In an article for Cubanet about the historic resolution recently approved by the European Parliament on the repression of the protests last July in Cuba, Cuban lawyer, independent journalist and former prisoner of conscience Roberto Jesús Quiñones mentions two moments that frame the evolution of the International public opinion regarding human rights in Cuba: the time when nobody listened, and today, when the author estimates that the end of impunity has come for Cuba’s fossilized government before the eyes of Europe’s public opinion.

In truth, except for a few honest intellectuals and politicians, nobody listened when thousands of Cuban political prisoners were shot or everyday victims of beatings, bayonets, humiliations, confinement in boarded-up cells or tortured in the immobilizing cells known as “drawers”. But that reality began to be known to the world decades later, after Armando Valladares managed to send out of prison enough “balitas” (bullets) to put together a book: these were letters written on Onion Skin paper in microscopic handwriting, then compressed and sealed with fire in a nylon capsule to be smuggled out of prison, sometimes in a body cavity.

The release of his book “Against all hope” in 1985 resounded for the cause of human rights in Cuba like the hammer blows of reformer Martin Luther when nailing his thesis on the door of the Wittenberg church: the global left suddenly learned that their worshipped and cherished Cuban revolution had been systematically committing crimes against humanity for a quarter of a century. This was a turning point for the history of the Cuban people’s struggle for their rights.

However, 36 more years went by, a relentless human rights movement had to emerge and stay alive on the island, and a technological revolution capable of showing the world the repression of the Castro regime had to occur, so that Europeans could make up their minds and condemn this abusive regime in an unequivocal way, which they have done twice so far this year. Last July, disproving any misrepresentation by the crafty government of Cuba, members of the European Parliament were able to see crowds of people throughout the island demanding freedom in the streets, and then, how these peaceful protesters were brutally beaten, persecuted and detained following orders of the president of the socialist government of Cuba.

“Seeing is believing”, the saying goes: when voting this second resolution not only did the votes of condemnation increase with respect to the forceful one approved in June (from 386 MEPs to 426) but these votes were issued by members of the three main political currents in that chamber, including the Socialists. Among other points, the latter agreed en masse to condemn the repression unleashed after July 11th and to call on the Cuban authorities to listen and respond to the people’s demands for civil and political rights, as well as for freedom and democracy, by setting up an inclusive national dialogue.

Like the previous one, the new resolution of the European Parliament “on the governmental repression of the protests and the citizens in Cuba” presents accurate, updated information on what is happening on the island, which reveals the attention being paid today to independent organizations.

However, those who finished off convincing the MEPs were undoubtedly the thousands of Cubans who came out to the streets to demonstrate against the system on July 11th, in open defiance of one of the most repressive regimes in the world. But not less important was the fact that they also had very much in mind the need to record everything and use the social networks to get it abroad. Such a decision ─considering the previous issuance by the government of several punitive decrees ─ posed an additional risk, but these angry citizen-journalists took it without hesitation.

Neither the members of the European Parliament nor anyone in the world who has seen the hundreds of videos captured about the peaceful demonstrations of July 11th and the subsequent crackdown (an illustrative summary prepared by FHRC can be watched here) can honestly have a doubt that the Cuban people are fed up with their rulers, and that the island is governed by a brutal dictatorship.

Fellow Cuban, if you are no longer alone it is because on July 11th you decided to ignore the censor they’d planted inside you, and to shout your truth in the streets, but also because you captured the cry and the punishment on video and had them exposed on the Web, so that the world could judge by itself.