14ymedio, Havana, August 1, 2021 — In an open letter to the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, the Council for Democratic Transition in Cuba (CTDC) called upon the union to prepare an action plan to promote a peaceful democratic transition in Cuba. To keep this agreement in force, it also urged EU to call upon the Cuban government to grant amnesty to all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience.
The letter acknowledges EU support in calling upon the Cuban government not only to free Cubans who peacefully expressed their points of view on July 11 but also to grant amnesty to political prisoners and adopt “political and economic reforms that would relieve the Cuban people of their suffering.”
Additionally, the council calls for “immediate and unconditional freedom, without charges, for all July 11 detainees,” as Josep Borrell, speaking on behalf of the EU, requested on July 29 when he urged the Cuban government to “listen to the voices of its citizens and engage in an inclusive dialogue about their complaints.”
The same EU statement also noted that the July 11 protests reflect “popular grievances” over shortages of food, medicine, water and electricity, as well as the denial freedom of expression and of the press “in parallel with the Covid-19 situation.” It argues that these grievances have created “an increased demand for civil and political rights and democracy.”
The CTDC calls upon the government “to accept the creation of Commission for Investigation and Control which will allow the EU to to monitor the unrestricted and unconditional human rights compliance in accordance with the Control Clause in the Agreement of Political Dialogue and Cooperation signed between the European Union and Cuba in December 2016 and provisionally applied since November 1, 2017.” It also calls for “legitimizing an Observation and Scrutiny Committee of the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement of civil society within Cuba.”
On Thursday Borell asked for a relaxation of current EU restrictions on sending foreign currency remittances to Cuba. EU countries have already considered lifting all restrictions on the amount of food and medicine travelers can take into Cuba, which Borell characterized as “a step in the right direction.”
In its letter to Borrell, the CTDC points out, “The Cuban government has flatly refused to accept the 2017 resolution in which the EU reaffirmed its position on democracy, universal human rights and fundamental freedoms. It is clear that, in light of recent events and the lack of will on the part of the Cuban government to respect its commitments, it is necessary to open a broad and updated discussion on the purposes, nature and validity of the agreement. ”
The Cuban government had its own response to the EU’s position. President Miguel Díaz-Canel and his foreign minister, Bruno Rodríguez, accused the European Union of lying, manipulation and slander after the organization on Thursday expressed support for Cuban demonstrators after the July 11 protests and called for the release of detainees.
Rodriguez vigorously rejected the statements by the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and, in a tweet, demanded Borrell “deal with the brutal police repression in the EU,” without providing further details.
In his written statement he also criticized Borrell for “not daring to mention by name the genocidal US blockade that violates European sovereignty and imposes on the Union its laws and courts.”
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