Cuba: The EU must set a clear red line - fundamental rights are not negotiable
The Liberal and Democrat Group in the European Parliament strongly condemns the arbitrary detention, persecution and harassment of peaceful dissidents, independent journalists, human rights defenders and political opposition in Cuba. MEPs who voted todayon a resolution on the human rights situation in Cuba call for an immediate end to these actions and the immediate release of all political prisoners, including Eduardo Cardet, and those arbitrarily detained solely for exercising their freedom of expression and assembly.
ALDE MEP, Pavel Telička (Czech Republic, Independent), Vice-President of the European Parliament responsible for Human Rights and Democracy, who negotiated the text of the resolution on behalf of our Group, said:
“The Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement with Cuba has been in force for more than a year. Sadly, this new chapter in EU-Cuba relations has not improved the situation in the country. On the contrary, human rights have deteriorated exemplified by an increasing number of arbitrary detentions, persecutions, acts of harassment and attacks against peaceful dissidents. On top of that, the new draft Constitution and the referendum foreseen for February 2019 lacks inclusion, tolerance and respect for basic civil and political rights that could guarantee a democratic constitutional process.
We therefore call on the Cuban authorities to fulfil and facilitate the basic right to an open and democratic vote so that the binding popular consultation is free and credible. At the same time, the EU must use the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement with Cuba to address human rights issues by setting clear red lines and making sure this deal is fully respected and implemented. Havana must deliver when it comes to fundamental rights and this should not be negotiable.”
ALDE MEP, Teresa Giménez Barbat (Spain, Independent), said the EU must not forget that the agreement is subjected to a democratic clause:
“The European Parliament gave its consent to the PDCA in 2017. However, together with its consent it also approved a resolution showing its great concern about the situation of human rights and the lack of liberties on the island. A year has passed and there is still no progress in this regard. Political dissidents, human rights activists, artists, independents journalists are repressed by means of arbitrary detention and harassment. Let us not deceive ourselves, in Cuba there is no freedom of expression or assembly and anyone who dares to think differently from the regime is persecuted and censured. There is no political pluralism characteristic of democracies and the new draft constitution does not seem to solve it. On the contrary, it reinforces the power of the Communist Party and prohibits future generations to change the current political and social system.
Therefore, we must reiterate our message and remember that the agreement is subject to a democratic clause that could suspend it in case of violations of human rights provisions.