MADRID (Reuters) – Cuba’s state security is pressuring dissidents to go into exile in its attempt to weaken opposition on the Communist-run island, a non-governmental human rights organization said on Wednesday.
The Madrid-based Cuban Prisoners Defenders released a 259-page report that named 35 activists, independent journalists and artists whom authorities had forced to leave the country over the past two years, telling them never to return.
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State security threatened them with prison or bodily harm if they did not leave and harassed their families, the NGO, which has links to Cuba’s largest opposition group, the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), said.
Cuba’s government, which did not reply to a request for comment, accuses dissidents of being mercenaries paid by its longtime Cold War foe, the United States, to undermine it and typically dismisses such charges as attempts to tarnish its reputation.
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“It is evident that this is something happening on a massive and alarming scale and that is it imperative it be stopped,” Cuban Prisoners Defenders said in the report, which included dozens of case testimonies.
The NGO, which formed late last year, said more than a third of the 26 activists who responded to its online survey said they were escorted to the airport by state security and forced into exile.
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Some were given boarding passes, typically for flights to Guyana where Cubans can get a tourist visa on arrival, and money for their first month, it said.
The group said that during an eight-day survey period this month it identified 42 more people whom state security...
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