HRW says that in Cuba the rulers exercise power "with the barrel of the gun"

The executive director of Human Rights Watch (HRW), Kenneth Roth, stated that Cuba is part of the group of Latin American countries where power is exercised “with the barrel of the gun.”

Speaking to the agency EFE The director said Nicaragua, Venezuela and Cuba are part of a triad of governments that have lost all popular support and power is exercised “with the barrel of the gun.”

Likewise, he considered that “human rights and democracy are in great need of a strong defense in the region,” and gave examples of Mexico and Brazil, countries where regimes are contained by strong democratic institutions.

“It is not something that we can take for granted and (besides) it can be attacked from the left or the right. But at the same time, Latin America is much better than when I started,” Roth told EFE, after the announcement of his departure from the NGO he has led for nearly 30 years.

Last January HRW warned of the “alarming rollback of fundamental freedoms in Latin America,” and called for defending “democratic spaces that we used to take for granted.

In its 2022 World Report, the organization noted that even leaders who came to power through democratic elections “have attacked independent civil society, press freedom and judicial independence” and millions of people “have been forced to leave their homes and countries” due to increased repression.

“In one country after another, we see people take to the streets to oppose autocrats and defend democracy,” Roth explained in the interview, recalling the particular cases of Hong Kong, Thailand, Burma, Russia, Cuba or Nicaragua, in recent months, where the social situation was aggravated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The aforementioned report indicated that in the Cuban case, the government carried out systematic abuses against critics and artists, including arbitrary arrests, mistreatment of detainees, and abusive criminal proceedings, in response to largely peaceful protests against them.

Referring to the July 11 demonstrations, he denounced consistent and repeated patterns of abuse by multiple security forces in different parts of Cuba that are indicative of “human rights violations” and “a deliberate plan by the Cuban authorities to suppress and suppress the protest.

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