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    Rosa Maria Paya For the Future of All Cubans Without Castro

    Rosa Maria Paya For the Future of All Cubans Without Castro
    Posted on March 7, 2015

    In recent years my country has been engaged in a deception. The Cuban
    government is changing the Law, but ignoring the rights of the people,
    which were sequestered over half a century ago.

    More people are allowed to enter and leave the country, but the regime
    decides who can enjoy this “privilege”. The migratory reform was
    established as a control mechanism. For example, the government has
    invalidated the passport of the artist Tania Bruguera for attempting a
    performance in Havana. Sonia Garro, a member of the Ladies in White, and
    one of the political prisoners released during the Washington-Havana
    secret deal, cannot travel abroad and thus she is still a hostage of the
    government, as Alan Gross was for 5 years. The same applies to the
    former prisoners of the Cause of the 75 from the spring of 2003.

    The Cuban government has permitted more people to operate small
    businesses, but due to the Cuban laws, entrepreneurs cannot be a factor
    to foster democracy because their existence as “private” owners depends
    on their submission to the government. There cannot be free markets
    where there are no free persons.

    The Cuban government said it would free 53 political prisoners, but
    instead it released them on parole. Meanwhile, many others were not
    freed at all. Yosvani Melchor was transferred to a maximum security
    prison last December. He was put in prison 4 years ago for being the son
    of a member of the Christian Liberation Movement, who refused to
    cooperate with State Security. The young artist Danilo Maldonado, known
    as El Sexto, was imprisoned after December 17 without committing any
    crime. The regime turns political prisoners into pieces to be exchanged,
    because they can catch-and-release at will more political prisoners, and
    democratic nations accept this blackmail with innocent citizens.

    As my father did, four months before he was killed, I denounce the
    regime’s attempt to impose a fraudulent change, and I denounce the
    interests that hamper a real transition and the recovery of our
    sovereignty. My father also denounced the attempt to link groups of
    exiles to this fraudulent change. He said, “The diaspora is the diaspora
    because they are Cuban exiles to whom the regime denied all rights, as
    they do to all Cubans. In such a context of oppression, without rights
    and without transparency, the insertion of the diaspora would only be
    part of the fraudulent changes.” As the engagement would be fraudulent,
    if the United States were to accept the rule of the Cuban government. We
    have never asked our people to be isolated or embargoed, but engagement
    will only be real if it occurs between free peoples.

    We urge you to truly open up to Cuba, but to advance a helping hand is
    essential the solidarity with the Cuban citizenry. It is essential to
    support the peaceful and legal changes that thousands of Cubans have
    presented to their fellow citizens and to the Cuban Parliament, an
    alternative that allows our people to decide their own future.

    There is no respect for the self-determination of the Cuban people when
    negotiations are a secret pact between elites, or when there is no
    mention that the Cubans can participate or be represented in their own

    I know that the US Congress and the Administration will do what you
    think is best for this country, which has served as refuge for nearly
    20% of our population. But only a real transition to democracy in Cuba
    can guarantee stability for the hemisphere. We the Cubans are not
    Chinese, we are not Vietnamese, and we definitely won’t accept a
    Putin-like model towards despotism.

    The strategy to prevent a mass exodus from Cuba is not by saving the
    interests of the group now in control, this is an unstable equilibrium
    that could end in more social chaos and violence. In fact, this country
    is already facing a Cuban migratory crisis, despite the record numbers
    of US visas granted. More than 6,500 Cubans arrived in the United States
    via the Mexican border since last October, and more than 17,000 did so
    in the previous year. With or without the Cuban Adjustment Act, this
    situation will get worse because of the attempts of those in power in
    Cuba for self-preservation of the status quo.

    We Cubans want real changes, to design the prosperous country that we
    deserve and can build. The only violence here comes from the Cuban
    military against Cubans, that’s why the solution is a peaceful
    transition, not an appeasement.

    The way that you can promote stability in the region is through
    supporting strategies that engage the popular will, to reach the end of
    totalitarianism with dignity for everyone. You have the opportunity to
    support the petition for a constitutional plebiscite in favor of
    multi-party and free elections, already signed by thousands of citizens
    in the Varela Project, as is allowed for the Cuban constitution. There
    is an active campaign by Cubans from all over the globe, asking for
    rights for all Cubans and the Plebiscite, which is a first vote for the
    long-lasting changes that Cuba needs.

    On 22 July 2012, Cuban State Security detained the car in which my
    father, Oswaldo Payá, and my friend Harold Cepero, along with two young
    European politicians, were traveling. All of them survived, but my
    father disappeared for hours only to reappear dead, in the hospital in
    which Harold would die without medical attention.

    The Cuban government wouldn’t have dared to carry out its death threats
    against my father if the US government and the democratic world had been
    showing solidarity. If you turn your face, impunity rages. While you
    slept, the regime was conceiving their cleansing of the pro-democracy
    leaders to come. While you sleep, a second generation of dictators is
    planning with impunity their next crimes.

    That is why we hope that this Congress demands that the petition for an
    independent investigation, regarding the attack against Oswaldo Paya and
    Harold Cepero, be included in the negotiations with the Cuban
    government, and that we hear publicly what response is given to this
    point. Knowing the whole truth is essential in any transition process,
    and to tolerate impunity is to endanger the lives of all Cubans wherever
    we live.

    Don’t turn your backs on Cubans again; don’t earn the distrust of the
    new actors of our inevitably free future, in exchange for complicity
    with a gerontocracy who belongs to the Cold War era.

    I want to conclude with the words my father wrote to President Obama 5
    years ago:

    “Your government must move forward and extend a hand to the people and
    government of Cuba, but with the request that the hands of Cuban
    citizens not be tied. Otherwise, the opening will only be for the Cuban
    government, and will be another episode of an international spectacle
    full of hypocrisy. A spectacle that reinforces oppression, and plunges
    the Cuban people deeper into the lie and total defenselessness,
    seriously damaging the desire of Cubans for the inevitable changes to be
    achieved peacefully. The pursuit of friendship between the United States
    of America and Cuba is inseparable from the pursuit of liberty. We want
    to be free and be friends.”

    God bless and protect our peoples.

    Thank you.

    Rosa María Payá Acevedo

    3 February 2015

    Original in English

    Source: Rosa Maria Paya For the Future of All Cubans Without Castro |
    Translating Cuba –