In response to statement by popular singer Silvio Rodriguez that political transition is taking place in Cuba, the president of the Christian Liberation Movement, Oswaldo Paya, said changes on the island can only be considered to be taking place when there is true respect for human rights.
“Cubans have learned through various media, but not through state-run sources, of the statements by singer and former congressman Silvio Rodriguez in which he speaks of transition as a fact,” Paya said in a statement.
He praised Rodriguez, who is an admirer of the Castro regime, for expressing his desire to see Cubans be allowed to stay in hotels and to enter and leave the country without having to request permission, but he stressed that many Cubans are serving unjust prison sentences and in inhumane conditions, only for demanding respect for basic rights.”
“We have the obligation to express solidarity with these Cubans and demand these peaceful political prisoners be released. That would be justice and moral consistency,” Paya said.
He added that while there may be different opinions about Cuba’s past, about the current situation and about the future, “What we must all agree upon is that we all have rights.”
Paya emphasized that this was precisely the motive behind a proposal the CLM put before Cuba’s National Assembly in December of 2007, calling for free exit and entry in Cuba “without permission or restrictions” to be “recognized as a right and not a concession.” The proposed law “eliminates all discrimination against Cubans in their own country” and guarantees the right “to make use of hotels and tourist facilities, to live in any part of Cuba, to not be deported or declared illegal for moving from one province to another, to do business and own companies in Cuba, something that is a privilege of foreigners right now,” as well as freedom of information and access to the media.
In that vein, he called on the Cuban media to fulfill its obligation to spread this initiative, as well as the Declaration of Liberty of Cubans, which unabashedly “proclaims that ‘all Cubans have the right to rights because we are human beings’.”