The coordinator of the Christian Liberation Movement is renewing his demand that the Cuban government allow the country to transition to democracy peacefully.
Oswaldo Paya warned in a Jan. 1 message that Cuba will otherwise be left hanging between unbridled capitalism and socialist totalitarianism.
Paya’s comments came as the Cuban government announced 500,000 government workers will be laid off in the upcoming year. “The government justifies the layoffs of thousands of workers claiming they are not suitable for the job,” Paya stated. “And our leaders? Have they been suitable? Now they say they did not know how to make socialism work, and yet for half a century they made decisions in the name of the people.”
Data obtained by the EFE news agency clarified that some 146,000 jobs will be eliminated in 2011, and 351,000 government employees will be transitioned into the public sector as part of the economic reforms announced by the Cuban government.
Paya warned against the imposition of “the worst of unbridled capitalism combined with socialist totalitarianism: exploitation, unemployment, abusive prices, poverty for the majority and privileges for the powerful” and the lack of freedom. “Enough of the crucifixion of the Cuban people between two thieves: capitalism and socialism,” he said.
The dissident leader noted that the policies the government is putting forth today “will not solve the problem, because the problem is precisely the Socialist regime.”
He encouraged Cubans at home and abroad to discover their “spiritual capacity to break free” of hatred of every kind.
Paya also demanded that all political prisoners in the country be released and that the Castro government initiate the changes desired by the people. He listed the changes as, “freedom of expression, access to the media for all, the legal creation of civic organizations and political parties, and new election laws” that will guarantee free and democratic elections.
“We will establish a new nation for all Cubans without exception, keeping what is good and humane of what we Cubans have built during all these years and of what we have inherited from the history of Cuba. But now is the time for change, and change means freedom, rights, reconciliation and democracy,” Paya said.
On Tuesday the Cuban government began laying off workers in the sugar, agriculture, construction, health and tourism industries, as part of a reorganization of the government workforce.