Right now, a #humanrights dialogue between EU and Cuba is taking place in Brussels. All attending are approved by the Cuban gov, no independent civil society organisations present. Manuel Cuesta Morúa is going to Brussels despite not being invited. This is his message to the EU. pic.twitter.com/vXUF4oRstp
— Civil Rights Defenders (@crdefenders) October 2, 2019
A flotilla of shipments from Venezuela gave Cuba some respite this week from crippling fuel shortages in the wake of tougher U.S. sanctions, while Russia’s prime minister pledged during a visit to the island on Friday to help develop its energy sector, Reuters reports (HT:FDD).
Systematic human rights violations are an everyday occurrence in Cuba. In particular, the forced expatriation of human rights defenders is a scandal that has received little media attention, the European Parliament was told recently:
Several organisations – such as Cuban Prisoners’ Defenders, the Unión Patriótica de Cuba, the Fundación para la Democracia Panamericana, the Patmos Institute and the Damas de Blanco – have reported that the Cuban regime has stepped up efforts to drive human rights activists away from Cuba for life, by threatening them and their families with death and lengthy prison sentences. In June 2019, Cuban Prisoners’ Defenders, the Unión Patriótica de Cuba, the Fundación para la Democracia Panamericana and the Patmos Institute lodged a formal complaint with the United Nations for the ‘forced mass expatriation’ of human rights activists.
The European Union (EU) and the Castro regime elevated whataboutism to the level of international agreements. The European External Action Service (EEAS), the European Union’s diplomatic service’s press release on the EU – Cuba human rights dialogue that was held on October 3, 2019 requires a suspension of disbelief to read it. The second sentence in the first paragraph states, “the dialogue provides a structured framework to discuss openly and in a constructive way the human rights situation in both Cuba and the EU and a platform to explore cooperation in multilateral fora on shared human rights challenges,” adds Cuba Brief:
The EEAS press release also claimed that it “was preceded by a civil society seminar on 2 October, where representatives of Cuban and European civil society exchanged views in particular on the topics of combatting gender-based violence and on the protection of families.” This claim of the EEAS was contradicted by the Sweden based Civil Rights Defenders, a respected human rights organization that was founded in 1982 that over social media on October 2, 2019 reported: “Right now, a human rights dialogue between EU and Cuba is taking place in Brussels. All attending are approved by the Cuban gov, no independent civil society organisations present.”
Rosa María Payá (above) in an open letter published by Civil Rights Defenders warned that the EU Common Position on Cuba “is used by the Cuban government to try to legitimize its actions,” the Center for a Free Cuba adds. “Cuban dissident Manuel Cuesta Morua in a video (above) posted by Civil Rights Defenders states that “since 2016 when the deal was signed between the European Union and Cuba the human rights situation has worsened.”