CubaBrief: Looking back two years later at Cuba’s nationwide nonviolent protests, and the Cuban government’s violent response

July 11, 2023 marks two years since nationwide protests erupted in Cuba. Hundreds of thousands of Cubans took to the streets to demand freedom, an end to the 64-year-old Castro dictatorship, demonstrating they were willing to risk their lives to achieve it. At the same time, the Cuban government revealed its determination to use violence, including murderous force, and repression to suppress Cubans advocating nonviolent change. Cubans were beaten to death, and shot in the back by regime agents for engaging in nonviolent protest. Over 1,000 political prisoners remain in Cuba two years later. Over 300,000 Cubans fled the island after the crackdown. 

The arts, and music more specifically, played a great role in this nonviolent uprising for freedom. Two years after these historic and peaceful demonstrations (also known as 11J) , the Cuban dictatorship detained nearly 50 artists following the protests. “At least 10 remain in detention while 13 others were forced into exile,” according to Artists at Risk Connection in their report Método Cuba: Independent Artists’ Testimonies of Forced Exile released on July 11, 2023.

Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara is one of the 10 who remains in detention. Luis Manuel was arrested when he tried to go out and join nonviolent protesters on July 11, 2021. He has been on a hunger and thirst strike since July 7th, and his health status as of today is unknown,  but on Monday in the Miami Herald, a letter of his was published as an opinion piece titled ‘Cuba’s Authorities Have Stolen My Youth Just For Speaking My Mind’ in which he describes the prison conditions he is enduring.

I’m imprisoned in Guanajay, a maximum-security penitentiary southwest of Havana. Many of my fellow prisoners are serving life sentences for murder. The authorities have separated me from other political prisoners. I share a cell with three others. I’m allowed to talk to other inmates in the hallway, but I’m only taken out to the yard when other prisoners are gone. I should be allowed to spend an hour outside every day, but I’m only let out occasionally at the whim of the guards.  I’ve lost weight because of the scarcity of food and poor quality of meals. I’m often afraid to eat because the food looks rotten. After I was sentenced in June 2022, the rules for visiting me changed. Now my family can only visit me once a month, instead of twice. No one else is allowed. Even my beloved uncle is banned because of his involvement in activism. 

Katherine Bisquet, a Cuban poet, was one of the 13 forced into exile, and in Método Cuba: Independent Artists’ Testimonies of Forced Exile said,  “It is not our decision to be in exile. We do not go into exile for an economic benefit or to go on vacation in some country. It was not our decision at the time. I had to leave it all behind, I had to leave my books, all my things. In the matter of a day, I had to pack a suitcase with everything that made up my life to that point, all 29 years of it. . . . I only had a one-way ticket.”

Katherine Bisquet, forcible exiled poet.

Alessandra Pinna, director, Latin America and the Caribbean Program at Freedom House, was interviewed in Perspectives on July 7, 2022, and provided an overview of the Cuban reality today.

Cuba is a one-party state, with a political system that offers neither pluralism nor the separation of powers. Civil liberties, including freedom of speech, assembly, expression, and belief, are restricted. People living on the island do not benefit from the free flow of information and cannot safely engage in dissent. Journalists and human rights defenders (HRDs) are regularly harassed, detained, interrogated, threatened, and defamed in state-run media outlets like Granma and Cuba Debate. Cubans already contend with poor housing conditions and worsening shortages of essential goods like food, medicine, and fuel. But now, Cubans must also grapple with the risk of power outages thanks to power plant malfunctions. In democratic countries, these deeply rooted difficulties would lead to street protests, but that behavior is thoroughly suppressed and even criminalized in Cuba. Today, there are over 1,000 political prisoners in the country, more than in Nicaragua and Venezuela combined.

Repression has continued to be ramped up over the past two years by Havana, and the murderous nature of the dictatorship exposed, despite the efforts of economic interests to normalize the dictatorship.

The Cuban coast guard rammed and sank a boat carrying fleeing refugees on October 28, 2022, killing eight Cubans, including a two-year-old girl. On June 12, 2023, the IACHR concluded a decade-long investigation proving that operatives of the Cuban state were responsible for the July 22, 2012 murders of human rights defenders Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero.

Apologists for the Castro government in Cuba, and the blame America first crowd, are making ahistorical justifications for another round of appeasement. They are deafeningly silent about the reality that when communism fell in Central and Eastern Europe, it was Romania and Yugoslavia—the two communist governments with the finest relations with the West—that ended in bloodbaths directed by communist and former communist leaders legitimized by Western democracies.

Following the 11J protests, the Cuban Christian Liberation Movement proposed an  eleven-point action plan to isolate the Cuban dictatorship, but the international community did not act, and Havana proceeded with its harsh policies and practices.

This can have disastrous consequences, concluded Center for a Free Cuba executive director John Suarez in an opinion piece published by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, but also provided  hope in the midst of the pessimistic tone.

“The international community’s failure to stand in solidarity with Cubans rather than their oppressors in the communist military junta threatens a violent conflagration. But there may still be time to do the right thing: open channels for humanitarian aid to reach Cubans on the island without passing through the regime, while isolating and ostracizing the repressive communist dictatorship and its nomenklatura, and recognizing the democratic resistance.” 

Artists at Risk Connection, July 11, 2023

Método Cuba: Independent Artists’ Testimonies of Forced Exile

Two years after the historic July 11 peaceful demonstrations in Cuba (also known as 11J) and the swift government crackdown that ensued, the artistic and cultural landscape in Cuba has been drastically undermined. This suppression of dissent resulted in the detention of nearly 50 artists following the demonstrations. Of them, at least 10 remain in detention while 13 others were forced into exile. 

Método Cuba: Independent Artists’ Testimonies of Forced Exile, amplifies the stories of artists who have suffered repression due to their artivism firsthand. ARC, PEN International, and Cubalex, share the testimonies of 17 exiled artists, documenting the repressive and sometimes violent tactics employed by the Cuban state to force them out of the country.

The report puts artists’ lived experiences at the center of the discussion on art, culture, and human rights. The publication underscores the common repression these artists faced due to their creative expression and spotlights artists’ individual stories of how they left the island and the challenges they now face in exile. 

Método Cuba also features a preface by the Nicaraguan novelist and poet in exile, Gioconda Belli and is accompanied by a detailed historical dive into the censorship of artists in Cuba, written by the Cuban historian and essayist, Rafael Rojas.  

“It is not our decision to be in exile. We do not go into exile for an economic benefit or to go on vacation in some country. It was not our decision at the time. I had to leave it all behind, I had to leave my books, all my things. In the matter of a day, I had to pack a suitcase with everything that made up my life to that point, all 29 years of it. . . . I only had a one-way ticket.””

— Katherine Bisquet

Método Cuba calls for the immediate release of political prisoners and all imprisoned artists who are jailed for peacefully expressing their ideas and creative work. In addition the report urges the governments of Latin America and the human rights community to investigate allegations of systematic human rights abuses against artists in Cuba, particularly as it relates to restrictions on artistic freedom, arbitrary detentions, and forced exile.

Key Insights

  • Sixteen artists alleged they were either arbitrarily detained, subjected to police or judicial interrogations, or placed under house arrest. 

  • Fifteen artists mentioned receiving explicit threats from authorities of fines, imprisonment, and professional dismissal directed at friends, colleagues, and/or relatives.

  • All artists reported suffering some form of surveillance in the physical or digital spheres. 

  • Twelve of the artists alleged that they have been victims of state-led harassment campaigns, enduring threats, leaks of their private conversations, and online attacks to delegitimize or badger them.

  • All artists shared experiences of censorship.

  • Fourteen of the 17 artists explicitly mentioned experiences of isolation once in exile or difficulties associated with integrating into a new society.

By amplifying the stories of the artists interviewed, the myriad repressive practices they alleged to have suffered, and the principal challenges they report in exile, the following recommendations emerged to the Cuban government, governments of Latin America and the international human rights community, and international civil society, cultural organizations, and the media. 

Recommendations

To the Cuban Government:

  • Immediately release all imprisoned artists and political prisoners, who are jailed for peacefully expressing their ideas and creative work.

  • Respect the right of return for artists and remove all restrictions currently placed on artists in exile who wish to go back to Cuba as their country of origin, ensuring their free expression and the full exercise of their human rights.

  • Ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights.

  • Adapt procedural norms based on international human rights standards, especially as they relate to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment; the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance; the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women; the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination; and the Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention (ILO).

  • Establish legislative guarantees under the Cuban constitution and in line with international human rights obligations for exercising artistic expression, freedom of assembly, and freedom of petition. Ensure that the independent artistic community enjoys the full right to express their ideas through any means without being subjected to harassment, threats, torture, detentions, house arrests, or exile.

  • Revoke Decree Law 349 and Decree Law 370. Amend or abolish articles or legal stipulations as reflected in Decree Law 35, Decree 42, Resolution 105, Law No. 1289 of the Family Code, and the Cuban Penal Code, which challenge free expression rights by spurring censorship of artistic, cultural, literary, and journalistic activities.

  • Adopt measures such as the creation of programs, spaces, or projects that promote diverse opinions, including those critical of the state, and forms of cultural and artistic expression to prevent and combat the stigmatization and criminalization of artists, journalists, and intellectuals, accounting for various social, economic, and ethnic or racial perspectives.

  • Put an end to the practice of shutting down the internet or other services to guarantee the full and free access to information and art in the digital environment.

To the Governments of Latin America and the International Human Rights Community:

  • Recognize and denounce human rights violations in Cuba in interactions with regional and international forums.

  • Urge the Cuban government to release artists and political prisoners incarcerated for their work, activism, and/or dissident ideas.

  • Stop minimizing the restrictions to, and violations of, human rights in Cuba, propose recommendations or resolutions that promote free expression rights of Cuban artists at the UN Human Rights Council and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to stop minimizing the restrictions to, and violations of, human rights in Cuba.

  • Facilitate special procedures to grant asylum to Cuban artists and political prisoners within the region or internationally, and provide the necessary protection schemes to assist artists at risk from Cuba.

  • Adopt comprehensive integration programs, including professional assistance, financial literacy, and mental health support, to help artists in exile with their resettlement.

  • Investigate allegations of the systematic abuse of human rights against artists, writers, and activists in Cuba as it relates to restrictions on freedom of artistic expression, arbitrary detentions, and patterns of forced exile.

  • Continue monitoring and urging the respect and implementation of international human rights and freedom of expression principles in all measures, regulations, and legislation adopted by the Cuban government. 

To International Civil Society, Cultural Organizations, and the Media:

  • Improve independent documentation processes for violations of freedom of expression committed by the Cuban state to promote inter-organizational communication and ensure coordination and accountability.

  • Invest in creating local, regional, and international platforms and coalitions that build solidarity with Cuban artists, amplify their voices, and further expose violations of freedom of expression in Cuba.

  • Prioritize the preservation of Cuban literature and art and the well-being of Cuban creatives by establishing platforms, residencies, and social programs that disseminate and promote their art within the country and in exile.

  • Examine how mental health problems stemming from repression affect societal integration in order to provide effective psychosocial support to exiled artists who need it.

Published on July 11, 2023

https://artistsatriskconnection.org/story/metodo-cuba-independent-artists-testimonies-of-forced-exile

Miami Herald, 10 July 23 

‘Cuba’s Authorities Have Stolen My Youth Just For Speaking My Mind’ | Opinion

 By Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara

I am an artist and a political prisoner in Cuba. I was arrested on July 11, 2021, on my way to a protest in which thousands of my compatriots rose up across the island to demand freedom. 

I’ve been imprisoned ever since. 

Last year, I was sentenced to five years in prison on charges of contempt and insult to national symbols, because I used the Cuban flag in a performance in August 2019. This is how the Cuban government views my art. I was tried, alongside my dear friend, the Grammy Award-winning rapper Maykel Castillo — known as El Osorbo — who is now serving a nine-year sentence for similar offenses. 

My imprisonment is a result of the Cuban authorities’ systematic strategy to silence the voices of young people. They have been harassing me for years, arresting me 50 times between 2017 and 2021 and also through defamation, violation of privacy, threats and police beatings. But it wasn’t until the historic protest of 2021 that the regime decided to lock me up for a longer period of time so I could no longer communicate with my people. 

I’m imprisoned in Guanajay, a maximum-security penitentiary southwest of Havana. Many of my fellow prisoners are serving life sentences for murder. The authorities have separated me from other political prisoners. I share a cell with three others. I’m allowed to talk to other inmates in the hallway, but I’m only taken out to the yard when other prisoners are gone. I should be allowed to spend an hour outside every day, but I’m only let out occasionally at the whim of the guards. 

I’ve lost weight because of the scarcity of food and poor quality of meals. I’m often afraid to eat because the food looks rotten. After I was sentenced in June 2022, the rules for visiting me changed. Now my family can only visit me once a month, instead of twice. No one else is allowed. Even my beloved uncle is banned because of his involvement in activism. 

More than 1,800 Cubans, mostly young and Black, were arrested in the protests in 2021. Of these, 897 have been tried, and 777 remain in prison. Many are minors. Some have been sentenced to up to 30 years for sedition. But there’s no evidence that the protest was premeditated. It started in a small town outside Havana, when a young boy posted a video on Facebook of people protesting power outages. Within hours, thousands of Cubans decided to take to the streets. 

Since that day, hundreds of young Cubans have been trapped behind bars. Every day is the same. Violence is constant. Only one’s body changes. Your hair falls out and your face ages prematurely from pain, frustration and sadness. Your friends leave the country. Lovers’ caresses are long gone. The soundscape here is always the same. All you hear is the murmur of death slowly approaching. In these harsh conditions, human beings are stripped of their youth. They wander the four square meters of their cells with no sense of future. 

I speak as a young man in today’s Cuba. We are full of energy and confidence, determined to lend our talents to the quest for a truly democratic and free Cuba. The regime that has survived for 64 years on the Caribbean’s largest island is once again trying to crush a generation, just as it crushed and erased those who preceded us. 

Today every young Cuban is a political prisoner. A censored artist. An exile inside and outside Cuba. Even if you’re an accomplice of the system, you will inevitably be crushed like the others, because to be young is to be daring and reckless, eager to bring change to the world. It means fighting for love, dreams and utopia. But these qualities are considered crimes in Cuba, and that condemns us all to martyrdom. 

Today, as I approach the age of 35 behind bars, I reflect on the loss of youth under a dictatorial system. Forced to survive political violence, we all lose 90% of our physical and intellectual productivity. Only 10% is left for creative and life-affirming pursuits. 

On behalf of the young Cubans locked up in the island’s horrible prisons, I appeal to people of conscience around the world to support our struggle to liberate ourselves and our country. All we did was demand the right to choose our political future and to speak our minds. 

No one should have to give up their youth for such a just cause. 

https://news.yahoo.com/cuba-authorities-stolen-youth-just-201508553.html?fr=sycsrp_catchall

Freedom House, Perspectives July 7, 2022

After 11J: What’s next in the Cuban struggle for freedom

Written by Alessandra Pinna

Director, Latin America and the Caribbean Programs

As we mark Independence Day in the United States this week, we are also reminded of the ongoing struggle people all over the world face in securing their political rights and civil liberties.

Monday, July 11, will mark the one-year anniversary of the J11 protests in Cuba, which were extraordinary for occurring in one of the world’s most repressive environments. To mark these historic protests, we interviewed Alessandra Pinna, director of programs for the Latin America and Caribbean region, to discuss what Cubans are doing to secure a freer future and how the international community can help. 

Q:   Much of the world is unfamiliar with the current situation in Cuba. How would you describe the state of democracy there?  

Cuba is a one-party state, with a political system that offers neither pluralism nor the separation of powers. Civil liberties, including freedom of speech, assembly, expression, and belief, are restricted. People living on the island do not benefit from the free flow of information and cannot safely engage in dissent. Journalists and human rights defenders (HRDs) are regularly harassed, detained, interrogated, threatened, and defamed in state-run media outlets like Granma and Cuba Debate.

Cubans already contend with poor housing conditions and worsening shortages of essential goods like food, medicine, and fuel. But now, Cubans must also grapple with the risk of power outages thanks to power plant malfunctions. In democratic countries, these deeply rooted difficulties would lead to street protests, but that behavior is thoroughly suppressed and even criminalized in Cuba. Today, there are over 1,000 political prisoners in the country, more than in Nicaragua and Venezuela combined.

Q:  What made last year’s protests so special to the people of Cuba?  

First, the protests were especially large; in fact, they were the largest demonstrations Cuba has seen since the 1959 revolution. These protests were the result of months of collaboration between veteran dissidents, emerging leaders, new movements, and organized communities.

Second, J11 participants used the internet to persuade their neighbors to take part. As protesters took to social media under the #SOSCuba banner, others overcame their fear and made their voices heard on the streets of over 60 towns across the island.

Finally, protesters noted the link between their economic and political circumstances. International attention was largely focused on demonstrators’ concerns over food prices and goods shortages, but we should go deeper to identify the cause of this unprecedented social uprising. Protesters were motivated by their dissatisfaction of an illegitimate political system that allowed those issues to fester. Protesters chanted for “Freedom!” because it was clear to them that the shortages are the result of six decades of political monopolization, financial irresponsibility, and a total lack of accountability.

Q:   What has happened since the historic protests?

The regime immediately cracked down on protesters, and President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez encouraged security forces and government supporters to respond violently. Dozens were injured in clashes, and over 1,400 were detained according to Cubalex and Justicia 11J.In the past year, 600 people have been prosecuted for demonstrating; some have received prison sentences between six and 30 years, including minors. Some 700 people are still in detention as of last month. The regime has also refined its repressive tactics, weaponizing legislation to criminalize dissent. The first law enforced after J11, Decree Law 35, established new criminal prohibitions on publishing information online—a direct attack on social media, which was used to tremendous effect to embolden protesters.

By forcing HRDs into prison, forced exile, or hiding over the past year, the regime has neutralized an energetic movement that captured the hearts and minds of millions of Cubans and dampened prospects for future protests of the same scale.

Q: What can be done to help HRDs in Cuba?

While the J11 protests highlighted the Cuban people’s determination to demand greater freedoms, citizens—especially HRDs—remain vulnerable to a ruthless and sophisticated authoritarian regime. The international community cannot leave the Cuban people alone in their efforts to secure fundamental freedoms and accountability for human rights abuses. 

The international community can pressure the Cuban government to refrain from repressive tactics like arbitrary detention. International actors should publicly demand the release of political prisoners like Freedom House Freedom Award 2022 winners Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara and Maykel Castillo Pérez, who respectively received five- and nine-year prison terms for expressing dissent through their artistic output in June. In addition, international actors can press Havana to allow visits from representatives of bodies like the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. This way, conditions in Cuban prisons can be assessed and Havana can be held accountable for the treatment of political prisoners. The European Union can also leverage its engagement with Havana to good effect.

Moreover, defending internet freedom in Cuba is crucial. The international community should call on Havana to remove arbitrary internet-access restrictions and end online censorship. Actors should also expand their digital-security and digital-activism programming so that HRDs can circumvent state restrictions and protect themselves against surveillance.

Q:  Cuba has been under a repressive regime for nearly 60 years. Are you hopeful for the future independence of the Cuban people and Cuban civil society?

The J11 protests demonstrated that the government’s persistent inability to meet basic needs, coupled with ongoing repression, has eroded its legitimacy and weakened the social control it has cultivated over six decades. The glaring quality-of-life gap between ordinary citizens and government officials emboldened Cubans—even erstwhile regime supporters or those who had remained silent for fear of reprisal—to protest on July 11, 2021.

The Cuban regime has demonstrated its resilience and stamina, to be sure. For decades, it has refined its tools of repression and surveillance, allowing it to muffle—if not silence—even the loudest eruptions of dissatisfaction. After J11, scores of activists have been exiled, which will stymie the efforts of future generations. Moreover, as democratic nations face their own crises of legitimacy, Havana continues to strengthen its relationships with other authoritarian states, such as Russia, China, and Iran, learning and sharing tactics of suppression to remain in power.

Ultimately, the Cuban people are just as resilient in the face of repression, as evidenced by José Martí’s dedication to Cuban freedom in the 1800s and the present-day work of civil society groups like Las Damas de Blanco (The Ladies in White) and Movimiento San Isidro. Their constant efforts, then and now, offer hope. The Cuban people have found pockets of solidarity within their country’s restrictive environment and will not give up on their demands for freedom. Now is the time for the international community to lend their full support to the courageous activists and organizations who work fearlessly to achieve that aim.

 

Learn more about Cuba and the country’s history on freedom and democracy by reading the latest Freedom in the World report, and visit our Latin America and Caribbean Programs page to learn more about Freedom House’s programs in the region.

https://freedomhouse.org/article/after-11J


Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, July 11, 2023

It’s Not Too Late to Stand with the Cuban People

By John Suarez

On July 11, 2021, nationwide protests across Cuba marked a before and after point in the island’s history. Hundreds of thousands of Cubans across the communist nation took to the streets, demonstrating to the international community that they wanted freedom, an end to the 64-year-old Castro dictatorship, and were willing to risk their lives to achieve it. Simultaneously, the totalitarian regime demonstrated its willingness to use violence, including lethal force, and intimidation to silence all civilians calling for nonviolent change.

It started in San Antonio de los Baños, just 16 miles from the capital city of Havana, with thousands of Cubans flocking to the streets in protest and speaking out. Images were posted on social media, and the flames of dissent spread over the island before the regime could extinguish them. Cubans marched in over 50 cities and hundreds of other localities, singing lines from the protest song Patria y Vida and demanding freedom, an end to tyranny, homeland, and life. The dictatorship was shaken by this spontaneous and nonviolent revolt.

The response delivered on the same day by Raul Castro’s hand-picked president, Miguel Diaz-Canel, is grounds for prosecution. Diaz-Canel stated explicitly, “We are calling on all the revolutionaries of the country, all the communists, to take to the streets and go to the places where these provocations are going to take place today, from now on, and in all these days and face it decisively, firmly, with courage.” He ended his speech to the nation by stating, “The order of combat has been given, revolutionaries take to the streets.”

The Cuban dictatorship blocked Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Telegram.  

Regime agents beat and shot Cubans, and thousands were arbitrarily detained. On July 12, 2021, Christian Barrera Díaz went missing while participating in a nonviolent demonstration. Police said he was arrested, then drowned and was buried in a mass grave. His family believes he was murdered by police. On the same day, Diubis Laurencio Tejeda, a 36-year-old singer, was shot in the back by the dictatorship’s police after participating in the 11J protests in Havana. Other victims’ relatives were frightened into silence by the dictatorship. Despite this, photos of troops firing on unarmed protestors emerged.

Over 1,000 political prisoners remain in Cuba two years later. During that time, over 300,000 Cubans fled the island. Nonviolent protests, however, persist, as does the regime’s brutality. Witnesses to the violence who document it are also apprehended and condemned to long prison sentences. New regulations have been passed and implemented to punish people who publish content that portray the dictatorship negatively.

Atrocities persist, and regime crimes are exposed. The Cuban coast guard rammed and sank a boat carrying fleeing refugees on October 28, 2022, killing eight Cubans, including a two-year-old girl. On June 12, 2023, the IACHR concluded a decade-long investigation proving that operatives of the Cuban state were responsible for the July 22, 2012 murders of Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero.

While European democracies condemned the crackdown, they did little to sanction Cuba’s dictatorship. The United States imposed sanctions on individual officials but ignored Diaz-Canel, who led the violent response on July 11, 2021. Washington then lifted sanctions on Havana on May 16, 2022, one day after the regime ratified a new draconian penal code.

Failure to contain and roll back Castroism following the Soviet Union’s dissolution in 1991 resulted in more unnecessary suffering in Cuba, as well as its spread to Venezuela, Nicaragua, and elsewhere as the Cuban military and intelligence service successfully undermined democracies and assisted new autocratic regimes consolidate control.

Regime apologists are creating ahistorical arguments for another round of appeasing the Castro dictatorship in Cuba. They are silent on the fact that when communism fell in Central and Eastern Europe, it was Romania and Yugoslavia —the two communist regimes with the best relations with the West—that ended in bloodbaths directed by communist and former communist officials legitimized by Western democracies.

Following the 11J protests, the Cuban Christian Liberation Movement offered the international community an eleven-point action plan to isolate the Cuban dictatorship, but the international community failed to act, and Havana continued with its repressive policies and practices.

The international community’s failure to stand in solidarity with Cubans rather than their oppressors in the communist military junta threatens a violent conflagration. But there may still be time to do the right thing: open channels for humanitarian aid to reach Cubans on the island without passing through the regime, while isolating and ostracizing the repressive communist dictatorship and its nomenklatura, and recognizing the democratic resistance. 

John Suarez is Executive Director of the Center for a Free Cuba.

https://victimsofcommunism.org/its-not-too-late-to-stand-with-the-cuban-people/