Five Cuban Opposition Organizations Break With MUAD and #Otro18

Manuel Cuesta Morúa, leader of the Democratic Action Roundtable. (Wilson Center)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 29 August 2017 — Five opposition organizations have withdrawn from the coalition of more than seventy independent groups that form the Democratic Action Roundatable (MUAD), as well as the #Otro18 (another 2018) campaign, which is demanding a new electoral law in Cuba. The split has become “irreversible” according to comments from the veteran dissident Aida Valdés Santana speaking to 14ymedio.

The Human Rights Platform, which includes the five organizations recently separated from MUAD, issued a document in which the opposition leader, Manuel Cuesta Morúa, is blamed for the rupture. “His ambitions and his excesses of nepotism were the main obstacle to progress in the struggle for freedom and democracy,” the text reads.

The five groups that have decided to withdraw from MUAD are the National Coordinator of Prisoners and Former Political Prisoners, the Pro Arte Libre Association, the Rights of the People Project, the Youth Network and the Cuban Workers’ Coordinator. All of them accuse Cuesta Morúa of “inflexibility” and “pride.”

The split comes a few days before the Cuban electoral process begins

“We are consulting with everyone to redefine their status and define their role in the democratic process, that implies that some organizations that do not want to define a political profile as a dialog in democracy will take another path,” Cuesta Morua told 14ymedio.

The split comes a few days before the Cuban electoral process begins, in which the citizen platform #Otro18 has announced that it will present more than 170 candidates. Cuesta Morúa denounced in a recent press conference that all of them have been “harassed and threatened” by State Security.

The withdrawal of the Human Rights Platform damages the unity of a project that seeks to achieve nominations in municipal elections with a “strict adherence to the electoral law,” as described by its main promoters.

In July 2016, MUAD lost two of its most representative organizations when the Cuban Patriotic Union (UNPACU) and the United Antitotalitarian Front (FANTU) disassociated themselves from the opposition coalition

In July 2016, MUAD lost two of its most representative organizations: Cuban Patriotic Union (UNPACU) and the United Antitotalitarian Front (FANTU)

At that time Cuesta Morúa attributed the rupture to the “lack maturity in coexistence within a single proposal with different visions” and “different concrete strategies for change.”

For Cuesta Morúa, the arrests and threats against both initiatives have intensified in recent weeks and are instigated against independent initiatives that promote a change from “from the law to the law*” through the electoral system.

Formed in August 2015, taking off from the Progressive Arc project and the Democratic Action Roundtable, the #Otro18 initiative will soon have to pass the test of municipal elections, after losing several of the most important organizations that promoted the project.

*Translator’s note: That is working within the existing laws for change.