CubaBrief: CFC condemns invasion of Ukraine, calls for war crimes tribunal for Putin. Free Cubans supporting Ukraine face repression from Castro police. Havana backs Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

“The cause of human rights is a single cause, just as the people of the world are a single people. The talk today is of globalization, but we must state that unless there is global solidarity, not only human rights but also the right to remain human will be jeopardized. If there is no solidarity between people we will be unable to preserve a fair world in which it is possible to continue living as human beings. I therefore humbly believe that rather than new models, both for societies and for relations between countries, what we need is a new spirit.” – Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas (Feb 29, 1952 – July 22, 2012), Dec 17, 2002 Speech Accepting Sakharov Prize

Free Cubans are morally supporting Ukraine, and their people’s struggle to remain free.

Today the Assembly of the Cuban Resistance held a press conference to announce upcoming actions to demonstrate how the “Cuban exile community has come together to say that ‘We are all Ukraine,’” said Sylvia Iriondo, president of the Mothers and Women Against Repression organization (MAR). She invited the community to participate in a Mass in solidarity with Ukraine at the Church of the Little Flower (2711 Indian Mound Trail, Coral Gables, FL 33134) on Thursday, March 3rd at 5:30pm.

Orlando Gutiérrez Boronat, coordinator of the Assembly, announced the event to support democracy and freedom “We Are All Ukraine”, on Sunday, March 6, 2022 at 2:00pm at the Cuban Memorial at Tamiami Park ( 11201 SW 24th St, Miami, FL 33165 ).

The Center for a Free Cuba on February 25th condemned Russia’s aggressive war against Ukraine, and called for the international community to energetically denounce, severely sanction, and hold accountable the Russian regime, made the case for Vladimir Putin to be tried as a war criminal, and is circulating a petition addressed to the International Criminal Court requesting that a war crimes tribunal be convened to examine Putin and other Russian officials criminality in the invasion of Ukraine.

Free Cubans in Cuba are also demonstrating their solidarity with Ukraine, criticizing the Castro regime’s support for Putin’s actions, leading to arrest by the political police.

Cuban activist Pablo Enrique Delgado Hernández on Saturday, February 26, 2022 went to the Ukrainian Embassy in Havana to demonstrate his solidarity. Pablo Enrique after meeting with a diplomat and presenting the flowers was arrested by the National Revolutionary Police and taken to the Seventh Unit police headquarters and interrogated.

Below are the Tweets by Pablo Enrique with an English translation.

“As promised today I went to the @UKRinCUB Headquarters to Manifest my Unconditional Support for Ukraine #Ukraine. Since my arrival, the #SEPSA Guards who attend the Security of the Diplomatic Headquarters did not allow me to move.”

“Diplomat Iryna Bylik had to make an appearance because I was not allowed to hang (neither on the fence, nor put on the ground, nor even on a tree in front of the Headquarters) a small bouquet of Roses that I was carrying as a token of my Solidarity.”

“Those Roses reached their Destination, now inside the Diplomatic Headquarters, they are a sign of the Solidarity of the Cuban People towards the brotherly Ukrainian people who suffer the loss of thousands of their children after the Murderous Invasion ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin. @KremlinRussia_E

The People of #Cuba Do Not Support the War.”

The last CubaBrief focused on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the Castro regime’s backing of Putin’s criminal action, and provided historic context on the Cuban dictatorship’s backing of the invasion of a sovereign nation. The Castro dictatorship backed the Russian invasions of Czechoslovakia in 1968, and Afghanistan in 1979.

This one focuses on what free Cubans are saying, and the reaction of the Ukrainian government both to free Cubans showing their solidarity and to the Castro regime backing Putin’s attack on Ukraine. Cuba is one of four countries that backed the Russian invasion. The other three are Venezuela, Nicaragua and Syria.

On Saturday, February 26th the Embassy of Ukraine in Cuba in three Tweets expressed their thanks for demonstrations of support by Cubans.

“In these difficult times for the Ukrainian people, in days when the Russian aggressors are killing our children and women, we have received hundreds of calls, letters and messages of support from the brotherly Cuban people.”

“And although it is not always possible to respond or express our gratitude, we know and feel it, our is with you. We want to say, above all as friends, that we will never forget this sincere support and solidarity.”

“And in the future there will be only one thing:

Victory! Thanks! Ukraine and Cuba together! “

A day later the First Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Emine Dzheppar criticized the Cuban government’s support of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine in a diplomatic note expresses its strong protest against the statements of the Government of Cuba in support of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and calls on Cuba to urge Russia to put an end to this aggression,” wrote First Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Emine Dzheppar over Twitter on Sunday, February 27, 2022.

Cuban independent news agency 14ymedio on February 24th offered a critical analysis of the Cuban government’s support of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. “History repeats itself, and on this occasion the repetition isn’t in any way a farce. In 1968, Fidel Castro applauded the Soviet empire’s tanks as they entered Prague – at that time the capital of Czechoslovakia. Now, in February 2022, the regime has failed to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, while the Communist Party-controlled press on the island assures that the armed incursion is justified for reasons of ‘security’. The Cuban leaders seem ready to accompany Vladimir Putin in his insatiable expansionist cravings, even if it means doing just the opposite of what their official propaganda disseminates and preaches, since the government media constantly use the argument of sovereignty and national independence to reject international questioning and internal dissidence.”

Two days prior to Putin’s February 24th invasion of Ukraine, Russia “agreed to postpone some debt payments owed to it by communist-run Cuba until 2027, its lower house of parliament said on Tuesday, just days after the two countries announced they would deepen ties amid the spiraling Ukraine crisis. The loans, worth $2.3 billion and provided to Cuba by Russia between 2006 and 2019, helped underwrite investments in power generation, metals and transportation infrastructure, according to a statement from the lower house, or Duma. The loans, worth $2.3 billion and provided to Cuba by Russia between 2006 and 2019, helped underwrite investments in power generation, metals and transportation infrastructure, according to a statement from the lower house, or Duma,” reported Reuters. In 2014 Vladimir Putin forgave $32 billion owed by Havana to Moscow, and the Cuban government promised to pay off $3.2 billion over a decade. Eight years later and Cuba still owes Russia $2.3 billion dollars, and the debt payments have been postponed.

The EU Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (PDCA) with Cuba should have been suspended long ago due to the Cuban government systematically violating the human rights clause of the PDCA. How can it be continued when Havana is backing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and threats to neighboring members of the European Union?

Assembly of the Cuban Resistance, March 1, 2022

ASSEMBLY OF THE CUBAN RESISTANCE WILL HOLD EVENTS TO SHOW SOLIDARITY WITH UKRAINE

Miami, Florida—March 1, 2022—Assembly of the Cuban Resistance—Today the Assembly of the Cuban Resistance held a press conference, alongside important leaders and members of the “Justice Cuba” International Commission, to announce a series of events and steps to counteract the support of the Cuban, Venezuelan, and Nicaraguan dictatorships to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. “The Cuban exile community has come together to say that ‘We are all Ukraine,’” asserted Sylvia Iriondo, president of the Mothers and Women Against Repression organization (MAR).

Juan López de la Cruz, colonel of the U.S. Army and president of the 2506 Brigade, called on the Cuban Army to defend the Cuban population against the Castro regime’s reckless decision to support a war in Europe.

Rene Bolio, Mexican attorney and president of the “Justice Cuba” International Commission for the Prosecution of Crimes Against Humanity of the Castro Regime, called for economic and financial sanctions against the Cuban, Venezuelan, and Nicaraguan dictatorships for supporting the invasion of Ukraine.

Iriondo invited people to participate in a Mass in solidarity with Ukraine this coming Thursday. Orlando Gutiérrez Boronat, coordinator of the Assembly, announced an important event, on Sunday, to show support to those countries around the world who are fighting for democracy, like Ukraine and Taiwan, and for the freedom of Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela.

Mass to show solidarity with Ukraine
WHEN Thursday, March 3, 2022, at 5:30 pm
WHERE Church of the Little Flower
2711 Indian Mound Trail, Coral Gables, FL 33134

Event to support Democracy and Freedom “We Are All Ukraine”
WHEN Sunday, March 6, 2022, at 2:00 pm
WHERE Cuban Memorial Tamiami Park
11201 SW 24th St, Miami, FL 33165

Middle East North Africa Financial Network, Inc. (MENAFN), February 27, 2022

Ukraine – MFA strongly protests against Cuba’s statements in support of Russia

(MENAFN– UkrinForm) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine strongly protests against the statements of the Cuban government in support of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.

First Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Emine Dzheppar wrote on Twitter, Ukrinform reports.

“The MFA of Ukraine in a diplomatic note expresses its strong protest against the statements of the Government of Cuba in support of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and calls on Cuba to urge Russia to put an end to this aggression,” she wrote .

On February 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine. Martial law was imposed in Ukraine. President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky signed a decree on general mobilization.

https://menafn.com/1103771815/Ukraine-MFA-strongly-protests-against-Cubas-statements-in-support-of-Russia

BabaluBlog, February 26, 2022

Center for a Free Cuba denounces Russian invasion of Ukraine, calls for Putin to be tried as a war criminal

February 26, 2022 by Carlos Eire

Following the established pattern of European autocrats, and his own previous attacks against Georgia, Crimea and Eastern Ukraine, Russia’s ruler Vladimir Putin unleashed a savage multipronged Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022 and warned the international community that intervening would lead to “consequences you have never seen.” Ukrainian soldiers and civilians are being killed by Russian invaders.

Article I Section 2 of the United Nations Charter states that one of this institution’s chief purposes is:

” To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace;”

Moreover, Article II, section 4 of the United Nations Charter states that:

“All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”

Vladimir Putin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, a democratic country with a people who have chosen to be Ukrainians, and have a history that stretches back centuries, is not only a crime against the people of Ukraine, but a violation of Article I Section 2 and Article II, Section 4 of the UN Charter.

The Russian dictator’s own statements reveal a desire to restore the 19th century Russian empire and also that of the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991. This is an imperialist war.

Thus, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s actions not only violate the United Nations charter, but also make him a war criminal. The international community should immediately set up an international war crimes tribunal for Mr. Putin and any other Russians in the chain of command ordering the killing of any Ukrainians in this illegal invasion.

The Center for a Free Cuba condemns Russia’s aggressive war against Ukraine, and calls for the international community to energetically denounce, severely sanction, and hold accountable the Russian regime.

We stand with Ukraine’s elected government and people, condemn Russian imperialism, and call for Russian war criminals to be brought to justice.

https://babalublog.com/2022/02/26/center-for-a-free-cuba-denounces-russian-invasion-of-ukraine-calls-for-putin-to-be-tried-as-a-war-criminal/


Havana Times,  February 24, 2022

Cuba Backs the Russian Invasion of Ukraine

Once again, they join the wrong side in the conflict.

Russian leader Vladimir Putin (r) and his Cuban equivalent Miguel Diaz-Canel, during the signing of bilateral agreements. File photo: EFE

The same regime that has been casting itself for decades as a tiny David battling a great Goliath of the North, seems to think it’s okay for the giant Russia to cross the Ukrainian borders.

By 14ymedio

HAVANA TIMES – History repeats itself, and on this occasion the repetition isn’t in any way a farce. In 1968, Fidel Castro applauded the Soviet empire’s tanks as they entered Prague – at that time the capital of Czechoslovakia. Now, in February 2022, the regime has failed to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, while the Communist Party-controlled press on the island assures that the armed incursion is justified for reasons of “security”.

The Cuban leaders seem ready to accompany Vladimir Putin in his insatiable expansionist cravings, even if it means doing just the opposite of what their official propaganda disseminates and preaches, since the government media constantly use the argument of sovereignty and national independence to reject international questioning and internal dissidence.

The same regime that for decades has presented itself as a tiny David battling the great Goliath of the North, now says it’s fine that the gigantic Russia has crossed the Ukrainian borders, shot missiles into their territory, and now preens before the microphones saying that any attempt on the part of the international community to enter into the conflict will receive a response “beyond anything ever seen before”.

The Cuban regime is situating the island as a pawn in a geopolitical board game that could redefine itself in the coming months. However, it’s already clear that the tiny token that we represent will be on Vladimir Putin’s side, as at one time it stood with the Soviet Union. That placement doesn’t surprise anyone, but it’s worth a moment to evaluate the costs that it will have for Cubans, and the official motives behind it.

Without a doubt, the Cuban regime’s game play is motivated by the need to permanently clash with the United States and with what the Cuban press disparagingly calls “the West”, as if our own island weren’t included in that term, as if we ourselves weren’t Westerners.

On this side of the world, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba – the regimes that have preyed most brutally on citizen freedoms – have opted to support the Kremlin. They’re doing so because – beyond the enormous differences that separate Putin, a reactionary politician whose main ideology appears to be the fiercest and most vengeful nationalism, from our Plaza de la Revolucion – these countries share his authoritarianism, his phobia of liberal democracy and his rejection of all forms of opposition.

We could see this complicity coming, because in the last few days two important Russian delegations have visited Cuba. First, Yuri Borisov, the deputy chairman of the Russian government, arrived; later, mere hours before the bellicose conflict broke out, Miguel Diaz-Canel received Viacheslav Volodin, president of the Duma, Russia’s Parliament.  

Between one and the other visit, we learned that Moscow had granted Havana an extension until 2027 for scheduled debt repayments. These payments were to cover part of the debts that the island has carried since the era when the “Soviet pipeline” supplied resources, fuel and all kinds of inputs to the failed Cuban economic model, which misspent billions of rubles without achieving minimal development of the country.

The following days will be crucial in determining how far the Cuban regime is willing to go in its support of Putin. As the embrace with the Russian bear grows tighter, the possibilities of someday establishing relations with Washington grow more distant. The island’s diplomatic solitude in the region grows, until we’re left with the pathetic duo of Nicolas Maduro and Daniel Ortega.

There are reasons to fear that the regime in Havana could take advantage of the distraction provided by the missiles falling on Ukrainian territory to repeat a repressive raid like that of the 2003 Black Spring. At that time, they took advantage of the smokescreen offered by the Iraq war to cover up their internal outrages. They may well feel that with Putin covering their back, they can now do anything.

But they’re wrong.

Perhaps the Cuban dictatorship is committing their largest error to date, but we still don’t know that. What we do know right now is that war has broken out and it’s not that distant from us. Every step the Cuban leaders take involves us more closely in a conflict that could have incalculable repercussions.

https://havanatimes.org/features/cuba-backs-the-russian-invasion-of-ukraine/


International Business Tribune, February 22, 2022

Russia postpones Cuba debt payments amid warming relations

By Polina Devitt and Dave Sherwood, Reuters

Honor guards hold a Russian and a Cuban flag during a wreath-laying ceremony with Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (not pictured) at the Jose Marti monument in Havana, Cuba, October 3, 2019. Photo: Reuters / ALEXANDRE MENEGHINI

Russia has agreed to postpone some debt payments owed to it by communist-run Cuba until 2027, its lower house of parliament said on Tuesday, just days after the two countries announced they would deepen ties amid the spiraling Ukraine crisis.

The loans, worth $2.3 billion and provided to Cuba by Russia between 2006 and 2019, helped underwrite investments in power generation, metals and transportation infrastructure, according to a statement from the lower house, or Duma.

On Tuesday, Russian lawmakers ratified an agreement, originally signed with Cuban counterparts in Havana in 2021, that amended the loan terms, the statement said.

Cuba last week expressed support for Russia in its showdown with Western powers over Ukraine following a visit from Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov, and accused long-time rival the United States and its allies of targeting Moscow with what it called a “propaganda war” and sanctions.

Russia’s decision to soften the loan terms comes as Cuba wrestles with a dire social and economic crisis that has led to severe shortages in food and medicine, and it follows protests last year believed to be the largest since Fidel Castro’s 1959 revolution.

Since the revolution, the two countries have had a long history of economic and military collaboration, though in recent decades those ties have faded.

Russia has, however, continued to deliver humanitarian aid and provide loans to the island.

Over the last decade, Cuba has also restructured debt with China, Germany and Mexico, as well as with Japanese commercial debt holders.

In October, Cuba reached a deal with the Paris Club of creditor nations to postpone an annual debt payment due in November until later this year.

Duma chairman Vyacheslav Volodin is expected to visit Cuba and Nicaragua on Feb. 23 and 24.

https://www.ibtimes.com/russia-postpones-cuba-debt-payments-amid-warming-relations-3409809