14ymedio, Havana, 13 November 2020 — The human rights situation in Cuba has deteriorated since the 2016 signing of the Agreement for Political Dialogue and Cooperation between the European Union and the Island, according to the results of a survey conducted by the Civil Rights Defenders (CRD) organization.
The investigation, carried out among more than one hundred independent activists and journalists inside and outside the island, produced a very critical picture of what has happened regarding human rights in Cuba in the last four years and after the signing of the Agreement.
At least 108 of the 110 respondents said that the Cuban authorities do not comply with the article on human rights included in the document ratified at the end of 2017; while 33 of the 70 interviewees who live on the island wanted the European Union to begin the process to suspend the Agreement.
The report that accompanies the results of the survey also compiles several testimonies offered by the interviewees, most of which coincide in pointing out a deterioration in freedom of expression and association, together with the implementation of several very restrictive laws.
“The human rights situation on the island has worsened, with a growing number of arbitrary detentions carried out by the regime to prevent peaceful demonstrations or the exercise of journalism,” wrote independent journalist Vladimir Turró Páez, one of the respondents.
An opinion with which the lawyer Laritza Diversent, founder of the Cubalex legal advisory center, agrees. Diversent stated that “the Government continues to adopt laws and practices that restrict fundamental rights, there are no mechanisms for the protection and defense of these rights.”
For his part, Erik Jennische, director of the Latin American Department of Civil Rights Defenders, warned that if the EU “wants to maintain its credibility as part of international agreements, it must act to ensure that Cuba complies with its commitments.” To do so, he stated, there are mechanisms that can be used to suspend it.
Most of the human rights defenders, inside and outside the island surveyed by the NGO last September, believed that the Government has no intention of respecting the clauses of the agreement, which it considers a “dead letter” for the Cuban reality.
Another opinion, from Alejandro Tur Valladares, commented that the pandemic on the island and the shortage of food, medicine and other needs generates great dissatisfaction in the population. The independent journalist said that, for fear of losing control, “the regime imposes fear with fines, beatings, expropriation of property and imprisonment.”
Until December 2016, when the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement was signed, and subsequently approved by the European Parliament on July 5, 2017, Cuba was the only country in Latin America and the Caribbean with which the EU did not had reached an agreement for dialogue and cooperation.
The document was signed to promote sustainable development, democracy and human rights. With its entry into force, the so-called Common Position that had governed the relationship between both parties since 1996 and that conditioned any collaboration on respect for human rights on the Island was ended.
Article 5 of the Agreement refers to the respect and promotion of democratic principles, together with the fundamental freedoms established in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It also states that respect for the rule of law is an essential element between the two parties.
COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.