14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, San Juan, Puerto Rico, 12 August 2016 — The Cuban 2nd National Conference is meeting this Friday in San Juan, Puerto Rico, under the slogan “United we will be free,” with the presence of nearly a hundred activists from the island and from exile.
The event seeks to “provide a space for reflection and dialogue among the greatest possible number of opposition organizations” to discuss, among other things, the principles of a “New Cuba.” Throughout the meeting, which will run until noon on Monday, there will be a discussion of the creation a structure of unity of action in diversity inside and outside Cuba.
The organizers of the conclave have predicted, at the end of the discussions, there will be proposals of candidates for the elective positions of the resulting structure, and a vote. The members elected by the new organization will inform the plenary regarding the work to be carried out both within Cuba and from the exile.
The meeting has as its antecedent the one held last year, where a nine-member Coordinating Committee was created, with five members from the internal opposition and four from the exile. Their principal mission has been to communicate the contents of the Declaration of San Juan and coordinate the current meeting.
On the eve of the conference and during the first day of work, attendees focused on ironing out differences and finding common ground in order to achieve the democratization of Cuba. Creating a coalition or common front among the opposition is the larger challenge ahead of the participants.
The Cuban 2nd National Conference is taking place at a time of intense debate among Cuban activists on the island, a situation reflected in the departure of at least two of the most representative opposition groups on the island – the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) and the United Anti-totalitario Forum (FANTU) – from the Democratic Action Unity Roundtable (MUAD).
A statement released this week by Boris Gonzalez, MUAD spokesperson, sent a greeting to all the participants in the Second Conference, and wished them “the greatest successes to achieve the democratization of Cuba.” The document recognizes “all efforts in this direction.” This opposition coalition is widely represented in the San Juan meeting.