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Join HRF and DDC for “20 minutes of silence for 20 years of impunity”

Cuba: Join HRF and DDC for “20 minutes of silence for 20 years of impunity”
[09-07-2014 00:01:00]
Human Rights Foundation

( NEW YORK (July 8, 2014)—Directorio
Democrático Cubano (DDC) and the Human Rights Foundation (HRF) invite
you to join in a symbolic act of peaceful protest in honor of the
20-year anniversary of the “13 de Marzo” tugboat killings. On July 13,
1994, the Cuban government murdered 37 Cuban citizens as they attempted
to escape the island aboard the tugboat 13 de Marzo. The gathering will
take place Thursday, July 10, at 12:00pm EST, outside the Permanent
Mission of the Republic of Cuba to the United Nations, located at 315
Lexington Avenue in New York. Human rights activists, civil society
representatives, and members of the Cuban exile community will gather in
front of the mission to observe 20 minutes of silence for the 20 years
that this crime has gone unpunished.
“The anniversary of the 13 de Marzo tragedy is a harsh reminder of the
cruel and ruthless nature of the military dictatorship that has ruled
Cuba for the last 55 years,” said Janisset Rivero, national secretary
assistant of DDC. Likewise, Thor Halvorssen, president of HRF stated:
“The innocent victims of these barbaric acts, the men, women, and
children who were murdered by agents of the Cuban dictatorship, are a
vivid example that there is nothing—no matter how heinous, violent, or
immoral—that tyrants aren’t willing to do to prevent people from
breaking free of their rule.”

On July 13, 1994, Cuban coast guard vessels were deployed in pursuit of
the 13 de Marzo tugboat after state security forces learned of the
massive attempt to escape the island. Acting on direct orders from the
government, state agents chased and intercepted the boat, which carried
72 men, women, and children, seven miles from the Havana harbor. The
Cuban agents had no intention of returning the boat to land; instead,
they first used high-pressure water hoses to sweep the boat’s occupants
off the deck, and then rammed the boat repeatedly until it collapsed and
sank. 37 Cuban citizens, mostly women and children, drowned as a result.
As the result of a decision made by the Cuban government, no attempt was
made to recover the bodies.

Twenty years after the 13 de Marzo tugboat killings, the perpetrators of
this heinous crime have yet to be brought to justice. Meanwhile, the 30
survivors of the attack have been denied any moral or financial
compensation, despite comprehensive and conclusive reports, issued by
the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and other international
organizations, which find the Cuban government responsible for the

“The refusal to investigate, prosecute, and convict those responsible
for serious human rights violations in Latin American military
dictatorships, coupled with a lack of judicial independence, has led to
the establishment of a ‘right to the truth’ to which victims and their
relatives are entitled,” said HRF legal associate Roberto González. “In
the case of the tugboat 13 de Marzo, the Cuban military dictatorship,
like the anticommunist dictatorships of the seventies, not only refused
to compensate the victims, but they publicly refused to perform any
investigative procedure aimed at uncovering the truth of what happened.
On the contrary, a few days after the 37 deaths, president Fidel Castro
actually praised the acts committed by the Cuban agents as ‘truly
patriotic efforts,’ stressing that their behavior was ‘exemplary,’”
concluded González.

DDC and HRF invite all human rights activists, international civil
society members, and Cuban exiles in the New York area to honor the
victims of the “13 de Marzo” tugboat killings and express outrage for
the continued impunity enjoyed by the Cuban government. Please join us
on July 10 at 12 p.m. EST outside the Permanent Mission of the Republic
of Cuba to the United Nations, located at 315 Lexington Avenue in New York.

The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) is a nonpartisan nonprofit
organization that promotes and protects human rights globally, with a
focus on closed societies. We believe that all human beings are entitled
to freedom of self-determination, freedom from tyranny, the rights to
speak freely, to associate with those of like mind, and to leave and
enter their countries. Individuals in a free society must be accorded
equal treatment and due process under law, and must have the opportunity
to participate in the governments of their countries; HRF’s ideals
likewise find expression in the conviction that all human beings have
the right to be free from arbitrary detainment or exile and from
interference and coercion in matters of conscience. HRF does not support
nor condone violence. HRF’s International Council includes human rights
advocates George Ayittey, Vladimir Bukovsky, Palden Gyatso, Garry
Kasparov, Mutabar Tadjibaeva, Elie Wiesel, and Harry Wu.

Source: Cuba: Join HRF and DDC for ’20 minutes of silence for 20 years
of impunity’ – Misceláneas de Cuba –

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