HAVANA - Cuba is an "authoritarian state" where "neither the [recent] legislative nor the national elections were considered to be free or fair," said the United States Department of State Human Rights report released Wednesday.
The 2018 report, issued by the State Department since 1977, evaluates the practices of roughly 200 counties and territories.
“Our aim is always to identify human rights challenges and use American influence and power to move every nation towards better, more consistent human rights practices,” said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
In the 30-page report that focuses on Cuba, the State Department outlines a long list of abuses including “unlawful and arbitrary killing by police; torture of political dissidents, detainees, and prisoners by security forces.”
The report also addresses censorship, limitations on academic and cultural freedom as well as the right to peacefully assemble.
“Government officials, at the direction of their superiors, committed most human rights abuses and failed to investigate or prosecute those who committed the abuses,” the report added.
Shortly after the report’s release, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez fought back in a tweet by saying the U.S. has no moral authority to speak about human rights.
“It is a global repressor; discriminates against minorities; impoverishes the poor; deprives millions from the right to vote; violates human rights of immigrants,” Rodriguez said.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a strong critic of the Cuban system, praised the report, adding it “reminds us how so many people around the world face daily assaults on their rights and freedoms at the hands of their own governments.”
Rubio said the “United States must be prepared to lead out allies in the free world in standing up to authoritarian governments who abuse their citizens and calling out injustice where we see it.”
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