Cuban Civil Society Manifesto
Prominent philosophers of universal history such as Spinoza, Rousseau, and Kant agreed to define Civil Society as a collective body constituted by the individuals of a society, which is positioned outside the limits of the State. The State only makes sense so long as it represents the interests of all its citizens; for this reason, a consensus in Cuban civil society has superior moral force. In any circumstance, it is not civil society that must submit to the State, but the latter to civil society.
Therefore, the undersigned are all well-known for their various Cuban civil society activities at different points in time, past or present, who currently reside inside and outside Cuba, since the Cuban nation extends beyond the Cuban archipelago to any part of the world where there is a Cuban who identifies with the collective aspirations of his compatriots.
The country is facing an alarming situation, which has resulted from governance that is based, on the one hand, on a concentration of business enterprise within the State, a source of inefficiency and corruption of some bureaucratic classes who have dragged down the population for more than six decades to a dire situation.
All the reforms implemented at different times that, as the word indicates, are only changes in form, when what is required is a sustainable economic model that does not depend, in order to survive, on periodic subsidies from external allies.
On the other hand, the systematic coercion of essential rights such as free oral and written expression, as well as artistic creativity, the right to free peaceful association, the right to freedom of movement, in particular the right to be able to leave their own country and return to it, and the right to free economic entrepreneurship of independent citizens, all this exercised by a State whose three main powers, executive, legislative and judicial, are under the absolute control of a partisan elite that no one elected.
We, therefore, declare ourselves in favor of profound and urgent changes that will lead the country out of an unprecedented crisis and avoid a confrontation between Cubans, with tragic consequences.
All convictions and prosecutions of citizens for practicing or defending these and other fundamental rights of human beings must be dismissed, and those who have suffered them, released, in particular all those whose only sin was having publicly expressed their desires and dreams of a better Cuba.
Even those who carried out violent acts only reacted to the brutal repression of which they were victims; therefore, if they deserved to be punished, then, with much more reason, all those pro-government entities that repressed them should have been prosecuted. Public protests are not prevented by applying disproportionate measures of violence and excessive sentences, but rather by taking steps that allow citizens to freely conduct their artistic and productive activities.
Regardless of the pernicious effect that the US embargo may have had on the country’s economy, the excuse of the “imperialist blockade” no longer convinces most citizens who have suffered, in the flesh, the government’s policies which present restrictive barriers to their attempts to satisfy, of their own accord, their pressing needs; these include high taxes, high licensing fees, and extortion by a powerful buyer which forces farmers to sell to it most of their production at a price set by that buyer, and other measures that put the brakes on productive stimuli.
The main blockade, therefore, is not the one imposed by a foreign nation from abroad, but the one imposed, from within, by the governing leadership itself. Lift this and you will see how, in short order, how the resupply of Cuban families will begin.
We must have faith in the Cuban people. When those who are unjustly imprisoned are freed, with the expressed willingness to allow public forums among Cubans–without distinction of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and political and philosophical ideas–to reach a national consensus on the future of our country, no one should fear massive protests, because a miraculous light will have been lit in the collective consciousness that has a name: Hope.
Translated by Silvia Suárez