Sunday, May 18, 2008

Renowned dissident calls on international community to push for real change in Cuba

Havana, May 16, 2008 (CNA)

The coordinator of the Christian Liberation Movement in Cuba, Oswaldo Paya, has sent a letter to the Brussels Conference—organized by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and the Schumann Foundation—calling on the international community to support initiatives that will lead to democratic change in Cuba. In his message, Paya denounced the Cuban government, whose spokesmen continue to use “the same insulting, falsifying and threatening language” in referring to those who are seeking change on the island. “Its repressive bodies continue to harass civic activists and, with all the resources of totalitarianism, denying the fundamental rights to all Cubans,” he said, calling attention as well to the inhumane conditions suffered by political and common prisoners in the country.

While this situation of oppression remains others dedicate themselves to offer an amplified and forced image of opening, creating an entire virtual world of change which the government itself has yet to announce,” he went on. “No one wishes more for real change than the Cuban people themselves,” Paya said. “No one works in a more transparent and peaceful way for this change than the fighters for human rights. It is not our spirit to deny the value of what may be positive but to deem some measures and maneuvers as real change is to close the doors of the future on our people and condemn them to live without rights—burying them in lies.”

“Christian Democracy is not ambiguous,” Paya said, “in fact, it takes it cues from above; in human people themselves, the sons of God. Those ideas, those values and those goals can be summarized in a single irreducible category: liberation. That option for you neighbor, for his liberation, has been the inspiration of our peaceful struggle inside of Cuba.”

“Our disposition to dialogue is authentic but until now the government has responded with fatal arrogance of someone who believes in having all the power and to whom charity is being asked of,” he said. “Cubans have the right to have their voice heard at the polls, to have recognized in the laws and in practice their rights. This road began with the Varela Project, that legal and citizen reclamation continues today and will do so until it reaches its goals,” Paya explained.
“Some say that we must wait until the next presidency of the United States to see changes in the policy towards Cuba and believe that this is how changes will be produced in Cuba,” he continued. “We do not have to wait for changes outside of Cuba to change what we have to change ourselves. That is our challenge and obligation.”

“We have the right to rights because we are human beings, but only ourselves, only Cubans, can and must achieve the peaceful changes that we wish to enjoy. Many of our brothers are in prison solely for defending these rights peacefully. But that is not only an internal matter, which is why these rights are universal and to deny them to one person is to injure all of humanity, of which we all are family,” Paya insisted.

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