D Frente Fears that This Year Could be Worse than Last Year for Cubans

La Calzada de Diez de Octubre [10th of October*] Avenue in Havana. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 5 January 2023 – The platform D Frente, made up of activists, intellectuals and opposition groups, sent a message to the Cuban government on Thursday denouncing its responsibility for the visible impoverishment of the Island at the start of 2023.

The message challenged the regime to respond to the “hard reality of the Cubans”, for which they assume that “nothing can be done” to improve the country’s situation. “The next twelve months could be worse than those that have just ended”, says the text.

D Frente explains that the government could take many “political, economical, judicial and social actions” that would improve the conditions of Cuban families in a number of different spheres.

For example, they point to “the liberation of hundreds of men and women prisoners of conscience” and that this involves “human beings, entire families, who are only being punished because of the government’s need for hanging onto power and as a bargaining chip before political negotiations take place with other players”.

This is the first of four fundamental demands that D Frente makes of the government. As well as the “immediate unconditional release of prisoners”, they demand also that they “cease their repression against activists and journalists” and anyone who doesn’t share the Communist Party ideology.

Again, they demand the “end to exile and to measures of political punishment”, a situation framed by the huge exodus of Cuban people which the Island is currently experiencing. Finally, they demand the “recognition of opposition organisations and individuals as having full rights to participate in Cuban society”.

D Frente’s four proposals are, they insist, essential for any future “national reconciliation”. In addition, they assure that they are open to the support of any “democratic governments of the world who might be able to facilitate a process towards a Republic that does not criminalise dissent, recognises political pluralism and advances towards a national reconciliation”.

The collective stands behind its continued aim of making proposals for resolving the crisis on the Island in all its injunctions, and, as they have confirmed on previous occasions, “to re-establish the Republic”.

In December, using the occasion of the Cuban Catholic Bishops’ Conference proposal of a petition, calling for the release of political prisoners, D Frente sent an open letter to Pope Francis asking him to mediate in favour of this cause.

They asked the Pope to exercise his “good office” to appeal to the Island’s authorities, and reminded him how much the prisoners had suffered from the “criminalisation by the Cuban government of the exercising of universally recognised human rights, such as the liberty of expression, of free association and of peaceful protest”.

The organisation held internal elections between 14 and 19 December and Elena Larrinaga and Julio Antonio Fernández Estrada were chosen as presidents of the Assembly by individual members.

The Coordinating Committee remained the same, with Ileana de la Guardia, Frisia Batista, Manuel Cuesta Morúa, Jorge Masetti and Michel Fernández.

*Translator’s note: Cuba’s War of Independence against Spain began on the 10th of October 1868. It is very common in Cuba, and other Latin American countries, to name streets and (for example) other things after dates.

Translated by Ricardo Recluso 


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