The National General Strike is an important initiative sponsored by theOrlando Zapata TamayoNational Front for Civic Resistance and Disobedience. As its name indicates, this initiative seeks a partial paralysis of the entire national infrastructure through strong and systematic actions by the forces of internal resistance. In its first and second stages the General Strike is part of a continuing campaign of non-cooperation. This strike can be successful only after a real and resolute decision by a significant number of citizens to deny responsibility for, or to cooperate with, the oppressive regime.
It must be made clear that, although the National Front is calling for and sponsoring this crucial campaign, it can only be viable with the participation of each and every constituency for change, whether it be the National Front, political parties, movements, regional coalitions—in other words the energetic forces of Cuban resistance, which are the primary vehicle of democratic change.
The campaign for the National General Strike will use only peaceful means so that no constituencies which take part can in any way confuse the strike with economic sabotage, or the destruction of or attacks on state or private property.
It is the policy of the General Strike to be dissuasive and persuasive, acknowledging that, to succeed, we must work patiently, motivated by great faith and certainty. The only true potential for change comes from citizens who support us, as well as those who simply look upon us with indifference, fear or admiration for what we are doing. This includes those we see walking beside us, in line behind us, from a private office, and even those attacking us in so-called acts of repudiation. All can unite with us and contribute to the great day of the General Strike.
The campaign for a General Strike can, in a powerful way, also help to do away with the worrying fear of change that persists in many areas of society, especially among those who are ill-informed and those most compromised by the current regime.
The concept must be clearly understood, both by the promoters of the General Strike as well as by those who hear its message. The purpose of the strike is not to destroy, obstruct or cause damage to anyone or anything. Its intention is to peacefully boycott the means of production that confer profits on those who misgovern the millions of Cubans who are hungry, oppressed, and without liberty or the right to protest.
The Strike is a decision and commitment by everyone, or by a great and significant majority of Cubans, to say, “Enough!” The strategy of the General Strike is in accordance with basic, universally recognized rights and freedoms, which—together with the peaceful tactics it employs—gives it legitimacy and puts it in harmony with human dignity itself, something of primary importance.
Though a recent idea,one born that was born in Cuba, the strategy of the General Strike Campaign is based on innumerable precedents and inspired by similar actions around the globe. These have been successful in spite of a number of differing circumstances, such as culture and language.
The change which the General Strike seeks is viable under any circumstance in the struggle against the oppressive and totalitarian system.
The first phase of the campaign is outlined below:
To effect a total or partial strike before doing the necessary preparation or raising public awareness is so unlikely as to be almost impossible—even more so in a country like ours in which repression affects everyone and is everywhere, where a sinister and comprehensive system of repression controls, spies on, and penalizes the slightest and most moderate expression of discontent or dissent. It is unthinkable and impossible to bring the country to a total or partial standstill when little or next to nothing has been done domestically to systematically provide information to the average Cuban, who is misinformed and bombarded by the state media monopoly.
Therefore, theOrlando Zapata Tamayo Front forCivic Resistance proposes an introductory phase to develop an intense and on-going public awareness campaign. This program will present the citizenry with mottoes and slogans with social themes, which will initially identify us as being concerned with the needs of the people.
This will help convince Cubans of the nature of their situation, that they have rights, and that these right must be respected. This information blitz will be carried out through visible channels such as text messaging, Twitter accounts, CD’s, flash drives, printed material, as well as through pamphlets, placards and signs posted in visible, public spaces.
We can also solicit support, through broadcasts and other media, from friends who support the Cuban cause. This duration of this initial campaign, to be called “Cubans, Defend Your Rights,” will be open-ended if it is determined that it can—given its importance—be postponed,or rather extended,to other phases of the larger campaign.
This first phase is one of outreach, both internally and externally, to the public, which has the potential to play a leading role in the very necessary and essential change. It will be launched in light of the hard reality that most Cubans lack access to the internet, satellite television or cable.
Regrettably, outside of Cuba a not insignificant number of people are able to analyze Cuban reality from the viewpoint of an open society with a free flow of information, one of numerous advantages common in other countries. In Cuban society only the official version can be published, and only when and how the governing elite decide to publish it.
Luis García Pérez Antúnez
Secretary General of the Orlando Zapata Tamayo National Front for Civic Resistance and Civil Disobedience, who will neither be silenced nor will leave Cuba, and who reiterates that his primary objective today is the “National General Strike.”