Petition to the European Parliament to give the Sakharov Prize to the Cubans of 11J

The Council believes that this recognition of 11J would be “a strong message in times of democratic uncertainty.” (Screen capture)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Madrid, 31 January 2022 — The Council for Democratic Transition in Cuba has proposed to the European Parliament that it award the 2022 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Expression to José Daniel Ferrer, Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara and Félix Navarro Rodríguez as representatives of the July 11th Demonstrators from the spheres of politics, culture and civics and humanitarian empathy.

In a statement signed by its four vice presidents, Marthadela Tamayo, Manuel Cuesta, Juan A. Madrazo and Iris Ruiz, and its Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Elena Larrinaga, the Council believes that this recognition would be “a strong message in times of democratic uncertainty,” and believes that, although the protests last July were spontaneous and nobody had to call them, these three leaders have promoted demands over time that have planted in Cubans the spirit that took them to the streets on that day.

“The three went out to unite and lead, if that were the case, the demonstrations in their respective territories. That is why they were imprisoned exactly on that day or on another,” adds the text, which also recalls that the three are in Cuban prisons. “In the fleetingness of their attempt to accompany the citizens in these days, they communicated the new social fact of Cuban civic and political life: leadership is not in the constituted power, but in the power to be constituted.”

The Council reviews the relationship of each of the candidates with the events of 11J. In the case of Félix Navarro Rodríguez, the citizens managed to prevent his arrest; Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara called on protesters to come out when he saw that protests had already broken out in some cities and he was arrested near the Malecón in Havana; while José Daniel Ferrer marched and was arrested in his city, Santiago de Cuba, where he was being cheered by those demonstrating alongside him.

“Many protesters are in prison today; these leaders are with them,” claims the text, which ends by assuring that “giving them the 2022 Sakharov Prize would distinguish both the Cuban people and three of its best leaders in a single act of recognition to the new democratic citizenships.”

The European Parliament has awarded the Sakharov Prize since 1988, and it is an award named in honor of the Soviet physicist and political dissident Andrei Sakharov, which recognizes exceptional individuals and organizations in their defense of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Endowed with 50,000 euros, since its creation it has been received by personalities such as the South African leader Nelson Mandela, the young Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai, the Spanish platform ¡Basta Ya! and, this last year, the Russian opponent Alexei Navalni.

In Cuba, the Ladies in White and Guillermo Coco Fariñas have won the award. Fariñas and Berta Soler, leader of the Ladies in White, recently threatened to return the prize if the European Union does not change its policy towards Cuba.

“The Sakharov Prize must be a commitment by all parties to never use diplomatic silence in the face of human rights violations and, even less, in the face of crimes against humanity,” they said in two letters sent to the community institutions.


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