Cuban Dissidents Farinas and Soler Accuse the European Union of Abandonment

Cuban dissident Guillermo Fariñas, in a file photo. (EFE / THAIS LLORCA)

14ymedio biggerEFE (via 14ymedio), Havana, 8 December 2021 – On Wednesday, two Cuban opponents recognized with the European Sakharov Prize for freedom of conscience, Guillermo Fariñas and Berta Soler, accused the European Union (EU) of abandonment and threatened to renounce these awards if the community bloc it does not change its policy towards Cuba.

In letters sent to the EU representative for Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell, and the president of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, the two activists say they feel “abandoned and belittled” by the EU.

“The Sakharov Prize must be a commitment by all parties to never use diplomatic silence in the face of human rights violations and, even less, in the face of crimes against humanity,” they argue in both letters, which were released by the NGO Prisoners Defenders.

They warn that if the EU continues not “to pay attention to the reality that prevails in Cuba” they will consider “the renunciation, even with immense pain” of their Sakharov prizes.

In the fight for the “most fundamental human rights,” they continue, the “victims” need to be given “a real voice and support,” and the EU’s “Sakharov Prize must live with that context, and not with the opposite.”

The two dissidents regretted that the EU embassy in Havana has not wanted to “meet publicly with Cuban civil society or with the Sakharov prize winners” since the signing of the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (PDCA), by which the EU pledged to support human rights defenders.

They added that the European External Action Service (EEAS), the community body headed by Borrell, “has never cooperated, facilitated or mediated with European funds or aid for Cuban civil society or for the Sakharov Prize winners or their organizations and activities” since the signing of the PDCA.

They also accused the embassy of meeting frequently with Cuban state organizations and the EEAS, of providing aid, directly or indirectly, only to “Cuban state organizations and companies.”

They considered that both parties are “flagrantly” violating the PDCA: “the Cuban regime regarding human rights, and the EEAS regarding the treatment of Cuban civil society.”

This, they indicated, has “tragic effects”, such as “diplomatic impunity in the most barbarous exercise of repression” that, “with an exponentially growing character” is being exercised by the Cuban Government “without there being a diplomatic response consistent with the repression that occurs.”

Fariñas and Soler add that “while state violence is radicalized” more and more “with more virulence,” activists continue “without finding the signs of public support and help from the EEAS that had been expected for years” according to the PDCA, which borders on “the violation including of the article and its spirit.”

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