The Truth and Memory project is a vehicle of ongoing research, archival collection, publication, advocacy, and capacity-building in truth recovery and transitional justice. It is amassing a comprehensive registry of historic and continuing deaths and disappearances of a political nature resulting from the Cuban revolution over the course of two dictatorships (of Batista and of the Castros).
By gathering and telling the stories of the victims, we hope that people and nations will understand the violent and repressive nature of Cuba’s regime, support the people of Cuba in attaining their rightful freedoms, and defend the region and the world from the Cuban dictatorship.
This independent initiative upholds the intrinsic right of all people to live safely and in freedom, promotes a culture of respect for life and the rule of law, and remembers those who’ve paid the highest price.
The project is premised on the belief that acknowledgement of systemic injustices is vital for the psychological wellbeing of both survivors and society and that constructive remembering shapes a moral ethos that promotes reconciliation and helps avert future atrocities. It hopes to serve as a building block for an eventual transitional justice process.
Cuba Archive adheres to strict ethical guidelines in collecting and disseminating direct testimony for all its projects, in accordance to its stated educational and human rights’ purposes. Testimonial and other information is collected from individuals who volunteer, free of any pressure, to provide their accounts, photographs and/or other documentation based on their own evaluation of risks and benefits. Private information is kept confidential and requests for anonymity and any other privacy requests are respected. Secondary sources are referenced throughout the work if available on public and open sources.
Deaths and disappearances of a political and military nature attributed to the Cuban Revolution are documented irrespective of any political, ideological, and other attributes or affiliations of the victims. All findings are reported with objectivity and transparency.
The electronic database includes events beginning on March 10, 1952 (when Batista suspended democratic constitutional rule in Cuba, giving way to the revolutionary struggle) and incorporates actions taking place inside or outside the island as well as affecting Cubans and non-Cubans alike.
Not all documented cases result directly from political violence. Victims of exit attempts from Cuba are documented due to the dictatorial nature of the regime and the systemic problems that lead to mass migration under extremely dangerous circumstances. Suicides resulting from political reasons –such as of individuals in custody, of military recruits, war veterans, and human rights activists– are documented.
Some victims of political violence of the Castro-Communist regime’s sponsorship, support, and funding of international subversion are being documented as research progresses. Victims of Cuba’s military interventions in Africa and Central America are not documented but range in the many hundreds of thousands.
The real cost in lives of the Cuba regime is far higher
This work does not purport to present a comprehensive record of disappearances and fatalities. Many more cases are believed to remain unknown and/or unrecorded.
Deaths in exit attempts are believed to be much higher than documented or reported, as well as deaths in custody/prison –and by a large amount–, however, information from official sources is lacking, field work is not possible, human rights’ organizations are banned and international organizations are not allowed to monitor Cuba’s detention centers and prisons.
The current Cuban regime is also arguably responsible for many more deaths than those emanating from direct political violence: fatalities from crumbling houses, excess mortality from grossly lacking medicines and a broken public health, gross or criminal negligence by government officials lacking accountability, preventable accidents, a high rate of suicides owing o generalized despair and lacking mental health services, and others.
Victims of Cuba’s influence across the globe spreading poverty and repression are also not documented.
“Documented cases” for the purposes of this project are merely those that have come to our attention and investigated.
Database case numbers are assigned randomly.
Records have been classified for “Death attribution,” “Cause of Death,” “Victim Type,” and other categories. This attempt to interpret complex information may be overly simplistic and not fully descriptive.
Sources and Conflicts of Evidence
Sources of case information are often listed in abbreviated form in the database but may be viewed in full detail in the Source Library. Name and contact information of primary sources are not available to the public to protect their privacy. Certain reported bibliographic sources are believed to actually replicate other cited sources.
Discrepancies found among different sources such as in spelling of names or other case details are noted as Conflict of evidence. When the sources disagree on specific information, the data is interpreted in the best possible way, however, the selection is not necessarily correct. Primary sources are usually given greater weight.
It is presumed that some bibliographic sources are derived from other sources also cited in this portal and merely duplicate the information, including any errors.