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Political alignments are valid as long as they do not violate human rights. The representatives of the Cuban dictatorship voted this September 16 to prevent the speech of President Volodímir Zelenski, through a video conference, at the UN General Assembly.

However, 101 countries voted in favor of Ukraine.

In addition to Cuba, Russia, Eritrea, Belarus, Syria, North Korea and Nicaragua opposed Zelensky’s intervention. Seven autocracies or dictatorships with records of human rights violations. Another 19 countries abstained, a less aggressive position than the negative vote, but also a reactionary way of turning their back on the rights of a people invaded by a foreign army.

It is not the first time that the Cuban regime obstructs and violates the human rights of other countries, in its capacity as a full member of the UN Human Rights Council. During the 15 years in which he has been part of the Council, since 2006, he has done so on at least 78 occasions and against 15 countries. A CADAL report dated September 2, 2020 exposes 15 cases of countries with serious human rights violations. The Cuban regime repeatedly voted against analyzing them.

Said report also reviews the times in which Cuba voted against or did not accept resolutions on human rights issues and procedures that the UN is responsible for implementing to protect journalists and civil activists in all countries.

In this way, Cuba allies itself with the governments that most violate human rights and avoids the condemnation and investigation of these violations in the United Nations. That is, the regime has protected North Korea, Sudan, Syria, Iran, Belarus, Myanmar, Georgia, Venezuela, Burundi, Yemen, Nicaragua, Eritrea, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka. He also supported the Russian takeover of Donbass and Crimea in 2014 and now supports the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Generally with its allies – Russia, China, Saudi Arabia and Iran – Cuba always supports these governments and boycotts any resolution in defense of human rights in the UN. At the same time, the Government of the Island avoids being questioned in the Human Rights Council for the systematic violations of human rights that it practices in its domestic policy.

Also, the regime abstains or votes against Human Rights Council resolutions that promote democracy, the rule of law, democratic governance, and the protection of human rights defenders, journalists, artists, and civil rights activists.

Here we count 12 occasions in which Cuba boycotted -voting against or abstaining- the procedures promoted by the UN for the protection of human rights:

-Abstained: Resolution of the Human Rights Council on “The role of good governance in the promotion of human rights”, of March 27, 2008.

-Abstained: Resolution of the Human Rights Council on “Human rights, democracy and the rule of law”, of March 23, 2012.

-Abstained: Resolution of the Human Rights Council on “Human rights, democracy and the rule of law”, of March 26, 2015.

-Abstained: Resolution of the Human Rights Council on “The question of the death penalty”, of October 1, 2015.

-Abstained: Resolution of the Human Rights Council on “Human rights and activities to prevent and eradicate violent extremism”, of October 2, 2015.

-Voted against: Resolution of the Human Rights Council on “Protection of human rights defenders, whether individuals, groups or institutions, who work in the field of economic, social and cultural rights”, of March 24, 2016.

-Voted against: Resolution of the Human Rights Council on “The promotion and protection of human rights in the context of peaceful demonstrations”, of March 24, 2016.

-Voted against: Resolution of the Human Rights Council on “The space of civil society”, of July 1, 2016.

-Abstained: Resolution of the Human Rights Council on “The question of the death penalty”, of September 29, 2017.

-Abstained: Resolution of the Council on reprisals against people who collaborate with the UN and other cross-cutting issues, entitled “Cooperation with the United Nations, its representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights”, of September 29, 2017.

-Abstained: Resolution of the Council on “Civil society space: participation in international and regional organizations”, of July 6, 2018.

-Voted against: Resolution of the Human Rights Council on prevention and civil and political rights, with the title “The contribution of the Human Rights Council to the prevention of human rights violations”, of July 6, 2018.

New investigations are required because the data offered only covers an important part, but they do not exhaust the actions of the Cuban dictatorship in the UN Human Rights Council. Many times the resolutions of this Council do not reveal who votes in favor, who abstains and who votes against. This is an obstacle to research.

In 2022, although Cuba promoted resolutions on the special rapporteurship for food, economic, social and cultural rights, and respect for cultural plurality, the internal legislation of the regime prevents the vindication and denunciation of violations of these rights.

On the other hand, the Cuban regime rejects the system of permanent visits by United Nations rapporteurs, a mechanism to which 128 UN member countries have adhered.

Since 2007, it has only allowed the “directed” visit of three United Nations rapporteurs. In no case has it received the rapporteur on civil and political rights or the rapporteur on the Convention against Torture and cruel and degrading treatment.

But Cuba, along with other notorious human rights violators worldwide, will be in the position of the Human Rights Council until the end of 2023.

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José Martí
José Martí
Nacionalista cubano, poeta, filósofo, ensayista, periodista, traductor, profesor y editor.

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