Wednesday

28th Jul 2021

EU urges Cuba to let people protest

  • EU foreign relations chief Josep Borrell (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

The Cuban government should listen to its people's grievances instead of reacting with a crackdown on the biggest demonstrations there in 30 years.

"There have been, as far as we know, demonstrations in major cities. People have been protesting about lack of medicine, about Covid, and against the regime there. This was a sign of discontent and they've now reached a level not seen since 1994," EU foreign relations chief Josep Borrell said in Brussels on Monday (12 July).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"The Cuban people has a right to express its opinion and I would personally call on the government there to allow peaceful demonstrations and to listen to the voice of discontent from demonstrators", he also said.

Borrell spoke to press after chairing regular monthly talks with EU foreign ministers.

But events in Cuba were not on their agenda, he noted, because the demonstrations erupted late on Sunday night, when the EU meeting had already drafted its agenda.

For his part, US president Joe Biden echoed Borrell in remarks later the same day.

"The Cuban people are bravely asserting fundamental and universal rights," Biden said in a statement.

Information spilling out of the Caribbean dictatorship and favoured EU tourist destination onto social media in the past 48 hours showed people chanting slogans, looting state-owned shops, and confronting armed police with stones.

Some unverified reports also spoke of casualties at the hands of police.

The EU and US have long been at loggerheads over US sanctions on Cuba, with the EU saying the US trade embargo has aggravated its economic downturn and made it harder to buy medicine.

Biden said nothing about lifting the trade blockade on Monday.

But the government of Cuban president Miguel Díaz-Canel did speak out on the old enmity, blaming the West for having orchestrated the political upheaval.

"Shameful delinquents" were trying to "fracture" Cuba in events whipped up by US agents on social media, he said.

For his part, the Mexican president, left-winger Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, echoed Europe's stance on the US embargo.

"The truth is that if one wanted to help Cuba, the first thing that should be done is to suspend the blockade of Cuba as the majority of countries in the world are asking," he told a news conference Monday morning.

"That would be a truly humanitarian gesture ... No country in the world should be fenced in, blockaded," he added.

Venezuela pledged its support to the Cuban regime.

And a spokesperson for Russia's foreign ministry cautioned against "outside interference" that sought to "encourage the destabilisation" of the communist-run island, in an echo of Cold-War era tensions.

EU and Cuba appeal for Biden to open up

The EU is coaxing US president Joe Biden to open up to Cuba amid its worst economic crisis in decades, but foreign money risks feeding the regime's "feared" rule.

EU welcomes thaw in US-Cuba relations

The European Union has welcomed the agreement between US and Cuba to re-establish diplomatic relations, a move which matches with its own approach to Cuba.

Exclusive

EU firms up plans for Libya military mission

The EU is firming up plans for a military mission to Libya in order to compete with foreign powers there, according to a leaked paper seen by EUobserver.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council enters into formal relations with European Parliament
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersWomen more active in violent extremist circles than first assumed
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersDigitalisation can help us pick up the green pace
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID19 is a wake-up call in the fight against antibiotic resistance

Latest News

  1. EU hits vaccination target, as Delta variant now dominates
  2. European arms 'displaced over a million people', research finds
  3. Brexit: what is the 'Lugano Convention' and does it matter?
  4. US maintains summer travel ban on EU tourists
  5. Does democracy need troublemakers?
  6. Separating migrant families at EU borders must stop
  7. Germany mulls restrictions for unvaccinated as cases soar
  8. 'Prison island' birthplace of EU reborn as think-tank venue

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us