In the aftermath of a campaign orchestrated essentially by powerful European media companies, which have viciously attacked Cuba, and following a sullied debate, the European Parliament has just passed a condemnation resolution against our country manipulating sentiments, distorting facts, deceiving people and obscuring reality.

The pretext has been the death of an inmate first punished for common crimes and then manipulated by US interests and the mercenaries at its service. This man refused to eat despite all warnings and the intervention of Cuban medical specialists.

This unfortunate event cannot be used to condemn Cuba under the allegation that his death could have prevented. If there is an area in which our country does not need to defend itself with words, because reality is undisputable, that is in its struggle for human life and not only for those born in Cuba but elsewhere, too. The presence of Cuban doctors in Haiti for eleven years prior to the earthquake of last January, practically ignored by the mainstream press, is but an example of this.

A great cynicism stands behind that condemnation, for countless lives, especially of children, have been lost in the poor nations due to the decision of the rich countries represented at the European Parliament to avoid honoring their commitments to development aid. Everyone knew that such a decision was a massive death sentence, yet they chose to preserve the level of wastage and ostentation of an eventually suicidal consumerism.

Cubans find it offensive this attempt at teaching us lessons as in Europe immigrants and the unemployed are the victims of repression while here, in neighbors’ meetings —freely and without intermediaries— our people put up their candidates to the municipal elections.

Those who were involved in and/or allowed the air smuggling of detainees, the establishment of illegal prisons and the tortures lack the morality to pass judgment on a brutally blockaded and harassed people.

Such a discriminatory and selective condemnation can only result from the failure of a policy that has unsuccessfully tried to submit a heroic people. Neither the Helms-Burton Act nor the European Common Position, —both approved the same year, under similar circumstances and with equal purpose, and both harmful to our sovereignty and national dignity—have any future, since the Cubans reject impositions, intolerance and pressure in the development of international relations.

European Parliament resolution of 11 March 2010 on prisoners of conscience in Cuba

The European Parliament ,

– having regard to its previous resolutions on the situation in Cuba, in particular those of 17 November 2004, 2 February 2006 and 21 June 2007,

– having regard to its previous resolutions on the Annual Reports on Human Rights in the World for 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008, and to the EU’s policy in the field of human rights,

– having regard to its resolution of 14 December 2006 on the follow-up to the Sakharov Prize(1) ,

– having regard to the Council Presidency Declaration of 14 December 2005 on the Damas de Blanco and to the earlier declarations of 26 March 2003 and 5 June 2003 on the situation in Cuba,

– having regard to Council Common Position 96/697/CFSP, adopted on 2 December 1996 and updated periodically since,

– having regard to the conclusions of the General Affairs and External Relations Council of 18 June 2007, June 2008 and 15 June 2009, on Cuba,

– having regard to the statements issued by the spokesperson for the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Baroness Catherine Ashton, and by the President of Parliament, Jerzy Buzek, on the death in Cuba of the political prisoner and prisoner of conscience Orlando Zapata Tamayo,

– having regard to Rule 110(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas defending the universality and indivisibility of human rights, including civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, remains one of the European Union’s main objectives,

B. whereas dozens of independent journalists, peaceful dissidents and human rights defenders, mostly members of the democratic opposition, are still being held in jail in Cuba for exercising the basic rights of expression and assembly and the right to hold meetings,

C. whereas Parliament awarded the 2005 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to the Damas de Blanco; whereas the Cuban authorities" refusal to allow the Damas de Blanco to travel to the seat of Parliament to receive the award violates one of the basic human rights, namely the right freely to leave and return to one’s own country, as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

D. whereas the Community institutions have made efforts to secure the release and humanitarian treatment of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience in Cuba,

E. whereas the death of Orlando Zapata Tamayo – the first time in nearly 40 years that a Cuban activist has died on hunger strike in protest against government abuses – is considered a serious step backwards for human rights in Cuba and has resulted in a wave of protest at international level and in more Cuban political and dissident prisoners going on hunger strike,

1. Strongly condemns the avoidable and cruel death of the dissident political prisoner Orlando Zapata Tamayo after a hunger strike of 85 days, and expresses its solidarity and sympathy with his family;

2. Condemns the pre-emptive detention of activists and the government’s attempt to prevent the family of Orlando Zapata Tamayo from holding his funeral and paying their last respects;

3. Deplores the absence of any significant signs of response by the Cuban authorities to the calls by the EU and the international community for all political prisoners to be released and for fundamental freedoms, especially freedom of expression and political association, to be fully respected;

4. Calls on the Cuban Government for the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience;

5. Voices its concern at the situation of the political prisoners and dissidents who went on hunger strike following Zapata’s death; welcomes the fact that most of them are now taking food again, but draws attention to the alarming state of the journalist and psychologist Guillermo Fariñas, whose continuation of the hunger strike could have fatal consequences;

6. Deplores the failure to respond to the repeated calls by the Council and Parliament for the immediate release of all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, and stresses that imprisoning Cuban dissidents for their ideals and their peaceful political activity is contrary to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;

7. Urges the Council and Commission to step up action to demand the release of political prisoners and promote and provide guarantees for the work of human rights defenders, along the lines agreed by the Foreign Affairs Council in its conclusions of 8 December 2009;

8. Urges the EU institutions to give their unconditional support and full encouragement to the launching of a peaceful process of political transition to multi-party democracy in Cuba;

9. Voices its profound solidarity with the entire Cuban people and its support for them in their progress towards democracy and respect and promotion of fundamental freedoms

10. Calls on the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and the Commissioner responsible for cooperation immediately to begin a structured dialogue with Cuban civil society and with those who support a peaceful transition in Cuba, in keeping with the conclusions successively adopted by the Council of the EU, using the Community’s development cooperation mechanisms, in particular under the European Initiative for Democracy and Human Rights;

11. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the EU rotating Presidency, the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Euro-Latin American Parliamentary Assembly and the Cuban Government and National Assembly of People’s Power.