The head of US diplomacy, Antony Blinken, called for the “immediate release” of all political prisoners in Cuba, in a statement published two years after the anti-government demonstrations for which some 500 people have been sentenced.
On July 11, 2021, thousands of Cubans took to the streets shouting “We are hungry” and “Down with the dictatorship” in unprecedented protests since the 1959 Revolution that resulted in one death and dozens of injuries.
More than 1,500 people were arrested, of which almost 700 are still in prison, says the NGO Justicia 11J. According to official figures, nearly 500 were sentenced to up to 25 years in prison.
“We reiterate our call for the immediate release of the unjustly detained political prisoners and we urge the international community to join us in demanding that the Cuban government release the hundreds of students, journalists, artists, youth and other unjustly imprisoned (people)“, the statement states.
Blinken assures that “the world will not forget those who bravely made their voices heard in the face of extreme repression.”
The government of US President Joe Biden has imposed sanctions and visa restrictions on “individuals and entities implicated in human rights abuses, including harsh treatment of the July 11 protesters,” the text recalls.
The US congressmen have commemorated the second anniversary of the protests with a bipartisan resolution of the House of Representatives and the Senate.
In it, they condemn the “acts of repression and human rights violations perpetrated by the Cuban regime”, they call for “the immediate release” of all “unfairly and arbitrarily detained” and they demand that the Cuban government recognize and abide by the decision of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights that considers it responsible for the death of the activists Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero.
Upon his arrival at the White House in January 2021, Biden promised to review US policy towards Cuba, but hardened his position after the July 11 demonstrations.
Chinese interests, the great rival of the United States, on the island they have increased the tension.
Last June, the White House acknowledged that China has had an espionage unit in Cuba for years. And according to the Wall Street Journal, the Chinese authorities are negotiating with the Cuban authorities the possibility of establishing a “new joint military training facility on the island.”
Despite the tension in 2022, Washington and Havana resumed migration negotiations, in a context of a record exodus of Cubans.