Observers report Cuban crackdown since U.N. report


MIAMI -- Human rights monitors in Cuba and Miami report an upswing in detentions, home searches and threats against Cuban dissidents since a critical United Nations report on human rights in Cuba was issued three weeks ago.

Seven dissidents apparently still in detention include Angela Herrera, 59, president of Cuba's largest and most vociferous dissident group, and her daughter, Guillermina de la Caridad Acua.

Ms. Herrera and Ms. Acua reportedly have begun a hunger strike at Villa Marista state security headquarters in Havana, said Ninoska Perez of the Voice of the Foundation, a Cuban exile shortwave radio station that broadcasts to the island.

Ms. Herrera heads the Cuban Democratic Coalition, a grouping of 34 organizations that opposes dialogue with President Fidel Castro and frequently contributes telephoned reports to the Voice criticizing conditions on the island.

Some dissidents have been released after questioning by state security agents, while others have been detained overnight or for a few days and then released, said Ariel Hidalgo of the Miami-based Information Bureau of the Cuban Human Rights Movement. "In the past few weeks, pressures against them have been increasing."

Homes have been searched, and typewriters, telephone and address directories and written denunciations of human rights violations have been seized.

"Beginning in 1988, whenever a U.N. document critical of the human rights situation has been issued, the response has always been an increase in repression inside Cuba," said Ricardo Bofill of Miami, president of the Cuban Committee for Human Rights.

Last year, on Dec. 10, a massive crackdown began in Cuba six days after the U.N. General Assembly passed a resolution expressing profound concern over Cuba's human rights record.

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