Catholic dissident leader in Cuba calls for peace and unity

.- Amidst uncertainty about the health of Fidel Castro and a temporary transferal of power to his brother Raul, the leader of the Christian Liberation Movement, Oswaldo Paya, has called on Cuban authorities, the international community, and peaceful opposition movements to exhibit calm reflection and responsible action in order to foster peace and unity among Cubans - both on the island and throughout the world.

In an official statement, the Catholic dissident leader told Cuban authorities that, “If their pronouncements and actions are oriented toward maintaining an atmosphere of peace and respect for all Cubans, then no institution, organization, or citizen will feel the need to use exclusive or offensive language, in threatening or attacking others.”  

“Such attitudes,” Paya said, “can lead to abuse and violence which is inconsistent with the atmosphere of respect, tolerance, and unity that Cuba needs and which all Cubans deserve by right.”

“Cubans have the right and the need to think and talk about their lives and their future with confidence and serenity - knowing how to listen and showing respect for neighbor and for order,” Paya stated.   He called on the EU, Latin America, Canada, the US, and the rest of the world to contribute “to an atmosphere of peace and serenity among all Cubans and, as much as possible, to understanding and dialogue among Cubans.”

“Any statement or action that seeks to define or determine what should happen in Cuba, anything that is not a call to calm and to peace, could increase tensions, distrust, and misunderstandings among Cubans and that is not what Cuba wants and needs,” Paya added.

Paya went on to warn against confusing “certain voices from the exile” who issue “irresponsible” statements with the voices of the “majority of the Cuban exiles who, while they have a peaceful spirit and also an immense and very just desire for a reencounter with their homeland whenever that is possible, though in an ordered and legal way, now prioritize the need for peace and unity in Cuba.”

Paya, who is also the leader of the Varela Project for a democratic transition on the island nation, likewise called on opposition movements to act with “responsibility and love toward the people of Cuba, above any particular strategies and political positions.”

The statement also addressed the CLM’s official position regarding the Castro regime.  “Our choice and our call is for peace among Cubans, for the sake of serenity, for the sake of respect of all for all and for the life and dignity of each Cuban, for the sake of avoiding confusion and statements and actions that could lead to confrontation among Cubans, for the sake of seeking the good of the people of Cuba.”

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