EU-Cuba Council to take position on human rights violations

Artists and journalists arbitrarily arrested

Frankfurt am Main/Havana, April 6, 2021 – No happy Easter for regime critics: As the Frankfurt-based International Society for Human Rights (ISHR) has learned, Cuban artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara was arrested on Easter Monday in the San Isidro neighborhood of Havana. He wanted to distribute candy to children of the neighborhood and reported it live on his Facebook account. State Security officials had not let the children and parents through to the house of the artist movement “San Isidro” and then took the artist away together with Manuel de la Cruz Pascual, who was costumed as a clown.

The Cuban journalists Héctor Luis Valdés Cocho and Esteban Rodríguez as well as Kirenia Yalit Núñez, coordinator of the “Cuban Youth Dialogue”, were also arrested on the same day. The ISHR strongly criticizes the arbitrary detentions and calls on the European Union to take a stand on the ongoing human rights violations in Cuba.

The EU should tie cooperation with Cuba to respect for human rights

The EU should use the “EU-Cuba Joint Council” to tie further cooperation to respect for human rights in Cuba, demands the spokesman of the board of the ISHR, Martin Lessenthin. The Joint Council should regulate the implementation of the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and Cuba, which has been in force since November 2017. Most recently, the EU-Cuba Joint Council held a video conference on January 20, 2021, co-chaired by High Representative Josep Borrell and Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez.

“So far, this Council has not achieved any progress of the human rights situation in Cuba. On the other hand, as the ISHR reports, the persecution of regime critics on the Caribbean island is coming to a head – there are currently more than 130 political prisoners in Cuba. Anyone who criticizes the regime, campaigns for democracy or draws attention to the catastrophic supply situation during the pandemic runs the risk of arrest, torture and arbitrary imprisonment. Again and again, civil rights activists face trumped-up charges. Especially the members of the San Isidro Movement, the civil rights movement UNPACU and the ‘Ladies in White’ are in the focus of the state security,” says the spokesman of the ISHR Lessenthin.