Cuba’s Political Prisoners and the People of Ukraine, Winners of the Pedro Luis Boitel 2023 Freedom Prize

A person looks at banners with photos of Cuban prisoners during a press conference in Miami, Florida, on May 16, 2023. (EFE/EPA/CRISTOBAL HERRERA-ULASHKEVICH)

14ymedio biggerEFE (via 14ymedio), Miami, 29 August 2023 — The Assembly of the Cuban Resistance (ARC), which includes opposition organizations from inside and outside Cuba, announced this Tuesday that the Pedro Luis Boitel 2023 Freedom Prize was awarded to the 137 Cuban political prisoners and the Ukrainian people for defending their sovereignty against “Russian aggression.”

Established in 2001, the Boitel Prize is awarded every year by an international panel to an outstanding figure in the fight for freedom in Cuba or in the world.

The announcement of the winners was made in Kiev as part of the visit of a delegation from the Assembly of the Cuban Resistance and the Hemispheric Front for Freedom to express their solidarity with the cause of Ukrainian freedom and their rejection of “the participation of the Castroite Black Berets in the Russian aggression” against that country.

The award honors the memory of Pedro Luis Boitel, who fought against the military dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista and then against the regime of Fidel Castro and died in 1972 after a 53-day hunger strike in a Cuban jail.

According to a statement from ARC, Alexander Merezhko, Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Ukrainian Parliament, and MP Maryan Zablotsky participated in the announcement of the Boitel Prize winners.

“We support political prisoners in Cuba, especially women political prisoners, and we are happy that this year the Boitel award goes to women political prisoners in Cuba. We admire your courage and demand your release,” said Merezhko.

Zablotsky said that Ukrainians know well that communism, “an ideology that should not have existed,” “only leads to repression” and regretted that it persists in Cuba and other countries.

“You should know that we share your pain and your values. And I am sure that freedom always wins over darkness,” added the deputy, according to an ARC statement.

Salvadoran congressman Ricardo Godoy and Orlando Gutiérrez Boronat, ARC coordinator, also addressed the announcement.

Gutiérrez recalled that in Kiev’s Maidan square “the recovery of sovereignty by the people of Ukraine began in the critical year of 2014,” with popular demonstrations and the action of the Armed Forces that prevented Russia from dominating Ukraine again and consolidated the democracy of the country.

“Maidan is a cry for freedom and a symbol of freedom for the entire world and it should also be for Cuba. It is in this alliance between the people and the patriotic Armed Forces that the hope for the liberation of Cuba lies,” he stressed.


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