Achievements and challenges of Cuba Decide in the third quarter of 2020

Tribute to Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero: Mass from Miami
30 July, 2020
July 22: Worldwide tribute for Oswaldo Payá, Harold Cepero and martyrs of democracy in the Americas
14 October, 2020

During the last quarter, despite many challenges that COVID-19 has brought forth, Cuba Decide has not lost its momentum and continues to make accomplishments while fighting for the Cuban people. 

On July 22, a day-long digital tribute gathered Cubans and international figures around the world and across the Island. For 12 hours, the Fundación para la Democracia Panamericana (FDP) and the Cuba Decide citizen initiative led by Rosa María Payá, held an homage in real time, to honor the martyrs of Cuban democracy, Harold Cepero (1980-2012) and Oswaldo Payá (1952-2012), both assassinated in Cuba on Sunday, July 22, 2012, by State Security agents on behalf of the Cuban regime.

Tons of humanitarian aid from the successful “Solidaridad Entre Hermanos” (Solidarity Among Brothers) collection from May 2020, were delivered by August 10th to the Port of Mariel, to be distributed directly to the neediest citizens in the midst of the humanitarian crisis that Cuba is experiencing. However, the regime militarized the port upon the arrival of the aid and is arbitrarily withholding the donations from their rightful owners. Cuba Decide has ramped up efforts to raise international awareness about the arbitrary blockade. 

Cuba Decide has organized several virtual “calling parties” where Cubans in the United States of all ages gather virtually to call Senators and Representatives, who have expressed interest in humanitarian aid being able to arrive in Cuba, to urge them to denounce the regime’s actions through a public platform. 

Some examples of those who have come out in support of releasing the aid are Members of the European Parliament José Ramón Bauzá, David Lega and Hermann Tertsch; Assistant Secretary for U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, Michael Kozak, and Florida Senator Marco Rubio.

Moreover, Rosa Maria Payá met with delegates of the European Parliament, the winners of this year’s Oswaldo Payá Freedom and Life Award. The meeting resulted in the agreement that the MEPs Ms. Payá met with would organize questions to be submitted to the High Commissioner of the European Union, demanding that they suspend their trade agreement with Cuba as a result of overt human rights violations. The questions specifically mentions the call for an “urgent meeting” regarding the PDCA and the blockade of humanitarian aid sent through the Solidarity Between Brothers initiative and collected five months ago in the United States in hopes of mitigating the impact of the crisis on the Island and providing as much assistance as possible to vulnerable families in Cuba.

On its second year, the Sunflower Revolution saw active international, as well as on-Island participation. On September 8th, Cubans inside the Island took to the streets in defense of their rights and liberties, demanded freedom from the Castro-communist regime, and the release of all political prisoners. The on-Island protests were accompanied by others and carried out by Cubans living in the Netherlands, Ecuador, the United States, Germany, France, Canada, Switzerland and other countries. 

At Cuba Decide, we have been keeping track of human rights violations on the Island. Reports of violations of human rights of Cubans and arbitrary detentions have been sent to the IACHR, which expressed its condemnation of the regime’s actions and continues to monitor the cases.

The international conversation regarding Cuba’s state of crisis continues. On September 24th, the Conferencia Transatlántica: Cuba en Crisis took place live via Facebook to discuss the crisis that Cuba is going through, as well as the urgent actions that the European Parliament can take to pressure the regime and alleviate the seriousness of the Cuban situation. 

The activist and scientist Ariel Ruíz Urquiola and promoter of Cuba Decide Yunier Suarez were able to share their testimonies of the various human rights violations they and others have experienced at the hands of the dictatorship in Cuba with MEP José Ramón Bauzá via Facebook live, further making it known that Cuba is in Crisis to the international community. 

Rosa Maria Paya participated in the forum “Freedom of conscience and democratic struggle” organized by the Juan German Roscio Foundation, to honor Juan Requesens two years after his arrest. It was held online on August 7, and was moderated by Paola Bautista de Alemán, president of the foundation.

Moreover, Ms. Paya participated in the Ibero-American Summit discussion about Democracy vs. Populism where she elaborated upon repression and the vulnerability of life that exists in Cuba which extends throughout all communist dictatorships around the globe and how it relates to the new dangers posed by COVID-19; namely, the negligence of the dictatorship in the face of the health crisis during the pandemic.Further, Rosa María Payá was recognized as the CHLI Ileana Ros-Lehtinen International Leadership Honoree, an award which honors those who have a significant impact on the U.S Hispanic community September 30, the at the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute’s (CHLI) 16th Annual Gala and Leadership Awards.