization of American States.

2. It’s necessary to point out that the International Covenants on Economic Social and Cultural Rights, and the Civil and Political Rights of 1966 have not been ratified by the Cuban State. However, given that it was signed in February of 2008, it’s important it be mentioned in the present report. Unfortunately, neither the American Convention on Human Rights nor the American Convention on Human Rights, in terms of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Protocol of San Salvador, 1988), have been ratified by the Cuban State.

3. Recognized in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (article 19), the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (article 19), the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man (article IV), the American Convention of Human Rights (Pact of San José) (article 13).

 

4. Recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (article 18), International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (article 18).

5 Recognized in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (article 13), the Universal Declaration of Human Rights(article 26), the general Observation N° 13 of The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) of the United Nations, the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man (article XII), among other instruments.

 

6 Recognized in article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

 

7 Recognized in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (article 7), the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (article 23), the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man (article XIV), the American Convention on Human Rights in terms of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Protocol of San Salvador, article 7).

 

8 Recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (article 2)

 

9 It’s necessary to point out that the International Covenants on Economic Social and Cultural Rights, and the Civil and Political Rights of 1966 have not been ratified by the Cuban State. However, given that it was signed in February of 2008, it’s important it be mentioned in the present report. Unfortunately, neither the American Convention on Human Rights nor the American Convention on Human Rights, in terms of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (Protocol of San Salvador, 1988), have been ratified by the Cuban State.

10 Recognized in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (article 19), the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (article 19), the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man (article IV), the American Convention on Human Rights (Pact of San José, article 13).

 

11  Recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (article 18), International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (article 18).

 

12 Recognized in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (article 13), the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (article 26), the general Observation N° 13 of The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) of the United Nations, the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man (article XII), among other instruments.

13 Recognized in article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

 

14 Recognized in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (article 2).

 

15 The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural and Civil and Political Rights of 1966 have not been ratified by the Cuban State. Neither has the American Convention of Human Rights