It is time to stand together against coronavirus infection, repression and poverty.

Today, while we believe that we are still on time, we have the responsibility to alert and try to protect our people in the face of a crisis that can potentially turn into a national tragedy of unmanageable proportions.

Before the international community, we denounce the intensification of the repression by the authorities of the dictatorship and the subsequent increase in the risk of COVID-19 contagion for the citizens that this practice entails. We are alerting people to the danger to the life and security of our people due to the shortages and the absence of sanitary conditions in public places, including hospitals and detention centers, due to inaction, corruption and negligence of those who hold power in Cuba.

In recent days, as the number of people infected with and have suffered death from the novel coronavirus increases in Cuba, the Castro-communist regime increases repressive actions against peaceful opponents, political prisoners, human rights defenders, independent journalists and anyone who exposes the alarming reality that is occurring in the midst of the shortage and the crisis surrounding COVID-19.

Repression increases every hour. Many activists and non-affiliated citizens have been detained, threatened, stripped of their cell phones and even physically assaulted and taken to prison by the authorities for taking a photo or posting on social media. The dictatorship uses article 68 of Decree-Law 370, which considers it an offense to spread, through public networks, information contrary to "social interest, morality, good customs and integrity of people.”

Throughout the country, the already chronic shortage of food and basic necessities is aggravated, while the dictatorship persecutes and imposes prohibitions on self-employed workers. Cubans must stand in long lines that eventually become massive crowds in order to acquire what little the state markets offer, making it practically impossible to carry out elementary measures to avoid contagion. Public transport is paralyzed, most have to travel miles on foot looking for essential items to survive. As the days pass, the situation grows seemingly worse.

As life becomes increasingly difficult, the regime controls all the mass media, publishing lies and propaganda to generate a false and dangerous sense of security among Cubans, while manipulating and exaggerating the news about the problems faced by other nations whose governments criticize Castroism.

What is especially distressing are the conditions in which political prisoners find themselves and the actions against them at a time when their lives are in the greatest danger. Today they are suffering from confinement in solitary confinement punishment cells, they are being transferred to prisons distant from their relatives, there exists arbitrary confiscation of food and toiletries, and suspension of phone calls, all while the regime hinders aid from exile. To all this, we must add overcrowding, poor hygiene and food and the deficiencies of medical care.

Considering the above, we demand the immediate release of the more than eight-thousand innocents who, without having committed a crime, are convicted of “Pre-criminal Dangerousness” and the release of all political prisoners. Given the aggravation of the COVID-19 pandemic and the absence of sanitary conditions in prisons, urgent release is what is "just and necessary", as requested by the Secretary General of the OAS, Luis Almagro.

Cuba needs help and we want to take initiative and request it today from the international community. It is urgent that independent civil society and all Cubans of good will, immediately take the necessary steps to create mechanisms and implement measures to combat the coronavirus, curb the growing repression of the dictatorship and alleviate the difficulties and widespread misery. We call for the unity of the Cuban democratic movement, on the island and the diaspora, and we ask for the support of international solidarity, to overcome the crisis that Cuba is going through.

We invite all citizens and organizations on the island and exile to join this call to action.

Firmas: 3655
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