European Union Asks the Cuban Government to ‘Allow’ and ‘Listen’ to the Protesters

Protesters this July 11 in front of the Cuban Capitol, in Havana. (EFE / Ernesto Mastrascusa)

14ymedio biggerEFE (via 14ymedio) – The High Representative of the European Union (EU) for Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell, urged Cuban authorities on Monday to “allow” peaceful protest demonstrations and to “listen” to their participants.

“I want to ask the government to allow these peaceful demonstrations and listen to the demonstrations of discontent from the protesters,” Borrell said at a press conference after a Council of EU Foreign Ministers.

The Spanish politician explained that the situation in Cuba was not on the Council’s agenda, since events on the island had been developing in the last hours.

“I have discussed with colleagues the news that was arriving from Cuba. As far as we know, there have been important demonstrations in a significant number of cities to protest the lack of medicines, the increase of those affected by Covid, and also protests in against the regime,” he said.

Borrell acknowledged that it has been a “manifestation of discontent that, as far as we know, has reached a dimension that has not been known since 1994.”

He noted that there have been a “significant number of demonstrations and there has also been a response from law enforcement authorities that, for the moment, has not been been of a character that has produced particularly violent clashes, according to the news I have available.”

In any case, he asserted that “everything must be said very carefully and with much attention because events may change in the next few hours.”

“The issue has not been the subject of discussion but, certainly, I want to express the right of the Cuban people to express their opinions in a peaceful way,” he stressed.

According to European sources, Borrell mentioned the situation in Cuba in the Foreign Council “without elaborating”, “without commenting” and without evaluating “in a very descriptive” or “in depth” way.

The sources justified that the discussion of the protests in Cuba had not gone further in this meeting of Foreign Ministers due to the fact that it is an “ongoing” situation and, therefore, it is “premature” to pronounce on the matter.

This “political-social” process must see “if it is prolonged or acquires a more consistent appearance” in order to be able to analyze the situation on the island with greater perspective, according to the sources.

The United Nations, for its part, said on Monday that it is following the development of the protests in Cuba and stressed the need for the authorities to fully respect the freedom of expression and assembly of citizens.

“We are simply monitoring what happens and … we want to make sure that the basic rights of the people, especially freedom of expression and the freedom of peaceful assembly, are respected,” said spokesman Farhan Haq when asked about it in a press conference.

Haq stressed that, in the face of these protests, the United Nations maintains its “position of principle” on the importance of respecting these fundamental freedoms and said that he hopes that will be the case in Cuba.

Asked about the alleged attacks suffered by journalists, including a photographer for the AP agency, the spokesman for the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, stressed that “anywhere in the world the press must be free to do their work without harassment and without violence or threats of violence. ”

Translated by Tomás A.


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