The reasons behind the position held by the European Union (EU) concerning human rights in Cuba have not changed in the last 16 years. The Cuban Government has not recognized the fundamental rights of Cubans. With the imminent and necessary revision of the current Common Position and the possibility of future pacts with the Cuban governments, the Christian Liberation Movement (MCL) has a duty to remind the EU that the Cuban people will not have the opportunity to participate and freely interact with EU states until Cuban authorities decide to make real internal changes to promote an open society.
The cooperation of the European Union with the Cuban government, without signs of a democratization process in the island, encourages and helps sustain a system that denies freedom and opportunity to its own citizens. Oswaldo Payá denounced this nine years ago with the following words: “The denial of hope.”
Change in Cuba is unavoidable and urgent, but it has not taken place. The response of the Cuban democracy movement to the attempt of fraudulent change” that the regime seeks in order to stay in power and oppress the people can be found in “The People’s Path,” which has been signed by over 70 organizations and 1,200 leaders, activists and citizens inside and outside the island.
This document contains basic claims that members of the opposition articulate through various strategies and styles. The MCL draws attention once again to the danger that lurks, disguised as legal reforms carried out by the Government; none of the which are democratic because they do not guarantee human rights to the people.
To establish a dialogue with a single part of our society, those who silence and oppress the majority of Cubans, is to participate in the exclusions to which the Cuban oligarchy subjects the people. The MCL does not support the isolation of Cuba, nor an external embargo, but it is also important to denounce the isolation that the people are subjected to by the Regime. We understand that the interests of organizations, businesses and citizens of the European Community need to be defended, but we hope that we can fight in parallel for equal rights for Cubans.
Our civil society, which is part of the people, has flourished in a range of initiatives and trends whose primary objective is attaining respect for human rights. More than 25,000 Cubans have legally joined a plebiscite that demands fundamental rights for citizens. We continue demanding and awaiting the government’s response, in the same way that we expect the international community to demand that the Cuban authorities complies with their own laws.
More than 17,000 people inside and outside the island have expressed their concerns, proposals and dreams by joining a National Dialogue to which all were invited. The result of this fraternal dialogue is the Transitional Program, which is not set in stone, but which is a concrete platform to build on in an orderly and peaceful fashion to bring democracy to our country.
The lack of freedom of association, expression, choice and mobility blocks any real and effective participation of the people in the construction of their present and future.
Free elections should be conducted, they must include every political current in our nation. That is the message that Cubans expect the democracies of the world to send to those who are trying to perpetuate the Dictatorship in Cuba. We cannot speak of real change because we Cubans still cannot freely enter and leave the island, we cannot decide what kind of education to give our children, we do not have sovereignty of our private property, many of us are imprisoned for expressing our ideas or proposing our social and political projects; real change will come with our human rights.
The repression and aggressiveness with which the Cuban Government, through the organs of State Security, oppresses those who peacefully oppose, have intensified in recent times. This fact has been sadly demonstrated in the violent – and still unexplained – car crash, which took the life of our general coordinator Oswaldo Payá Sardinas, who was awarded the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 2002, and one of our younger leaders, Harold Cepero Escalante. There has been a complete lack of information about what occurred.
Other examples are the many and frequent death threats that were made to Oswaldo Payá by the political police, the current intimidation of his family and the abuses that members of our movement are subjected to, as well as the constant beatings and arbitrary arrests of many other members of the Cuban democracy movement.
Those who participate and work on the Path of the People and the legal democratic initiatives that we promote, suffer constant harassment. In addition, many independent journalists, bloggers, dissidents and democracy activists across the Island are also harassed and mistreated daily.
We urge the international community, the European Union and its High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security, Catherine Ashton, to work in solidarity with us, to be consistent and coherent with the democratic traditions of their own nations, and to demand a respectful, honest and direct dialogue to promote the interests of all Cubans.
This is only possible if the law and practice guarantee fundamental freedoms, which are not respected today. We hope the European Union will join the Cuban democracy movement in support of the demands expressed in The Path of the People, in our demand for transparency for Cuba, and in the beginning of the real changes that our people want and need.
ALL CUBANS, ALL BROTHERS AND SISTERS, AND NOW OUR FREEDOM!
Christian Liberation Movement
Havana, November 20, 2012