It Got Heated at the UN Human Rights Council Regarding Cuba

Rosa María Paya at the United Nations Human Rights Council

HAVANA TIMES – The intervention of Cuban dissident Rosa María Paya at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, Switzerland, was the most important event in the political arena related to this wonderful island this week.

First of all, it is rare for a human rights activist to reach that stage because there is much behind-the-scenes work with diplomats loyal to the Cuban regime sabotaging any of these attempts.

However, the founder of the dissident platform Cuba Decide and daughter of the late opposition leader Oswaldo Paya managed to deliver her message and it was quite forceful because she called for the expulsion of the country, which was re-elected in October for the sixth time as a member of that body.

Then came the usual. The envoy of the moment, in this case the deputy representative of Cuba to the United Nations, Yusnier Romero Puentes, attacked her, but not her message, with the same story that she receives money to do what she does, and it is logical because nothing is free, just as he also gets paid. The difference is that he is paid to hide how human rights are violated, and she is paid to defend them.

What for the rest of the world is a merit, for the dictatorship is a crime, and even then not a word was said to deny what she exposed, but from the outset that is impossible because what that charlatan said was written in Havana and was not logically based on what she had exposed minutes before.

Paya, thanks to the international NGO UNWatch yielding her speaking time, denounced the systematic violations of fundamental rights taking place on the island, and requested to be treated the same as Russia, which was indeed vetoed from the organization after invading Ukraine.

“Today we officially call for the same to be done with Cuba,” the activist requested, and then criticized the alliance between the Cuban regime and the dictatorship of Vladimir Putin, particularly the sending of Cuban citizens to reinforce the Russian front, with the approval of Havana.

The dissident also mentioned extrajudicial executions, including the murder of her own father in 2012, and the imprisonment of more than a thousand Cubans for political reasons. In particular, she mentioned Jose Daniel Ferrer, leader of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), imprisoned since 2021 in Santiago de Cuba and subjected to torture conditions, according to his relatives.

Additionally, she called on the international community to demand their release and respect for all electoral guarantees to carry out a binding plebiscite in order to change the system and initiate a transition towards democracy.

Finally, she showed respect for the Cubans who, despite all the pressure and the suffocating control of the Ministry of the Interior (MININT), the Armed Forces (FAR) or State Security, peacefully protested this month.

But even though her words were the most media-covered, the coordinator of the Dialogue Table of Cuban Youth, Kirenia Nuñez, also intervened in the session, denouncing the repression, arbitrary arrests, and forced disappearances suffered by citizens who peacefully demonstrate on the Island.

Likewise, a representative of Amnesty International emphasized during a video intervention that the organization is “deeply concerned” about the continuous challenges to human rights in Cuba, particularly regarding freedom of expression and assembly.

Despite the repression, the Cuban people have been taking to the streets in protests of various sizes for three years.

The Cuban opposition and civic organizations feel that the support of the international community is not adequate, and they constantly demand that pressure be exerted on the dictatorship towards a democratic transition, as was done in Chile with the government of Augusto Pinochet.

In this context, this week the NGO Prisoners Defenders, which provides legal defense for cases of human rights violations and serves as a source on political prisoners in Cuba, set the number of detainees on the island for this month’s demonstrations against the dictatorship of our beloved Miguel Diaz-Canel at 41.

According to that organization, there were people arrested in Holguín, Santiago de Cuba, Havana, Artemisa, Cienfuegos, Granma, Guantanamo, Sancti Spíritus, Villa Clara, Las Tunas, and Matanzas.

After the protests in Santiago de Cuba, in particular, the government supplied some food items to people. By doing so they encouraged others to follow their example, which undermines governmental authority, since in a totalitarian dictatorship dissent or public demonstrations are not tolerated, and much less the protestors getting something they seek.

The ideologues of the Communist Party of Cuba, the Parliament, the Government, increasingly have fewer arguments, and the recent case of corruption in high spheres associated with the former Minister of Economy and Planning, Alejandro Gil, does not help either.

The coverage of national television on these issues was cartoonish, to maintain its usual line, repeating attacks on the messengers without being able to refute a single line of their messages.

The battle that took place in the United Nations Human Rights Council once again had the same moral winner, but in practice, the regime continues with its status, and nothing will change until the necessary international pressure is exerted. I have said many times here on the streets, much can be done, but there is a whole repressive system set up to decapitate the opposition and discourage dissent, ranging from the same official media to military personnel.

International support must be more incisive so that it does not remain in words of encouragement that help and stimulate but will never solve the problem.

Read more from Cuba here on Havana Times.

2 thoughts on “It Got Heated at the UN Human Rights Council Regarding Cuba

  • The United States, Israel and Ukraine did not support ending the blockade of Cuba

    November 2, 2023

  • The UNITED Nations should run.all prisons in Cuba and the military and the police and in return supply distribution of food and medicine for 1 year
    It must not be UNITED States or Russia or China and troops or police or investors from those 3 countries except in the form of co ops with the local people keeping a 60% interest. I know that this will never happen but give me a few better ideas?

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