Cuban dissident calls on international groups to support peaceful change


The president of the Christian Liberation Movement, Oswaldo Paya, said this week international solidarity with Cuba should be directed toward supporting peaceful changes on the island.

In a letter to countries and organizations that are concerned about the situation in Cuba, the dissident leader and promoter of the Varela Project said the defense of human rights is linked to the promotion of laws that require demand the respect for them. “Cubans certainly desire change and peaceful change and a new life with freedom and peace,” he said.

“For years we have worked for this and we are not going to abandon this path now, as today more than ever that path is the one that can save Cuba from much suffering.”

Referring to political prisoners in Cuba, Paya said their situation is increasingly worse due to the inhumane conditions to which they are subjected, the places in which they are confined, and the constant stress they endure.

He praised the good will that exists outside Cuba for supporting political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, but he said the best way to help them is by not abandoning the cause for which they were imprisoned, “which is to achieve peaceful changes towards democracy and the promotion and defense of human rights.”

Paya said that while some might consider his message to be harsh, he was not trying to criticize, but rather make an urgent call.  “We are not going to influence public opinion, we are not going to convince people about the injustice of this incarceration if the world does not know and understand what these fighters did before they were imprisoned,” Paya said in his letter, recalling that the effort to free Nelson Mandela was successful because it was linked to the publicizing of his struggle against Apartheid.
“The time has come for us to say it in plain language,” Paya continued.  “We all know that the majority of the 75 prisoners and others who remain in prison were incarcerated for promoting the Varela Project.”

Paya said he was not trying to take advantage of the plight of the political prisoners to gain media attention, emphasizing that he would not “be silent about the cause that they and we are defending,” which is that of human rights and democracy.

More information on the Varela Project can be found at: 

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