The Cuban Observatory for Human Rights (OCDH) has asked the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell, to set the release of political prisoners as an “issue of first order” during his upcoming visit to the island. The latter handled European diplomacy for the first time.
The Observatory estimates that some 1,050 people are detained in Cuba for political reasons, which is why it wants Borrell to discuss the issue in his meetings with the Cuban government. He wishes to request the release of “those already detained ahead of the 2021 popular protests”.
Likewise, the organization has called on him to request the abolition of new penal code articles restricting human rights, as well as those considered the death penalty.
OCDH has taken the opportunity to question the current European position towards Cuba based on the Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement that changed the status quo five years ago. In this sense, it pointed out that now more than seven out of ten families live in extreme poverty and there is a “growing social discontent” that is “harshly repressed by the state”.
Borrell will arrive on the island on Thursday, 25 May, to participate in the III EU-Cuba Joint Council, a bilateral dialogue format that is held periodically, and the visit will last until Saturday the 27th. to meet with “different voices” from Cuban officials, European and Cuban businessmen and society.