FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Champions of human rights and civil liberties in Cuba travel to Poland to highlight the egregious inconsistency in European Union support of the totalitarian communist regime in Havana
Warsaw, Poland, August 16, 2023 – Leaders of the Assembly of the Cuban Resistance (ACR), a parliament in exile standing for justice and democracy in Cuba, are traveling to Warsaw to bring a facts-based ‘State of the Island’ briefing to Poland. Their visit comes in response to the communist regime in Havana recently sending elite military forces to Belarus and the participation of Cuban soldiers in the war in Ukraine fighting under the banner of Russia.
The ACR’s delegation seeks to invite Polish political leaders to join a growing coalition of EU nations requesting a review of the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (PDCA) between the EU and Cuba. The agreement provides €155 million for 80 development projects in Cuba, despite flagrant violations of Article 1 of this agreement, which stipulates respect for human rights.
“Much like the Polish people once suffered, Cubans today live under the yoke of a brutal totalitarian communist dictatorship,” said Dr. Orlando Gutiérrez Boronat, Coordinator of the ACR who leads the delegation on its first official visit to Poland. “Because of our peoples’ shared experience, we feel obliged to shine a light on the important flaws of the agreement between the EU and Cuba that, ultimately, sees your taxes fund a criminal regime in Havana and negatively impact the vast majority of people in Cuba. This fact is particularly damning in light of the regime deploying its armed forces in your region in a manner hostile to your country and the continent.”
The communist regime maintains an iron grip over the Cuban people, controlling nearly every facet of their lives. Despite its dystopian control by central planners, the Island’s economy is in freefall and has fallen victim to runaway inflation and food shortages, revealing once more the extent to which the regime survives on injections of foreign capital from Russia and China. On July 11, 2021, spontaneous non-violent, popular protests broke out across Cuba. Hundreds of thousands of people cheering ”Libertad” took to the streets in response to the country’s worsening state of human rights. In response, the government engaged in indiscriminate mass arrests, sentencing some protestors to nearly two decades in prison.
“As someone who languished in Castro’s prisons for 14 years, I wish to appeal to the Polish people’s renowned spirit of solidarity,” said Luis Zúñiga, former Cuban political prisoner and a member of the ACR delegation. “Stand with us the way you so bravely stood against the evils of communism a generation ago.”
The ACR hopes to successfully persuade the Polish government to stand alongside nations such as Lithuania and Sweden, who call for the European Council to review the PDCA. In the spirit of collaboration, the delegation to Warsaw also includes a Swedish Member of Parliament, Björn Söder, who has championed the Cuban cause.
“When the ACR visited Sweden earlier this year to talk to us about the PDCA, it was clear that we had to take action,” Söder said. “I am proud to say that the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Swedish Parliament has formally asked for a review of the PDCA. I urge my Polish counterparts to join us in taking a principled stand and calling the European Council to review this extremely counter-productive agreement.”
The elite Cuban Black Berets stationed in Belarus specialize in putting down anti-government protests, the kind that has previously gripped that country. The unit has been trained by the Chinese paramilitary internal security forces and is responsible for violently putting down the July 11, 2021, protests across Cuba. Together with their counterparts fighting for Russia against Ukraine, the regime has put itself at the center of this conflict.
The ACR intends to continue its efforts in Poland and Europe to share its message of hope and freedom for the Cuban people and a full review of the PDCA. The organization, which represents more than 40 civic organizations working for freedom and human rights in Cuba, believes in the potential of the Cuban people to build a free society and a democratic system of government.
A press event featuring the visiting delegation will take place on Monday, August 21, at 14:30, at
UPPER DECK Wine & Cocktail Bar, ul. Koszykowa 63, Warszawa
To attend, please contact:
+48 510 139 575