Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Opposition developments (Updated)

Oswaldo Paya announced the formation of a new group with more than 300 members, the Citizen Committee for Reconciliation and Dialogue, which seeks a national dialogue to address a long series of grievances concerning the lack of political and economic liberties and poor social and economic conditions. The document that announced the initiative (in English and Spanish here, via Uncommon Sense) is vintage Paya: it contains no rancor, proclaims all Cubans to be brothers, rejects the communist definition of the Cuban nation, confides in the value of dialogue, explicitly includes Cubans living abroad and recognizes their place in the Cuban nation. It also rejects foreign interference with a passage that seems to push back against both U.S. policy and Cuba’s alliance with Venezuela:

“It is up to Cubans and only Cubans to define and decide the future of Cuba freely and democratically, as a sovereign and independent country, without interventions, nor foreign interference, from the north, south, east or west.

“This is why we do not accept foreign laws that pretend to decide on the present or design the future of Cuba, or economic dependence, or also political alliances that deny the independence, interests and vocation of peace and liberty of the Cuban people.”

A women’s group called FLAMUR presented petitions to the Cuban National Assembly calling for the end of Cuba’s dual-currency system. The petitions, according to Reuters, carried 10,738 signatures. Photos of the delivery of the petitions appear on Miscelaneas de Cuba, here. The Reuters report noted that phone calls from the group originated from the Radio/TV Marti offices in Miami.

And a student group held a press conference to claim that it has collected 5,000 signatures on a petition calling for the re-establishment of independent and Catholic universities (AP report in English here, Spanish here). If the goal of 10,000 signatures can be reached, this petition too can be presented to the National Assembly under a itizen initiative provision in the Cuban constitution that allows citizens to propose changes in statutes.

These initiatives have a common characteristic that brought lots of criticism to the Varela Project from hard-liners in Cuba and Miami several years ago: they call for dialogue, or they seek to work through the current government to effect change. So far, I haven’t seen any of that criticism in regard to these initiatives.

(Update: At Babalu, an examination of these initiatives, and readers chime in.)

6 comments: said...

Isn't it odd that President Bush does not even recognize Paya? I like Paya the most and openly support him and his Movement.

Maybe he will get some traction with this latest declaration.

Anonymous said...

I like Paya also, even when I do not agree with his political philosophy and his positioning in the spectrum. Cuba needs a Right, and Movimiento Cristiano Liberacion is the kind of movement that could fill that void. He has made mistakes like supporting the short-lived coup against Chavez, That was risky, to say the least. Hopefully he is growing on the bench. He is also a lot Paya and little Movimiento Cristiano Liberacion, but we are still a young country which uses to follow strong leaders.
My perfect Cuban political spectrum is as follows (an snapshot)
Left: Fidelistas, comunistas.
Center: Arco Progresista.
Right: Movimiento Cristiano LiberaciĆ³n.
Wrong: Once more and forever, batistianos in Miami and everywhere.

Anonymous said...

That's right..

the only wrong party in a new Cuba would be the gangsters and rats still living in Miami (i.e. the babalu type).

Anonymous said...

I think PayĆ” is clearly a centrist, not a rightist. Cuba not only needs a Right, it also needs a true Left and a strong Center. Castroites are just that, castroites, they represent no Left or anything else. This message is in response to Omar's.

Mambi_Watch said...

Phil said: "So far, I haven’t seen any of that criticism in regard to these initiatives."

Concerning hard-liners that oppose Paya (they call him a "traitor") or other Cuban dissidents who they believe "don't dissent," there's a reason for the lack of commentary.

They've been dismissed as irrelevant, and cannot be used with hard-line propaganda to paint a negative image of Cuba.

For example, dissident Elizardo Sanchez Santa Cruz, who works for the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, is seen by some in Miami as a double agent (another traitor). No proof necessary, but insinuations and allegations.

When his group released the report documenting a decrease in Cuban political prisoners, Ninoska Perez Castellon was ready to refuse its results on her show.

Ever since, Paya and other dissidents who oppose US policy have gained attention, some of the most extreme hard-liners have found it easier to ignore them, than just waste their time heckling them.

Dissidents, of all positions in Cuba, deserve support, just as dissidents in the US deserve ours here.

Anonymous said...

Regarding anonymous' quote:

"That's right..

the only wrong party in a new Cuba would be the gangsters and rats still living in Miami (i.e. the babalu type)."

Man, you've been watching WAYYYY to many Coppola movies. I suggest you open a book as opposed to staring at a screen. They're called fictional movies.

I swear, the education in this country (USA) has gone straight down the crapper.