Thursday, June 17, 2010

Transparency for Cuba by Oswaldo José Payá Sardiñas

"In this way each person, enjoying freedom of expression, ... and enjoying appropriate freedom of association, will be able to cooperate effectively in the pursuit of the common good." -Pope John Paul II

The Cuban government has continued the dialogue with the European Union in which the speaker-designate, is the Spanish government. They have accepted the rules of the Cuban government and the most significant of these rules is: That the highest Spanish functionaries not dialogue with nonviolent Cuban dissidents.

This exclusion is representative of the contradiction between that dialogue and the most legitimate aspirations of the Cubans. That is why this dialogue is not a facilitator of dialogue among Cubans, or of peaceful change, because it denies a voice to those who expressly and directly go to the root of the problem by demanding rights for Cubans. If there are political prisoners in Cuba, it is because the government denies many rights to the Cubans. You can not disconnect those Cubans for the cause of which they were unjustly imprisoned. They, our brothers and comrades in struggle, are in prison for peacefully defending the rights of all Cubans, for that reason they must be released quickly and without conditions.

The government does not respect the people's right to know, it submerges them into anxiety, misinformation and uncertainty about their lives and their own future and do not even commit to its citizens to make changes and respect their rights. It is not the church that has imprisoned the prisoners, but the government. It is not the church that denies rights to Cubans, but the government. But it is also not fair to the people of Cuba, nor the faithful and suffering Church in Cuba, which is part of people, that some pastors accept the unique role of being sole partners of the government here in Cuba, accepting and practicing the condition of exclusion imposed by the government itself. At the moment that Cubans want change with transparency, rights and that what belongs to the people be respected: Freedom. That which God gives and no one can take away.

From the time of the other dictatorships that scourged Cuba and throughout the tortured history of political imprisonment in this dictatorship, many relatives of political and also common prisoners, as Cubans persecuted and excluded have found in the Church support, comfort and humane support in the midst of poverty, the enormous difficulties and the pain. It has been also and especially after the imprisonment of those we call the Prisoners of the Cuba Spring that are a sign of hope of liberation. The church can be persecuted and criticized by anyone, but when they have no where to go to even those who criticize and persecuted as any other, can go to it and touch its doors and find the loving acceptance of nuns, priests, lay people and also their bishops. Much more a church in Cuba that has grown up in poverty and has been affirmed and suffering persecution united in their allegiance to Jesus Christ. We have also learned from the Church, that no one should pretend to be a political actor from the Church because it converts the church into being a political part, when it should be a facilitator of dialogue between all parties. We believe that Cubans should not be spectators of this or any negotiation or dialogue, and should also prepare to be agents of their liberation, the protagonists of their own history as prophesized by Pope John Paul II.

The government neither recognizes us dissidents, nor engages in dialogue with us, because it would have to recognize and respect the rights and freedom of Cubans. In dissent or opposition the movement inside and outside the country peacefully struggles for freedom, reconciliation and human rights in Cuba. The Dissidents, then, is much more than a theme that can be treated by the Government and representatives of the Church without listening to or considering us. We are a group of Cubans who for decades, most of the time as a lone voice in the wilderness of terror and lies, have proclaimed the right of Cubans to their rights and sought peace working for justice. We do not ask for a space or privileges or recognition for us, or place in dialogues that are not with all Cubans. We only announce and proclaim that, with or without this dialogue, we will continue to fight nonviolently for freedom, rights, justice and peace in Cuba until we achieve those goals. This place is not given to us by anyone in this world and in that mission, we entrust ourselves to God our Father, Lord of History.

Oswaldo José Payá Sardiñas

Coordinator,Christian Liberation Movement

June 17, 2010

Original text in Spanish available here and the Cuban bishop from Holguin's response here.

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