.- Oswaldo PayÃ¡, leader of the Varela Project, which seeks a referendum to bring about democratic changes in Cuba, announced his support this week for the United Nationsâ condemnation of the U.S.-led embargo against Cuba, but called on the organization to be just as âintenseâ in its demand for the release of political prisoners and for respect for human rights on the island.
A day after the U.N. General Assembly denounced the Cuban embargo by a vote of 179 to 3 in favor, with 2 abstentions, PayÃ¡ released a statement concerning a group of political prisoners who are on a hunger strike. Seven dissidents imprisoned in region of HolguÃn have been on a hunger strike since October 18.
In his statement, PayÃ¡, who is also founder of the Christian Liberation Movement, asked the Assembly to also condemn âthe cruelty of the Cuban government.â
âIf the governments represented at the U.N. are truly concerned with the well-being and rights of the Cuban people and are morally consistent, they should demand the government of Cuba stop the cruel and degrading treatment of political prisoners, and release them,â PayÃ¡ said.
Other non-violent opposition leaders, including Vladimiro Roca, also expressed satisfaction with the U.N. voteâwhich has rejected the embargo for 12 consecutive yearsâbut they questioned the triumphalism displayed by Fidel Castroâs government in light of the U.N. statement.
âHow can it be that Cuba demands the UN General Assemblyâs resolutions on the embargo be respected when it refuses to respect the 13 resolutions that this same assemblyâs Human Rights Commission has passed (since 1989),â Roca asked.
Roca also said the UN should condemn the government of Fidel Castro âfor having embargoed all of our rights as citizens.â