Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Cuban opposition calls for “strengthening unity in diversity”

The Cuban opposition calls for "strengthening unity in diversity"
14YMEDIO, Havana | Diciembre 23, 2014

civil society, US-Cuba relations, Civil Society Open Space
The Cuban Civil Society Open Forum, a new organization in Cuba which has
come to be a space of debate for the opposition, met this Monday in
Havana to review its own development as well as its common position,
faced with the new scenario that has opened with the reestablishment of
relations with the United States.

The group, in the form of a final statement, made a call "to strengthen
the unity in diversity achieved so far, whatever our opinions may be on
this issue, and to maintain equanimity and respect."

The meeting, with the participation of thirty activists of different
points of view, focuses on developing an ethical approach to running the
activities of Civil Society Open Space. This framework, developed
starting from the proposals collected in a previous draft, will be set
out in a documents whose final version will be voted on at the next
meeting, scheduled for the end of February 2015, according to a
statement released by the group.

Another of the important points of the meeting was the future creation
of a mediation group, which will work to solve conflicts internal to
civil society.

With regards to the announcement of the reestablishment of relations
between Cuba and the United States coming out of secret negotiations,
the Cuban Civil Society Open Forum expressed its pleasure in "the dozens
of compatriots who will be released from prison and also the release of
Alan Gross." In addition, they noted that the agreement between Raul
Castro and Obama puts an end "to the pretext and official narrative of a
besieged people," which will allow, according to the participants, focus
"on democratic change in Cuba."

Guillermo Fariñas criticized, in his speech, the "secrecy of the
negotiations, which were held behind the backs not only of civil society
but also the ruling party, parliament and the bulk of the institutions."
For his part, José Daniel Ferrer said that, "most important is the faith
and hope that from now on we must convey to the people." The activist
also stressed the "importance of building new scenarios for democracy."

Manuel Cuesta Morua agreed that the restoration of relations with the US
represents "the end of the 'epic' stage and the beginning of the
political stage for civil society." Elizardo Sanchez confirmed that even
the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation " does
not know the list of prisoners to be released, which represents about
half of those imprisoned for political reasons in Cuba."

The Cuban Civil Society Open Forum meets to discuss issues of Cuban
society. Last February, the group signed, for the first time, four
points of consensus that summarize the demands of Cuban civil society;
these were reviewed at the meeting on Monday and ratified unanimously in
what was one of the first steps of opposition unity on the island.

Source: The Cuban opposition calls for "strengthening unity in
diversity" -

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