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Christian dissident denounces elections in Cuba as illegitimate
Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya Sardinas
Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya Sardinas

.- The president of the Christian Liberation Movement, Oswaldo Paya Sardinas, has issued a statement denouncing Sunday’s elections to the Popular Assembly as illegitimate and insisting on the need for changes to the Cuban electoral system to make it authentically democratic.

“For many years we have called for changes in the laws to ensure greater respect for the rights of citizens.  We have especially insisted on a new electoral law, because it is fundamental for people’s exercise of their sovereignty,” Paya said in his statement.

He said the electoral process in Cuba is flawed from the outset because only official government bodies can nominate candidates. “Those who can be elected are not average Cuban citizens but rather only those designated by these Candidacy Commissions,” Paya said.

He called the Cuban electoral process a “joke” and a “violation of the Constitution.”  “Politically speaking it is a grave violation of popular sovereignty, and in terms of ethics it harms the dignity of persons and right of our people to define their lives and their future,” he added.

Regarding yesterday’s elections, the Christian Liberation Movement leader pointed out that “never before has such an intense, disproportionate and at the same time disloyal campaign been carried out.  All of the media paid for by the people has been used to promote a vote that is definitely not an election.  It has truly been ‘marketing’ with artists, athletes and a parade of everything considered to be popular in order to influence the elections,” Paya said.

The Christian Liberation Movement has sent a proposal to the government “supported by more than 25,000 voters” calling for a referendum and new election laws, “which will allow citizens to nominate and elect their congressmen and other representatives at all levels.” 

“We do not have the authority or the intention of telling any Cuban whether to vote or how to vote, but we do have the responsibility and the mission to call on Cubans to act freely, that is, moved by their own consciences, out of honor, out of love of country, of freedom, of neighbor and of the dignity of their children, without fear.  That is liberation,” Paya said in conclusion.

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