Estonia signs joint statement condemning Cuban regime's crackdown

Marko Mihkelson (Reform).
Marko Mihkelson (Reform). Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Estonia joined the United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Latvia, and Lithuania in condemning the Cuban regime's "violent crackdown" on the island's pro-democracy movement.

The joint statement was issued on Wednesday and has been signed by the chairman of the foreign affairs committees in each country. It said the counties "stand united in supporting the aspirations of the Cuban people".

It also called for sanctions on complicit members of the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces, the Cuban Ministry of Interior, Cuba's National Revolutionary Police.

The crackdown came after thousands of Cubans took to the streets to call for an end to dictatorship in their country on July 11 and 12, the most widespread in decades.

News agency AP reported that thousands of Cubans were protesting food and medicine shortages, power outages and even calling for political change. The marches then turned violent after police clashed with protesters.

The joint statement is republished below:

"We, the chairs of our respective national parliament's Foreign Affairs Committees, express our firm and absolute support for the people of Cuba as they manifest their desires to live in a freer, more just, and more equal country. We hear their calls and we echo them. We stand united in supporting the aspirations of the Cuban people to chart a new democratic future that places human dignity and social justice at its core. We call on the Cuban regime to do the same.

"We strongly condemn Cuban authorities for using violence, intimidation, and censorship to deny Cubans of their constitutional rights to gather and peacefully protest. We further denounce the Diaz Canel government's call for pro-regime civilians to take up arms against the pro-democracy movement. These actions demonstrate that the regime would rather bring the Cuban people to their knees than hear their cries for help.

"We call for targeted sanctions on members of the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces, the Cuban Ministry of Interior, Cuba's National Revolutionary Police, and all those who are complicit in the violent repression of peaceful protests or violations of human rights.

"In solidarity with the international community and the families of activists and journalists unjustly detained, we call on the regime to immediately release all those arrested for asserting their fundamental freedoms and universal rights.

"The Cuban people have a right to be free from despair. The Cuban regime has a responsibility to heed its peoples' cries for help. We call on the regime to establish a constructive dialogue, including the participation of a broad range of civil society actors, and lay out a path for a democratic and prosperous Cuba." 

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Editor: Helen Wright

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