About twenty human rights defenders, religious leaders, writers, artists, businessmen or former diplomats on Sunday called on the international community to condemn the Cuban government’s attempt to “repress and oppress” civil society and undermine the democracy with concrete measures.
“Inaction is not an option,” they said in a joint statement issued by the Center for a Free Cuba in which they expressed their “deep concern” about the situation on the island, where a march is planned tomorrow, called by the group of Archipelago artists, to express their discontent.
The Cuban authorities assure that the United States is behind this initiative and have issued subpoenas, conducted interrogations and resorted to other methods in an attempt to prevent citizens from joining the illegal march, according to organizers and activists.
The group of 25 signatories, including the writer Carlos Alberto Montaner, Otto J. Reich, former Under Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs under the George W. Bush government and president of the Center and the musician Paquito D’Rivera, They point out that since 1989, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has not been allowed to inspect conditions in Cuban prisons.
They highlight that Cuba is the only country in the Americas that Amnesty International and other independent human rights observers cannot visit and where local independent human rights groups are illegal.
“This reality acquires a new urgency after the national non-violent protests of July 11, 2021 and the subsequent and continuous repression that marks a worsening of the period of repression,” they indicate in the statement.
They recalled that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, visited Cuba last July and expressed her concern “about the use of excessive force” against the protesters, the death of one of them and the thousands of arrests.
“The current situation in Cuba requires your attention and action,” they affirm in their appeal to the international community, including Regis Iglesias Ramírez, spokesman for the Christian Liberation Movement, a prisoner of conscience who spent seven years in a Cuban prison.
In their statement they ask the international community to issue joint statements on the current situation in Cuba and denounce the repression against pro-democracy activists as well as warn officials about new sanctions depending on the repression of the 15N march.
Likewise, they request the UN Security Council to send a delegation to the island to establish a humanitarian corridor for direct emergency assistance and that the situation on the island be referred to the International Criminal Court, among other claims.
They have asked the bishops to support the call of their Cuban counterpart for national dialogue, the release of those imprisoned for the events of last July and the rejection of violence by regime officials.
They also addressed a demand to the Cuban Government to release “immediately and unconditionally” all political prisoners, restore all forms of communication; remove restrictions on the distribution of humanitarian aid and that of Cubans in the diaspora.
Also that it allows the visits of the International Committee of the Red Cross to the prisons of Cuba and that of international human rights organizations.