Madrid’s Parliament Asks for the Embassy in Cuba to be Opened to the Dissidents

TheAssembly of the Community of Madrid, Spain, during the vote on a resolution in support of human rights in Cuba and against the dictatorship, this Thursday. (Screen capture)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Madrid, 18 November 2021 — On Thursday, Assembly of the Community of Madrid approved a resolution in defense of human rights in Cuba and against the dictatorship.

In this “non-law proposal,” as it is called in legal terms, presented by the People’s Party (PP, conservative), majority in the regional parliament, they ask the Spanish Government to open the Embassy in Havana to “all defenders of human rights and freedoms “within the Island.

In addition, it asks the Executive to work so that the Cuban dictatorship frees “all those detained for their ideas” and ceases the repression, “so that Cuba can advance towards a free country with prosperity for all.”

The resolution also demands that the Socialist Government (PSOE) of Pedro Sánchez recognize that Cuba is a dictatorship “that violates the human rights and freedoms of its citizens,” while requiring it to collaborate so that Cubans “can exercise their own country the rights to free expression, assembly, association and demonstration without being repressed by its rulers.”

“The Madrid Assembly urges the regional government to continue supporting the more than 23,000 Cubans residing in the Community of Madrid in their fight for freedom and democracy, since nothing that happens in Latin America is foreign to Spain, and much less to Madrid,” the proposal also says.

Attending the debate in the Assembly as a guest was Alejandro González Raga, former political prisoner of Cuba’s 2003 Black Spring and director of the Cuban Observatory for Human Rights, based in the Spanish capital, who was greeted from the podium by the popular deputy Almudena Negro before initiating the defense of the proposal.

In his speech, Negro recalled the protests of July 11 on the island, repressed by the dictatorial regime established by “the infamous Fidel Castro and the homophobic Che Guevara,” as well as the frustrated initiative of 15N (15 November), which was prevented and delegitimized by a “criminal and corrupt dictatorship” that has plunged  “70% of the population” into poverty.

“The communist project in Cuba has failed, as always happens with any socialist project wherever it is established,” said the deputy, who demanded that the Spanish left not be “in profile” like President Pedro Sánchez, who “avoided referring to to Cuba for what it is,” and to stop claiming that the regime is not true socialism. “What happens in Cuba is real socialism,” he asserted, “and that is why there is hunger, misery and crime.”

“It cannot be that free society looks away,” he demanded, and criticized the legitimacy granted to Cuba and other authoritarian governments such as Nicaragua or Venezuela by organizations such as Celac (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States), which, he said, contributes to the “expansion of liberty-cide in America.”

Results of the vote on the “non-law proposal” in favor of Cubans protesting against the regime. (Capture)

Almudena Negro also had words for some of those persecuted by the regime, such as Raúl Rivero, recently deceased, Guillermo Coco Fariñas and Yunior García Aguilera, whom she welcomed to Madrid, and concluded her speech with the slogans: “Viva Cuba libre, patria y vida.”

In defense of several amendments to the proposal, the deputy for the right-wing party Vox, Rocío Monasterio, the daughter of a Cuban from Cienfuegos, spoke more harshly. Thus, he referred to communism as the “most pernicious ideology in the history of mankind.”

In this regard, she said that she met with some of the former prisons who were Cuban plantados who were in Madrid to present the homonymous film by Lilo Vilaplana, who told her what they were told when entering Cuban prisons: you will cease to exist as of today . “This is communism: to cease to exist,” said Monasterio, who referenced the more than 600 political prisoners from 11J (11 July). “Political prisoners must be released, unconditionally, immediately,” she demanded.

The right-wing deputy also criticized the “traditional parties”, alluding to the PP and the PSOE, which, in her opinion, “have contributed by action or omission” to the perpetuation of the Cuban dictatorship.

“Why are they refusing to sign the suspension of the cooperation?” was one of Monasterio complaints from the PP, and the party also proposed to refuse to collaborate in any investment with Cuban state companies and declare an embargo on the weapons purchased by the Cuban State.

On the part of the leftist group Más Madrid (a moderate split from Podemos), Hugo Martínez Abarca asserted that his party “does not support any dictatorship, without any exception, without any nuance” and that it rejects “the violation of rights that is taking place in Cuba.”

As a solution, they propose a “multilateral diplomacy” and a return to the policies of President Barack Obama, the architect of the thaw with the island between 2014 and 2016, “that produces a democratic transition to Cuba.” However, they also ask for the “end of the blockade,” which they consider “inhuman” and “unjust.” Más Madrid, ultimately, abstained in the vote.

Podemos voted  openly against the proposal. For his part, Congressman Jacinto Morano said that the resolution was “support for international interference in Cuban politics.”

Next, he detailed the arguments that Cuban officialdom usually uses in defense of the Revolution: the United States embargo that “keeps the island impoverished” – although he wrongly dated it in 1959, and not in 1960 – the “900 doctors for every 100,000 inhabitants, “health missions” in 59 countries, including refugee camps in Western Sahara “and free education” from birth.

Finally, the PSOE, which abstained from voting, criticized that the People’s Party “are determined to talk about whatever it is, less to talk about Madrid” and that what their group wants is “to talk about Madrid.”

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