.- In an urgent press release, the leader of the Christian Liberation Movement (CLM), Oswaldo Paya Sardinas, rejected the election of Raul Castro, brother of Fidel Castro, as the new president of Cuba and insisted that âthe people should decide about who should lead the country and not the Communist party.â
The statement indicated that âdisproportional expectationsâ existed outside of Cuba regarding the election of the new president. Such expectations âdid not exist in the peopleâ of Cuba, he said, âbecause the succession of Fidel Castro does not in itself bring the changes that the people want and need.â
Paya noted that the representatives that make up the National Assembly âwere not elected by the citizens, because the electoral law does not allow the people to choose between various candidates and the ballot only included the same number of candidates as there are representatives. This never was nor will it ever be an election,â the CLM statement said.
The movement criticized Raul Castro for stating that âthere are no antagonistic contradictionsâ in Cuba. âThey do exist, because there is an essential antagonism between this system of no rights on the one hand, and the legitimate rights and interests of the people on the other.â
âThe people of Cuba,â the statement continues, âwant changes that signify freedom, the full exercise of their civil, political economic and social rights, reconciliation, peace and the exercise of sovereignty.â
Paya said the CLM would continue to âpeacefully demand respect for the rights of all Cubans and the release of our brothers and sisters that have been unjustly condemned to prison solely for defending these rights. Our hope is in the people who, in any case, will be the protagonists of their own history,â he said.
Raul Castro was elected this Sunday as the new president of Cuba. In his first discourse as president, he announced several changes but said he would continue consulting with his brother Fidel about decisions âof special transcendenceâ for Cuba. âFidel is irreplaceable and the people will continue his work when he is longer physically with us,â he stated.
The National Assembly also elected Jose Ramon Machado Ventura, 71, as the new vice president. Machado is known for his staunch opposition to any political or economic change.