November 14, 2021 – One day before the peaceful march called by the citizens’ initiative Archipelago in Cuba and supported by human rights organizations and activists, we denounce the wave of repression that has intensified in the country against its promoters and the citizens who identify with it. The undersigned organizations ask the international civil society to demand that the Cuban government stop the violence, respect its own constitutional order and allow the march as befits the exercise of civic and political rights.
The social outburst that began massively on July 11 and that was answered by the Cuban State by increasing even more the strong pressure the Cuban State by increasing even more the strong repression against the citizenry, is the reflection of a serious human rights crisis in the country. In this sense, the demonstration called for November 15 seeks to make the voice of the citizenry heard, to demand an end to the repression, the release of political prisoners and respect for human rights.
However, as a response to the peaceful call made by the citizens’ initiative Archipelago, the government announced the celebration of military exercises. In response to the insistence of the promoters to continue with the march, the Intendentes (local government officials) declared any demonstration unlawful, considering it contrary to socialism. They justified their decision with an interpretation of Article 4 of the Constitution that can be summed up in one sentence: in Cuba it is illegal to exercise any right that advocates a change in the political system. The above ignoring democratic values such as the right to political dissent and freedom of expression, protected in different international human rights instruments.
Despite the fact that the Constitution establishes in its article 108 b that only the Parliament has the power to interpret it, the Prosecutor’s Office has the power to interpret it, the Attorney General’s Office – the body in charge of ensuring compliance with the law – validated the decision of the mayors and summoned the promoters of the march to warn them of the crimes in which they would incur if they disobey the government’s decision. The Cuban courts also denied protection to the demonstrators, arguing that they do not have the jurisdiction to protect violations of rights recognized by the Constitution and rejecting the lawsuit filed by the protesters to challenge the declaration of unlawfulness of the march.
Foto: Yunior Garcia, member of the Archipelago initiative under house arrest. Source: Twitter of Edel Rodriguez, @edelestudio, https://twitter.com/edelstudio/status/1460055890090995718/photo/1
In addition to the above, state repression has been materialized through arbitrary arrests, 648 to arbitrary detentions, 648 to date, forced disappearances, acts of harassment and repudiation against political opponents, all with the aim of impeding the right to peaceful demonstration of thousands of Cubans who intend to replicate the democratic exercise of July 11. This has shown that there is no institutionality and that the Constitution is not in itself efficient and sufficient to guarantee the human rights of those in the country who dissent from official policies. We are talking about the defenselessness of citizens in the face of a regime with totalitarian and authoritarian traits.
In view of this situation, we call on the international community, especially the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, the Foreign Service of the European Union and its diplomatic corps on the island, as well as the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to take concrete measures to monitor and publicly sanction human rights violations that are occurring in the context of the peaceful demonstration called for November 15. That they exercise within their competencies to take firmer positions in favor of the independent Cuban civil society, which daily faces structural violations for defending their fundamental rights.
We appeal to denounce, to help protect the citizens and to demand that the Cuban State, as a member of the Human Rights Council, to put into practice “the highest demands in the promotion and protection of human rights”, as indicated in the Resolution 60 paragraph 9 of the UN General Assembly. Finally, we demand respect of the human rights of all Cubans, allowing them to march peacefully this 15N.
Alianza Cubana por la Inclusión, Cuba
Alianza Regional por la Libre Expresión e Información
Article 19 Oficina para México y Centroamérica
Asociación Patria y Vida, Baleares
Berlin OPUS Cuba, Alemania
Civil Rights Defenders, Suecia
Consejo para la Integración Racial, Cuba
Consejo para la Transición Democrática en Cuba, Cuba
Cuba Humanista, Cuba
Cubanos libres en Zaragoza, España
Democracia para Cuba, La Rioja, España
Freedom House, Estados Unidos
Fundación Federalismo y Libertad, Argentina
Food Monitor Program, Colombia
Fundación para los Derechos Humanos en Cuba, Cuba
Fundación Patricio Aylwin, Chile
FUSADES, El Salvador
Instituto Internacional sobre Raza, Igualdad y Derechos Humanos, Estados Unidos
Monitor Legislativo Cubano, Cuba
Movimiento San Isidro, Cuba
Observatorio Cubano de Conflictos, Cuba
Observatorio Cubano de Derechos Humanos, España
Observatorio de Libertad Académica (OLA), Colombia
Organización de Derechos Humanos “José de la Luz y Caballero”, Cuba
People in Need, República Checa
Programa Cuba, Colombia
Red de Líderes y Lideresas (RELLIC), Cuba
Red Latinoamericana y del Caribe por la Democracia, Redlad
Red Latinoamericana de jóvenes por la Democracia (Juventud LAC)
Alianza Cubana Por La Inclusion (ACI), Cuba
PEN Internacional, Inglaterra -internacional
ARC-PEN America- Estados Unidos
PEN Cuba en el Exilio, Estados Unidos
Societat Civil Balear