Six Cuban Opposition Organizations Unite to Refound the Republic

The collective maintains that it’s necessary and urgent to recover the republican project. (14ymedio)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 8 September 2022 — Members of the Cuban opposition inside and outside Cuba announced their support for “D Frente,” a group of “coordination of plural Cuban civil and political actors, whose central objective is to achieve the refounding of the Republic, guided by José Martí’s idea of building a country ’with everyone and for the good of all.’” This is how the collective is defined in a message made public this Wednesday on their Facebook page, in which they informed the public about their founding.

The united organizations in this “Front” and their representatives are Luis Rodríguez Pérez, from the Association of Mothers and Relatives of Political Prisoners for Amnesty; Ileana de la Guardia, from the Council for the Democratic Transition in Cuba; Enrique Guzmán Karell, from the Center for Studies on the Rule of Law and Public Policies for the Next Cuba; Yunior García Aguilera, from Archipíelago; Jorge Masetti, of the French Association for Democracy in Cuba; and Yanelys Núñez, of the San Isidro Movement.

D Frente highlights in its statement that it considers “democracy and the rule of law” as “the best way to achieve inclusion, political pluralism, the sovereignty of citizens and the civilized rules of coexistence.”

The document made public yesterday by D Frente establishes in its road map five fundamental ideas: amnesty for political prisoners and the decriminalization of dissent; work for the full recognition of popular sovereignty and the end of the Communist Party as the only leading force of society; the search for the effective rights of free expression, information, press, demonstration and assembly, among others; the promotion of a new electoral law; and the creation of legal, institutional, civic and cultural conditions that favor the convening of a constituent process.

In addition, the Front proposes the holding of a plebiscite “so that the people, in the exercise of popular sovereignty, decide.”

The collective initially established its principles, which include: respect for the full dignity of the individual and human rights; the condemnation of all forms of violence, including that of the State; the promotion of a pluralist dialogue and national reconciliation; the commitment to peaceful actions of social and political activism, resistance and negotiation; respect for all political and ideological creeds, religions and gender identities; respect for national sovereignty, non-interference and rejection of unilateral actions contrary to international law.

The new platform maintains that it’s necessary and urgent to recover the republican project in the face of an authoritarian regime that is apathetic about poverty, exclusion and violence: and for this it has appointed a Provisional Coordinating Committee that will prepare a proposal for statutes, a road map for action and other operational issues. The members are Elena Larrinaga, Manuel Cuesta Morúa, Boris González Arenas and Michel Fernández.

Yunior García Aguilera, one of the signatories on behalf of Archipíelago, tells 14ymedio that the initiative is still in a very preliminary phase and needs work, but that he joined the project because of its comprehensive vision. “What I find interesting is the breadth it has, with a wide range from one side and the other of the [ideological] spectrum, and, above all, because I think that the strategy within it for how to achieve these objectives is a little clearer.”

Aware that democratizing political initiatives have been and are multiple, some even with the same members, García emphasizes that this proposal has “an intent of balance, objectivity and search for realistic strategies to achieve democracy in Cuba. Now we’ll see what happens; it’s better that there are four or five attempts to coordinate than none, but it remains to be seen. We have work to do,” adds the playwright, currently exiled in Madrid.

At the time the manifesto was published, almost 150 people had signed it, including historic opponents of the Regime, members of the San Isidro Movement and 27N (27 November), and a multitude of relatives of the prisoners of ’11J’, the protests of 11 July 2021. Among some of the best known are José Daniel Ferrer, leader of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) and Félix Navarro, both in prison since July 11, 2021. In addition, there are plastic artists such as Julio Llópiz-Casal and Hamlet Lavastida, the emigrant historian Julio Antonio Fernández Estrada, and the economist Elías Amor Bravo, among many others. In a personal capacity, different anonymous people have shown their support from the beginning.

The birth, however, has not been without controversy. Hours after the text was disseminated, Salomé García Bacallao, of the organization Justicia 11J, called for the inclusion of the signatures of four relatives of political prisoners who, in his opinion, had not wanted to appear on the list. D Frente claims to have received the list from the Association of Mothers and Relatives of Political Prisoners for Amnesty. But a Facebook user, the father of a prisoner, says he doesn’t know that group and wants information.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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