VOC Calls for the International Community to Support the Cuban People
WASHINGTON, D.C.— Today marks one month since the beginning of the largest protest movement seen in Cuba in decades. For weeks, thousands of Cubans have taken to the streets across the island in protest against the repression and corruption they have suffered for the past 62 years. They are chanting ‘abajo la dictadura,’ which means ‘down with the dictatorship’ and singing ‘Patria y Vida’ or ‘Fatherland and Life.’
The Cuban Communist regime has responded with further repression and violence. More than 700 people have been arrested and many have been subject to summary trials and forced disappearances, including José Daniel Ferrer, a laureate of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (VOC)’s Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom.
Activists and artists have been targeted for imprisonment including Cuba’s San Isidro Movement, who were awarded with VOC’s Dissident Human Rights Award to mark Captive Nations Week this past July. The audio remarks of Maykel Castillo a.ka. ‘Osorbo’ in acceptance of the award were smuggled out of the Cuban prison where he is currently being held in deplorable conditions. The regime has also cut off the internet and other forms of communication so the people cannot call out for aid or report the crimes committed by the regime.
Last week, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution expressing solidarity with the Cuban people and the Biden Administration has sanctioned a number of guilty officials. President Biden commendably stated, “We are working with civil society organizations and the private sector to provide internet access to the Cuban people that circumvents the regime’s censorship efforts.” The Biden Administration must speed up efforts to provide this uncensored internet access to the people of Cuba, issue more individual, targeted sanctions against the repressors, and also strengthen the U.S. commercial embargo. VOC also commends President Biden for acknowledging the universal failure of communism in the context of the Cuban regime’s repression.
While dozens of countries have also condemned the repression, the lack of a multilateral response so far to the situation in Cuba is appalling. The efforts from regional partners such as Mexico, Argentina, Bolivia to block the OAS from discussing the situation in Cuba have also been unacceptable. The Cuban people must be supported in their courageous demand for freedom.
Amb. Andrew Bremberg, President and CEO of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, stated: “The United States must lead the international community in multilateral efforts to condemn the Cuban regime and support the Cuban people, including at the upcoming UN Human Rights Council session. We also call on the United States and governments across the world to support the democratic aspirations of the Cuban people, including by ensuring that they have uncensored access to the internet, by holding the Cuban Communist regime accountable for its crimes, and calling for the release of all political prisoners.”