Monday, January 24

Cuban Sakharov Awards, willing to renounce recognition due to lack of EU support

Correspondent in Havana



In a letter sent this December 8 to David Sassoli, President of the European Parliament (EP), and members of the EP, Berta Soler, leader of the Ladies in White, and Guillermo Farinas, general coordinator of the United Antitotalitarian Forum (FANTU), both 2005 and 2010 Sakharov winners), respectively, stated that they would value requesting the withdrawal of the distinction in case of persisting abandonment of civil society by the European External Action Service (EEAS) while crimes against humanity are committed by the Cuban regime.

«These awards are granted (by the EP) to people and peoples who fight, from the most poor conditions, for the most sacred of man, the most fundamental human rights such as expression, and in the case of Cuba the right to not be the permanent object of crimes against humanity.

In this fight, the victims need to be supported by giving them a voice and real support, and our Sakharov Prize must live with that context, and not with the opposite, “they stated in the letter.

After five years of implementation of the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (ADPC) between the European Union (EU) and Cuba, the activists affirmed that, despite being one of the points of the Agreement, the EU embassy in Cuba, “has never met publicly with Cuban civil society or with the Sakharov prizes “, while he has done it, and frequently, with Cuban societies and state organizations which he describes as” dependent civil society “, which they consider an oxymoron.

Similarly, they state that the EEAS “has never cooperated, facilitated or mediated with European funds or aid for Cuban civil society or for the Sakharov Prizes or their organizations and activities”; as well as what «It has only executed investment projects with companies and state agencies Cubans, either directly or indirectly through European NGOs ”.

This, together with the crimes against humanity committed by the Cuban regime, leads Soler and Fariñas to assure that the ADPC “is being flagrantly violated by both parties, the Cuban regime regarding human rights, and the EEAS regarding the treatment of civil society.

Soler and Fariñas also highlight the “unusual situation” in which the Sakharov prizes live on the island: “We are not given credit nor to meet in person with the Embassy of the European Union, because we have been years without any face-to-face meeting, so as not to ‘disturb’ the same regime that commits crimes against humanity against our people.

High democratic impunity

The result of all this situation is that, as they explain, there is a «High diplomatic impunity in the most barbarous exercise of repression that, with an exponentially growing character, is being exercised against the people of Cuba and its civil society without there being a diplomatic response in accordance with the repression that is taking place “; as well as an abandonment and contempt on the part of the EEAS both to the Sakharov prizes and to Cuban civil society “while state violence is radicalized against all of us with more and more virulence.”

For these reasons, the Sakharov prizes present their decision, also recalling what the award means: “It 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.

To this letter the Cuban activists attached the letter – in which they expand and demonstrate what was exposed to the president of the PE – sent the same day to Josep Borrell, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy; and to Eamon Gilmore, EU Special Representative for Human Rights and who in February 2021 led the EU delegation during the human rights dialogue held in Cuba with the government as part of the ADPC. Among other aspects, they explain how repression has intensified, human rights violations have increased, and the number of political prisoners in Cuba has multiplied since the ADPC was signed.

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