For an end to the blockade against Cuba!

For an end to the blockade against Cuba!

It is unbearable: while Cuban medical teams support 27 countries in the fight against the coronavirus, the Trump administration continues to tighten its sanctions against Cuba, which are contrary to international law!

We are a group of German academics and cultural professionals working in Cuba, who have for many years now witnessed how the US embargo has increasingly worsened the daily living conditions of the Cuban people. While the international media has praised the country for its successful efforts in fighting the pandemic – most recently also the New York Times – and an international campaign is currently proposing that Cuban medical teams be nominated for the Nobelprize, the United States has put Cuba on a list of “terrorist states” and is hindering the delivery of medicines, materials for vaccine development and medical supplies to the Cuban population. And as if that wasn’t enough, the US government is now trying to bring Cuba to its knees by exerting pressure on countries to renounce Cuban medical missions and by implementing new rules which would make it nearly impossible for Cubans living abroad to send money to their families on the island. As such two of the most important sources of foreign currency still available to Cuba are being curtailed. 

The Cuban people have been suffering for 60 years under the longest blockade in history. The UN and EU, as well as the German government, have long condemned these sanctions as contrary to international law, but without any consequences. On the contrary: German and European banks and companies are submitting themselves to the inhuman US sanctions in order not to endanger their economic interests in the USA. And now, according to press reports, the German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Gerd Müller, also wants to cancel German development aid and cooperation with Cuba – thereby strengthening the US embargo policy.

This all must finally come to an end! Let us help the Cuban people, just as their doctors and scientists are currently helping the world!

Across political party lines, the US blockade against Cuba is causing indignation worldwide. More and more states, institutions and public figures are calling for an immediate end to the embargo, including UN Secretary General António Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, Argentine President Alberto Fernández, Pope Francis, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission Josep Borrell, US church associations, a commission of experts of the UN Human Rights Council, as well as US senators and congressmen from both parties.

We join this global movement and appeal to the German government not to cancel its development cooperation with Cuba and, especially during its upcoming EU Council Presidency in the second half of 2020, to work actively for an end to the illegal blockade policy, to protect European actors in Cuba effectively from US sanctions with the 1996 EU regulation, in order to give all Cubans unrestricted access to economic, scientific and artistic exchange.

First signatories:

Fatih Akın, film director

Benny Adrion, FC St. Pauli, founder “Viva con Agua”

Marius Babias, director of Neuer Berliner Kunstverein

Michael Backmund, journalist and filmmaker

Rolf Becker, actor, labor union ver.di

Nora Bossong, poet and novelist

Wolfgang Bozic, conductor

Roberto Blanco, singer and musician

Thomas Brussig, author and screenplay writer

Noam Chomsky, linguist

Herta Däubler-Gmelin, former Federal Minister of Justice of Germany

Wolfgang Däubler, labor lawyer and professor of law, emeritus of University of Bremen

Jan Delay, musician and singer

Heinz Dieterich Steffan, Soziologe

Hauke Dorsch, anthropologist, University of Mainz

Jürgen Draeger, painter and actor

Klaus Engel, entrepreneur and cultural patron

Jenny Erpenbeck, writer and director

Julia Franck, poet and novelist

Karin Graf, literary agent and festival director

Thomas Hengelbrock, conductor and musicologist 

Bert Hoffmann, political scientist, German Institute for Global and Area Studies

Hannes Jung, senior researcher DESY Hamburg

Gaby Horn, director of Berlin Biennale

Stefan Kaegi, theatre director, Rimini Protokoll

Rainer Klausmann, cameraman

Tobias Kraft, scientist, Academy of Sciences Berlin-Brandenburg

Udo Lindenberg, singer and musician

Peter Lohmeyer, actor

Oliver Lubrich, professor of literary studies, University of Bern

Constanza Macras, choreographer

Jeanine Meerapfel, film director and president of Akademie der Künste, Berlin

Robert Menasse, author and essayist

Guy Montavon, director, Erfurt Theatre

Susan Neiman, philosopher and director of Einsteinforum, Berlin

Claus Offe, sociologist

Frank Otto, entrepreneur and philanthropist

Norman Paech, professor of international law, emeritus of University of Hamburg 

Felix Räuber, singer

Sandra Rebok, anthropologist

Oliver Reese, director, Berliner Ensemble

Werner Ruf, political scientist, emeritus of University of Kassel

Werner Rügemeier, philosopher and publicist

Joachim Sartorius, writer and translator 

Roland Schimmelpfennig, author and screenplay writer

Volker Schlöndorff, film director and producer

Irmin Schmidt, composer

Gregor Schneider, visual artist, Kunstakademie Düsseldorf

Peter Schneider, author and screenplay writer

Ulrich Schreiber, director of internationales literaturfestival berlin

Eberhardt Schultz, Menschenrechtsanwalt

Alice Schwarzer, author and journalist

Hanna Schygulla, actress and singer

Azize Tank, former member of the German Federal Parliament

Michael Thalheimer, opera and theatre director 

Margarethe von Trotta, author and film director

Konstantin Wecker, musician and author 

Wim Wenders, film director

Gerhard Werle, professor of international law, Humboldt University Berlin 

Sarah Willis, horn soloist, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra

Johanna Wokalek, actress

Michael Zeuske, historian, University of Bonn

Jean Ziegler, former UN Special Envoy for the right to food

This petition was initiated by a group of German academics and cultural professionals, who have worked in Cuba for many years:

Andreas Baesler, theatre director 

Ulrike Dorfmüller, linguist

Katrin Hansing, anthropologist

Rainer Schultz, historian

Michael Thoss, cultural mediator

Hans-Peter Weymar, film director