BRUSSELS, Belgium — A declaration by the high representative on behalf of the European Union on recent events in Cuba issued the following statement:
“We have been following the developments in Cuba very closely. The public demonstrations reflect legitimate grievances in the population about the lack of food, medicines, water and power, as well as freedom of expression and freedom of the press. In parallel with the COVID-19 situation, these grievances have created an increase in the demand for civil and political rights, and for democracy.
We are very concerned about the repression of these protests, as well as for the arrest of protesters and journalists, especially after the demonstrations held on 11 July across the country, with the participation of thousands of Cuban citizens. We unequivocally support the right of all Cuban citizens to express their views peacefully, to make demands for change, as well as to assemble to give voice to their opinions, including on the Internet. We call on the Cuban government to respect the human rights and freedoms enshrined in universal Human Rights Conventions. We urge it to release all arbitrarily detained protesters, to listen to the voices of its citizens, and to engage in an inclusive dialogue on their grievances.
The Cuban people are suffering, and all necessary measures should be taken by the government to address this. We welcome the lifting of restrictions for travellers, allowing them to bring unlimited amounts of food and medicines, as a first step in the right direction.
Addressing the Cuban people’s grievances requires internal economic reforms. External trade and foreign investment also play a crucial role in setting the country on a path towards modernisation, political and economic reforms and sustainable growth, and could help it overcome the economic hardship worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic. The easing of external restrictions, including on remittances and travel, would be helpful in this regard.
“The EU stands ready to support all efforts addressed to improve the living conditions of Cubans, in the context of our partnership established under the EU-Cuba Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement.”