The Socialist International has been following with deep concern the latest events that have taken place in Cuba, which continue to generate reactions throughout the international community and serious concern among democratic political forces in various regions, including members of this organisation.
The images of repression of various demonstrations in recent days in a number of Cuban cities reached different parts of the world, of women and men protesting lack of food, medicine, and access to basic services, while raising their voices with strength and determination, calling for freedom. These two demands encapsulated key challenges facing this nation today.
In 1958, the struggle of the Cuban people against the corrupt dictatorship of that time opened a path of liberation for an oppressed and overlooked people, which was received at the time with great attention and feelings of solidarity across the globe.
Years later, longstanding dictatorships in Southern Europe fell due to the determination and courage of the citizens, just as the struggles against colonialism and for independence led to new times in Africa. In Latin America and the Caribbean, dictatorial military regimes which had multiplied, were obliged to give way to the pressure and demands of their inhabitants and leave office, in times when also in Asia and Eastern Europe, not only walls, but authoritarian regimes fell to the demands for freedom by their citizens.
All these democratic revolutions opened up a new path for millions and millions of citizens on all continents, empowered by the triumph of their ideals and ready to build a different future. New and old parties, movements, fronts and government programmes, today define and identify political actors in the 21st century, in recognition and respect for the common rules of democracy with very few exceptions.
From the defence and protection of human rights in all circumstances, to the fundamental commitment of the State to the due recognition of those who have a different opinion, as well as the equality of all citizens before the law and the strict division of the powers of the State, these are today basic pillars of the system of rights and freedoms upon which democracy has developed throughout the world.
Cuba, sixty-two years on, must arrive to living in a society where all Cuban women and men are able to freely adhere, defend, oppose or criticise the decisions of their government or of the opposition without restriction. In a democracy there is and must always be space for everyone, and everyone must freely contribute their opinion without any type of retaliation, so that it bears its fruits.
In face of the difficult economic situation and the consequences of the pandemic in Cuba, President Biden’s announcement to facilitate the transmission of remittances to the country by relatives residing in the United States is a welcome sign, and we hope that further initiatives can be taken by his administration to reverse the inhumane measures imposed on the people of Cuba by Donald Trump which add to the US economic blockade that every year since 1992, the United Nations General Assembly has voted to end.