Latin American Governments Continue to Shun the Cuban People

Thursday, August 20, 2015
Lack of Solidarity of Latin American Governments Towards the Cuban People

Civil Rights Defenders Executive Director, Robert Hardh, and Freedom House Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Carlos Ponce, published and op-ed on the lack of solidarity of Latin American governments towards the Cuban people in today's edition of Spain's El Pais.

They write:

“The fact that Cuba once again participates in the activities of the Organization of American States is a victory for Latin American governments that have argued for solidarity with Cuba and that no country should be excluded from the community. But if that solidarity with Cuba would include the whole Cuban people, and not just the government, we would see a real openness to dialogue. This is not the case yet”

The argument is based on the fact that Latin American embassies basically never ask for the opinion of the Cuban opposition, and that representatives of Latin American governments never meet with Cuban human rights defenders when visiting Cuba.

Over the last couple of years such an excluding attitude has been evident when Cuban democracy activists travel to events in the region. The attacks on Cuban democrats by the official Cuban delegation at the Summit of the Americas in Panama in April, when the local authorities did not intervene to protect them or make sure that their events could be organised peacefully, is one of the most flagrant examples.

Another example is the embarrassing way in which the Salvadorean government treated a Cuban delegation invited to the Community of Democracies ministerial meeting in San Salvador in late July. The government let them spend 24 hours at the airport and then made it obligatory for them to travel to Panama to pick up new invitation letters – which were identical to the ones they had already presented at arrival – before they were allowed to enter the country.

The article concludes that if the Latin American governments want to show solidarity with Cuba, they need to open up to the Cubans that are in favor of democracy and human rights too, and not only to the Cuban government.

The full article in Spanish can be read here and the full report here.