Embassy Row: Repressive Cuba
By James Morrison
The Washington Times
Sunday, May 26, 2013
Cuba is still politically repressive, poor and largely cut off from the
Internet two years after the communist government adopted modest reforms
such as term limits on politicians and allowing the sale of private
property, a U.S. survey has found.
"Repression of free speech and civil liberties remains high," the
International Republican Institute said of its annual poll of Cubans'
attitudes toward their government.
The report also found that detentions of dissidents have increased.
"In 2012 alone, more than 6,000 politically motivated arrests and
short-term detentions were recorded by the Cuban Commission on Human
Rights Reconciliation," the survey said.
Cubans also reject the island's one-party Communist system, established
after the 1959 Cuban revolution. Sixty-four percent of those surveyed
said Cubans, instead of the Cuban Communist Party, should choose their
president. Only 14 percent support the current system.
Fifty-three percent accused the government of political repression,
while 20 percent defended the regime of President Raul Castro. Another
20 percent declined to answer that question on the survey, and 7 percent
said they did not know.
Sixty-nine percent said the government prohibits free speech, despite
Mr. Castro's 2011 promises of political reform. Only 21 percent claimed
they could speak their minds openly.
"Repression and intimidation from the Cuban government is still a
pervasive force in the lives of Cubans," the institute said. "Many
respondents were reluctant to answer certain questions they may have
Cuban also live mostly without Internet service; only 4 percent of those
surveyed said they could access the Web or email.
The Cuban economy continues to suffer, especially with cuts in
government jobs and little private employment. Many are driven to a
growing black market, the survey found.
The Washington-based pro-democracy group interviewed 688 Cubans
throughout the island's 14 provinces in January and February. The survey
has a margin of error of 3.7 percentage points.