Freedom House Mourns Loss of Huber Matos


Photo Credit: Wikimedia user Aaron1a12


Freedom House mourns the loss of veteran Cuban freedom champion Huber Matos, one of the most important opposition figures to the Castro regime. Matos, who originally supported Fidel Castro but then spent decades in prison before coming to the United States, died February 27 at age 95.

“Huber Matos was a hero of the modern freedom movement,”  said Arch Puddington, vice president for research at Freedom House. “Given his role as a member of Fidel Castro’s inner circle of revolutionaries, he demonstrated remarkable personal courage by taking a stand for democracy.  In expressing his dissent, he certainly knew he would fall victim to the remorseless power of a totalitarian state

Matos, a long-time friend of Freedom House, “should be remembered “for his dignity and high principle,” Puddington said. “In the face of extreme physical and mental pressure, he never compromised.”

A former commander and leader of the 1959 Cuban Revolution, Matos spent 20 years in jail for sedition. After a long human rights campaign calling for his release, Matos was freed from jail in 1979 and left for San Jose, Costa Rica. He later settled in Miami, where he became an outspoken proponent for human rights in Cuba. For decades, he ran the organization “Independent and Democratic Cuba” (CID), which advocates for democracy on the island.

Freedom House consistently places Cuba among the world’s most repressive societies.  Cuba is ranked Not Free in Freedom in the World 2014, Freedom House's survey of political rights and civil liberties, and Not Free in Freedom of the Press 2013. The island nation also received the second-lowest ranking in Freedom on the Net, a study of internet freedom in 47 countries released in 2013.

Learn more:
Freedom in the World 2013: Cuba
Freedom of the Press 2013: Cuba
Freedom on the Net 2013: Cuba
Blog: Freedom at Issue

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