For Another Cuba: Press Release in Response to Arrest of Activists / For Another Cuba

Our Position: Félix Navarro, José Daniel Ferrer, Librado Linares, Antonio G. Rodiles, Wilfredo Vallín

Havana, August 16, 2012


Yesterday, August 15 of this year, while handing out the Citizen Demand for Another Cuba in a central area of the Marianao neighborhood in Havana, Cuba, three citizens were arrested and taken to the 6th Station of the National Revolutionary Police (PNR).

On receiving news of this arrest, we the undersigned presented ourselves at the Station to learn the details of the case and whether there were any charges against those detained. After having spoken with the people who appeared responsible, it seemed critical to us that we make the following statement to establish, for the future, our position with regards to this complex problem.

Our response is based on the Constitutional provision established in Article 63:

“Every citizen has the right to direct complaints and petitions to the authorities and to receive the appropriate attention or responses, in a reasonable time, in accordance with the law.”

Protected by this provision in the nation’s Constitution, we went to the National Assembly of People’s Power and delivered this document in order, first and foremost, to inform the government of the country about it, so that it cannot, now, suggest that we are acting behind its back, nor without its knowledge.

If what is said in Article 63 is, in fact, true and is honored in today’s Cuba, then we are acting in accordance with the Law, a right that must be respected by the military authorities as well.

By arresting and beating citizens who call for the ratification of the United Nations Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, these authorities are not only violating a right recognized by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and by the Constitutional Law governing its own citizens, but also appear to be ignoring that the government itself signed these documents on behalf of the people of Cuba, on February 28, 2008 in New York City.

Signing Human Rights Covenants is a Sovereign Act
, is the title that headlined an article in the newspaper Juventud Rebelde (Rebel Youth) on that date. But at the same time, Article 3 of our Constitution reads:

“In the Republic of Cuba sovereignty resides in the people, from who originates all the power of the State. This power is exercised directly…”

Our real and only intention is to allow the people of Cuba to truly, peacefully, and in a civilized manner, express their opinions about a problem as vital as their present way of life, their hopelessness about the future, and their ability to suggest real paths of change that would improve their precarious existence.

In contrast, the position of the authorities has been to create a climate of conflict with civil society, to provoke altercations in the public order with its acts of repudiation, its beating of opponents, men and women, including the Ladies in White, and ultimately its insinuation that the intention of the dissidence is to “provoke situations that encourage a military intervention in the country.”

While buildings collapse on the bodies of our compatriots, to simply dust them off a little with no visible prospects of a solution, and this after decades of other equally difficult problems, to remain silent in complicity after 54 years of setbacks, is a civic and moral cowardice that many of us are no longer able to bear.

We Cubans who call on the rest of our compatriots will act responsibly, without questioning or resisting the actions of the police or State Security, at least in the public street, even when a disproportionate operation using unjustified violence is exercised shortly after the latest one, as documented during the funeral of the known opponent, Payá Sardiñas.

If there are violations of the law they are not committed by us, but by the repressors who think that they can resolve all the problems of Cuba, without paying any attention to recent historic experience, with contempt for the citizens expressed in arrogance and brute force. This could lead ALL OF US down a path with no return.

In addition, we are informing our brothers within and outside of Cuba, as well as the international community, about what is happening here in order to establish responsibility for what might happen in the future.

The Cuban Nation, fortunately, has had its illustrious sons and great patricians. One of them left us with this: “To beg for rights is the domain of cowards incapable of exercising them.” Another great among the greats, closer in time, told us, “I do not seek danger, but neither do I run from it. I simply try to do my duty.”

Standing on these principles, we will reclaim our rights and we will do our duty.

Félix Navarro, José Daniel Ferrer, Librado Linares, Antonio G. Rodiles, Wilfredo Vallín

With copies to:
– All the activists of the Campaign
– The National Assembly of People’s Power
– Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations

16 August 2012