There are no free elections without free people, free citizens, free men and free women
There are no free elections without free people, free citizens, free men
and free women / Oswaldo Paya
Oswaldo Paya, Translator: Cleonte
We are on the eve of new elections in Cuba. And I am reminded that the
first law issued in Sierra Maestra during the anti-Batista insurrection
before the elections scheduled in 1958, was a death penalty law. It was
designed to punish with death those who took part in the elections. It
also punished those who voted because the elections were corrupt. The
Christian Liberation Movement (MCL) and the opposition do not kill
people, nor sabotage, nor exclude, everyone knows it. Our motto is
Freedom and Life. We do not want power for ourselves; we want peace and
civil rights for all, because where there are no rights there is no justice.
We seek only power for the people, popular sovereignty, as did Martin
Luther King, remember? Power to the people! …
We denounce institutionalized corruption. The one that has the power
declares us enemies and does not compete with the opposition but the
sentences, stigmatized and annihilates it.
In 1954 there was a campaign in Cuba that promoted amnesty, the
promoters were those who claimed there is no such thing as free
elections while there are political prisoners. The current regime does
not recognize or respect the right of individuals, Cubans, and the
opposition to defend political differences. The difference between
government and opposition in Cuba is much different from any that exists
in a democracy. The contradiction between the opposition and the
government in Cuba is based precisely on the lack of democracy respect
towards the political rights of citizens, it is more than a
contradiction, it is an antagonism between the people and the
totalitarian system. We do not antagonize the people that govern and
those identify themselves for some reason with the government, we do not
call other "worms" or treat anyone with hatred, but we do claim that
neither they nor we, nor anyone in Cuba is free under this system.
Will they claim that the Communist Party and other areas of the
government are not preparing the candidates and ensuring they only they
are represented by the delegates in each district? Tell that to the
protagonists of these pre-election conspiracies.
In 1992, when Aldana (before Robaina, Lage and Perez Roque) said that
the opposition could compete in the elections, I said I would. What did
they do? The police came to my house and took me to the local Committee
for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR) in Zaragoza and Carmen on the
neighborhood of Cerro, there was a circus prepared with a tribunal
chaired by one of the Communist party local leaders, the same one who
had assaulted and looted my house on July 11, 1991 and who died in the
United States (he received his visa to meet with their children in the
US, something that the Cuban government has denied my family for years,
but that's a different topic…). State Security participated in this
circus. There were many uniformed officers, and a lady told me that if I
was a Christian and did not want see blood run I should not to disturb
the assemblies by submitting my application for candidacy. That was
intimidation against citizens so that they would know what it meant to
support me. The message reached everyone; nevertheless, the day of the
assembly they placed agents in the neighborhood, many of whom were
visibly armed, they said they were waiting for Paya to show up.
On July 6, 2006 they prepared a similar operation, during which they
wrote on a wall a few feet from my house: "In a besieged plaza,
dissenting is treason" Who did they want to intimidate, me? As a human
being I have felt fear, but ir does no dominate me. I am still a
dissident although I have never been part of the oppressive regime, but
I identify myself with that term proudly because my family has always
defended democracy. Dissent is a right and the Cuban government
categorizes it as treason, as does Chavez back in Venezuela. This is a
permanent violation of civil liberties. There are no free elections in
such an environment, and with such laws.
If there is no legal recognition of the right to exist, participate in
politics, dissent and work without persecution there are no elections,
no pluralism. We denounce that the people cannot decide, we do not make
laws like the ones they made before 1958. The people are not free and it
does not make any sense for them to participate in elections that are
only a contradiction to democracy. I think it's a way to delay and
divert the real change that Cuba wants and needs. The lack of freedom of
association, expression and free elections are the barriers to political
participation from the people. If Cubans do politics, they become
victims of political exclusion and other injustices.
The peaceful, logical and fair solution that can lead to changes and
genuine dialogue is to recognize those rights. Enough with reactionary
justifications that say the people are not ready do not want change, do
you think fifty-four years without freedom and rights are not enough?
Others say that people do not want rights, what an insult! Others may
say that many Cubans want this government. I don't think so, but in any
case no Cuban can decide what they want in this environment, with these
laws and with this system Cubans cannot chose who they want to govern
them, which system to have. We demand rights for all, without hatred or
offense, with justice; everyone knows that not even the People's
National Assembly can decide freely, they also receive orders. This will
change only when they are elected by the people, only then they will
obey the people.
That is our demand, we keep calling all Cubans, no matter how they think
or what background they come from, to be part of the solution and
changes, this can only be done by the people. Why say no to our rights?
Why the elitism? Philosophies and theologies? What oppresses us is fear,
intolerance and the determination of a group to remain in absolute
power. Abandon the simulation! Take the path of the people which is the
path of democracy.
On behalf of the Christian Liberation Movement.
Oswaldo J. Paya Sardinas
July 20, 2012
Note: Only two days later, on July 22 the National Coordinator of our
Movement, Oswaldo Paya, tragically died with our brother Harold Cepero
in suspicious circumstances not yet clarified. We issue this message,
due to its relevance to current events in Cuba and in memorium to them.
Through this article we show that his example and legacy remain alive in
each of us, and it continues to lead the Cuban people across the way of
the people and the conquest of their rights, a people and path so
greatly loved by Harold and Oswaldo.
Board of coordinators of the Christian Liberation Movement.
October 17, 2012
Ofelia Acevedo Maura Narviel Hernández Moya
Juan Felipe Medina Eduardo Cardet Concepción
Ernesto Martini Fonseca Andrés Adolis Chacón Aroche