Portugal asks Cuba to respect right to protest – The Observer

Portugal asks Cuba to respect right to protest – The Observer

Portugal’s Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva urged on Wednesday that Calls for respect for the right to demonstrate in Cuba and the end of US sanctions on the country again, to try to ease the economic crisis.

Portugal’s position is very simple: we hope that the situation in Cuba will develop positively and that the rights of the people will be respected, which from our point of view includes the right to peaceful demonstrations and meetings,” he said in Lusa’s statements. Portuguese diplomacy.

The head of Portuguese diplomacy expressed the desire that “there are political answers and solutions to problems of an economic, social and political nature”, because “this is the best way to solve problemsThe minister also addressed the economic sanctions imposed by the US on the Caribbean island and reaffirmed the longstanding criticism.

“Portugal, like many other countries in the world, understands that the lifting of sanctions by the United States will go a long way in alleviating some of the economic difficulties facing Cuba.” American economic blockadeDoesn’t explain everything, but the sanctions regime is another negative element, in this case exogenous, with which the Cuban population has to deal.“.

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Angered by the economic crisis, which exacerbated food and medicine shortages and forced the government to cut power for several hours a day, thousands of Cubans spontaneously took to the streets in dozens of cities across the country on Sunday, chanting “we are hungry”. ”, “Freedom” and “Down with Dictatorship”.

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This is an unprecedented mobilization in Cuba where the only authorized meetings are usually those of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC, Single Party), with security forces making dozens of arrests and engaging in clashes with protesters.

As of now, officials have yet to officially release the number of arrests, but a tentative list has been prepared by local activists. which already has 65 names in Havana alone. Among the captives are famous figures such as the artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcantara, the liberal dissident Manuel Cuesta Morsa or the playwright Unior García Aguilera.

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel on Sunday urged his supporters to take to the streets “ready for battle” in response to protests against the government in different parts of the country. Also commenting on the health situation in the country, the Portuguese minister showed concern and solidarity.

“In terms of dealing with the pandemic, I hope everything is the best in Cuba like any other country in the world,” he said, recalling that the fight against COVID-19 is a challenge for governments around the world. It’s been a big challenge.

“It is a very unequal battle we are all fighting because the virus seems to be moving faster than our response”, so you want to.To all, and therefore to Cuba, the best performance and best success in the fight against the pandemic“, added the minister.

On the other hand, the Portuguese Foreign Minister said that the diplomatic services in South Africa are focused on supporting the Portuguese and once again urged the community to be vigilant, At a time when many violent demonstrations are taking place.

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Augusto Santos Silva told Lusa, “I hope that the events currently plaguing South Africa will end as soon as possible, confident that normality will return.

On the country’s streets, thousands of South Africans looted shops, attacked public equipment and ransacked the streets, protesting the economic crisis and demanding the release of former President Jacob Zuma, who was ordered last week by a Constitutional Court. was arrested for disobeying. court in the country.

“I took great note of the calls for peace and respect for the decisions of the South African courts that President [Ramaphosa] It has been done and done consistently”, said the head of Portuguese diplomacy. South Africa has about 450,000 Portuguese and Portuguese descendants and Santos Silva acknowledged that the consular services are focused on supporting the community. “As everyone will understand, my priority , my concern, It is with the position of the Portuguese“, said. “Unfortunately, we already have a cry of loss in the goods, […] But fortunately at the time I am speaking, there is no news that the physical security of the Portuguese was in danger”, the government official said.

The Minister confirmed the appeal by the Secretary of State for Portuguese Communities, Berta Nunes, calling for “the utmost caution and the utmost discretion” on the part of compatriots in times of social crisis in the country. “Our embassies and all our consulates in South Africa have been mobilized to closely monitor the situation and condition of our compatriots and to provide them with all possible assistance,” Santos Silva said.

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At least 72 people were killed and around 2,400 people were detained in the violent riots.Looting and intimidation continues for the sixth day in a row in South Africa following the arrest of former head of state and former head of the African National Congress (ANC) Jacob Zuma last Wednesday. police.

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