Cuba’s pro-democracy activists remain committed to free their island nation from oppression in spite of a harsh government crackdown.
Starting on July 11, thousands of Cubans in dozens of cities and towns throughout their country took to the streets to peacefully demand respect for their human rights and fundamental freedoms. In response, Cuban security forces violently repressed the protests, arresting hundreds of demonstrators simply for exercising their rights of freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.
Demonstrators and human rights advocates have since been convicted in summary proceedings lacking fair trial guarantees. As of September, the human rights group Cubalex said there have been 1,067 reports of detentions, with around half of them still allegedly detained, including over a dozen minors. Some have reported physical abuse while in regime custody. Other detainees remain incommunicado or are being held without formal charges. While for others, the Cuban government is seeking additional jail time from six to 12 years simply for participating in these peaceful demonstrations.
In a statement urging the United Nations to take up the subject of Cuba, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken stressed the “universal imperative to respect the human rights of all people.” He added, “It is vital that the international community speak out against the repression and mass arrests of Cuban protestors; demand the release of those unjustly imprisoned there; and support the Cuban people’s desire to determine their own future.”
Secretary Blinken urged the Cuban government as a member of the UN Human Rights Council, “to respect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of the Cuban people, enshrined in the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.”
“Cubans deserve a chance to exercise their rights and voice their aspirations without fear of violence or imprisonment,” declared Secretary Blinken. The United States will continue to support the Cuban people and will continue to take action to promote accountability for the Cuban government’s human rights abuses.