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Cuban Dissidents Seek Peaceful Solution
Friday, March 11, 2005   By: Juan Paxety

I wrote earlier about Cuban dissidents and exiles jointly seeking peaceful dialog to bring democracy to the country. Thanks to Val, here's a message from some of them:

Cuba today is dominated by a communist regime similar to those that once spread through Eastern Europe. For more than 46 years, power has been exercised by the same man; only one party exists; dissent over official policies is forbidden.

Amnesty International has declared Cuba the country with the largest number of prisoners of conscience in the world. When it comes to economics, the people are mired in poverty; the average monthly wage is less than $10. In sum, all human rights are violated.

Surrounded by this situation, several hundred small independent (not legalized) organizations have decided to join together, form the Assembly for the Advancement of Civil Society and gather peacefully in Havana on May 20 to debate ways to democratize Cuba.

It is easy to understand that, in these circumstances and facing the power of the totalitarian state, our project needs the support and encouragement of the greatest possible number of men and women of good will in the world.

To that end, we respectfully invite you to write and give us your valuable opinions and, if you wish, express your support for our peaceful efforts.

We hope to answer each and every one of you, with much appreciation and recognition.

You may write to us at the following electronic address: [email protected]



former political prisoners, Havana, Cuba

Update - Here's more on the story from today's Miami Herald (registration required). The article points out that not all exiles agree with traveling to Cuba.

The Cuban Liberty Council said that it rejects the idea of traveling to Cuba for any reason while Castro remains in power. CLC Executive Director Luis Zuñiga said that the council is giving ''economic support'' for the assembly but declined to provide details.

I'm not sure this is a valid argument any longer.  After all, we have the Governor of Louisiana joyfully announcing a new trade deal with Cuba of more than $15-million. What "economic support" can a few individuals give fidel compared to the Louisiana deal?


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