Finally, President Diaz-Canel Recognizes the Existence of Femicides in Cuba and Asks for ‘Zero Tolerance’

Cuban President Díaz-Canel met with 480 women from the provinces of Havana, Cienfuegos, Villa Clara, Sancti Spíritus and Ciego de Ávila. (Twitter/Presidency of Cuba)

14ymedio bigger EFE (via 14ymedio), Havana, 15 April 2023 — Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel said this Friday that there will be “zero tolerance” for sexist violence, which he described as “an unacceptable act” on the Island.

“This has to be a society with zero tolerance for violence and in particular for violence against women,” Díaz-Canel said in his first public pronouncement on this issue, which has gained much greater notoriety with the rise of reporting from independent feminist platforms and social networks.

The Cuban president met with 480 women from the provinces of Havana, Cienfuegos, Villa Clara, Sancti Spíritus and Ciego de Ávila in a meeting called Voices of Women for Gender Non-Violence, held this Friday in Santa Clara, as reported by the Presidency on Twitter.

“Violence against any woman is not only a blow to the feminist tradition of the Revolution, it is an unacceptable act for our socialist society,” Díaz-Canel stressed.

In Cuba there are no public statistics on femicides, and the official media do not usually report on it.

Díaz-Canel said that “because of the very strength of the social work of the Revolution, it is inadmissible for us that there are still manifestations of violence against women in our society,” during the meeting organized by the official Federation of Cuban Women.

Previously, he had announced on Twitter his participation in “this important meeting for a Cuba without violence against women.”

In a video released about his participation in the meeting, Díaz-Canel said that a national discussion will be held and a group of actions implemented to protect women who could be victims of gender violence.

The work of independent platforms against gender violence and their dissemination by some independent media has contributed to focusing on this issue, particularly the cases of sexist murders and disappearances of women. Feminist groups have confirmed so far this year 23 femicides on the Island and 141 since 2019.

The most recent case was reported last Monday. It was the murder of a young woman at the hands of her partner in Havana, the third documented in the last week. Yo Sí Te Creo [I Do Believe You] has insisted on a “Third Call” for the declaration of a “State of Emergency in Cuba for Gender Violence,” which was signed by 15 independent projects.

The call criticizes the lack of protocols and prevention mechanisms in Cuba, the persistence of problems in complying with restraining orders for potential victims and receiving complaints, and the lack of shelters and protection networks.

Independent activists insist on a specific comprehensive law against gender violence.

They consider that femicide should be expressly classified as a crime in the current Cuban Criminal Code, which only contemplates gender-based violence.

The most recent official statistics on this type of event appear in the 2016 National Gender Equality Survey in which 10,698 women participated. The survey showed that 26.7% of Cuban women between the ages of 15 and 74 claim to have suffered some type of violence in their relationship.

The state press does not usually collect these facts, which have become increasingly visible through social networks, but lately several media have reported on the issue and have recognized the need to have a comprehensive law that focuses on gender violence and provides “statistics that are public and timely.”

Translated by Regina Anavy


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