Monday, October 17, 2011


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A dozen Cuban dissidents launched a “reaffirmation of unity” declaration on Tuesday designed “to motivate the population to join in a peaceful fight against the regime.”
 “We seek to reaffirm that we are united in our purposes and that we intend to unite also in nationwide action,” said former political prisoner José Daniel Ferrer García in a telephone interview from Havana.
 “We will now have new meetings to decide on new tactics to motivate the population to join in a peaceful fight against the government,” Ferrer García added after a news conference in the Cuban capital.
 The “Declaration of Unity” was signed, among others, by Ferrer, Oscar Elías Biscet, Guido Sigler and Librado Linares, all political prisoners released this year after seven years in jail, and Guillermo Fariñas, winner of the 2010 European Parliament’s Sakharov Award.
 The dissidents appealed to the opposition to unite around key points such as a peaceful fight, respect of human rights, changes toward democracy, a new judicial system and “the unity” of Cubans regardless of their place of residence.
 They also proposed a “modern, developed and highly efficient” economy that would abandon the Soviet model of central planning that still prevails on the island.
 Biscet said during the press conference that the declaration project was designed to “appeal” to the Cuban people and obtain their support for the changes toward democracy, according to reports by foreign journalists who were at the conference.
 The dissident doctor added that, though all groups and projects are valid, “the important point now is to try to establish a unity among the majority,” according to press reports.
 “What is necessary is that we all sit down someday over these projects to merge ideas and have at least a unique institution, or two or three, but not 500 groups like they have now,” Biscet said at the news conference.
 Fariñas added that the document “tries to be unitary, not imposing. It’s open to modifications” by contributions from other dissidents and from the population.
 Also at the conference were dissidents René Gómez Manzano, Angel Polanco and wife, and Dania Virgen García, according to Ferrer. Human-rights activist Elizardo Sánchez and dissident Héctor Palacios wanted to be part of the conference but could not attend for different reasons.
 Ferrer García said that all opposition leaders were invited to sign the document and take part in the conference, but many could not make it due to the high level of security the government enforces these days.
Absent from the conference were well-known dissidents like Oswaldo Payá, Martha Beatriz Roque and Vladimiro Roca.

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