Thursday, December 9, 2010

Opposition wants Cuba's socialist model dumped, not updated


Opposition wants Cuba's socialist model dumped, not updated
Published December 07, 2010 EFE

Havana – Prominent dissident Guillermo Fariñas and two other members of
the opposition presented here Tuesday a document rejecting the Raul
Castro administration's plan of adjustments, demanding change rather
than a "modernization" of Cuba's socialist economic model.

In a session with foreign reporters, Fariñas, Rene Gomez Manzano and
Felix Antonio Bonne Carcasses released the text of "Cuba Es lo Primero"
(Cuba First), stating their opposition to the plan of economic reform
outlined in the basic document of the 6th Congress of the ruling
Communist Party, to be held next April.

Last Wednesday the island saw the beginning of a popular debate of that
basic document entitled "Project of Guidelines for the Economic and
Social Policy of the Party and the Revolution."

"We as Cubans disagree and will certainly express our points of view
freely," the three opposition members said in their own document
presented Tuesday.

Fariñas and his two associates believe that the government's plan of
reforms has little credibility and describe as a "lack of respect" for
citizens and for the party's own congress the fact that the conclave
will only discuss economic subjects, shunting aside "vital" political
and social matters.

They also said that the basic document of the congress omits statistics
and problems such as the "generalized corruption" and the plan to lay
off 500,000 state employees, while its approach could not be more full
of party platitudes.

They said that the Cuban model must be totally changed and not
"modernized," as proposed by the Communist Party, which they also
criticized for dodging the preparation of a "self-critical analysis of
the last half century" for the upcoming congress.

In the document, the three opposition members ask respect for human
rights on the island, the legalization of dissent, free and competitive
elections, and that all political prisoners be freed once and for all
"and that there never be any more."

Fariñas, who received the European Parliament's 2010 Sakharov Prize for
human rights, said that the Communist Party's reform plan is an interim
device to "gain time" and see what happens with the presidency of Hugo
Chavez in Venezuela, with regard to the subsidies that Caracas gives Cuba.

Fariñas also made a "call for rationality" to the Cuban government in
the case of the 11 members of the "Group of 75" dissidents rounded up in
March 2003 who remain in jail, two months after the end of the period
for freeing them that was agreed upon with the Catholic Church.

He said the government is afraid of what those "leaders" can do, adding
that the first condition for any negotiation of the opposition with the
authorities is unconditional freedom without exile for all dissidents.

Now it is apparently former President Fidel Castro, Raul's older
brother, who is in charge of freeing dissidents who refuse to leave the
island as a condition for getting out of jail, Fariñas said.

He also believed that it is Fidel who "is handling" the subject of
whether he will be allowed to travel to Europe for the Dec. 15
presentation of the Sakharov Prize.

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