Thursday, November 26, 2015

No change in Cuba, totalitarianism persists - dissident in Prague

No change in Cuba, totalitarianism persists - dissident in Prague
published: 25.11.2015, 18:13

Prague - The situation of the Cuban opposition has not changed in the
past year of warmed relations between Havana and Washington, and the
totalitarian regime persists in the county, Cuban dissident Maria Paya,
on a visit to Prague, has told CTK.

Paya, who gives a lecture on Cuban developments in the Vaclav Havel
Library tonight, is a daughter of the well-known late Cuban dissident
Oswaldo Paya, whom former Czech president Vaclav Havel unsuccessfully
nominated for Nobel Peace Prize twice in the past.

She said many prisoners of conscience are still jailed in Cuba.

There are many people in jail who have never been officially charged
with crime, she said.

For example, Sonia Garro, from The Ladies in White opposition movement,
was in December 2014 released from prison after more than two years
without having been officially accused of anything, Paya said.

Until the constitution is changed, it is irrelevant how many
negotiations the government has with world powers. This has had no
influence on the rights of Cuban people so far, Paya said.

The Cuban constitution anchors the freedom of speech but specifies it as
a freedom in harmony with the goals of the socialist society. As a
result, Cuba is governed by a single party, the communists, who are also
the only party represented in parliament, Paya said.

Since December 2014, when Cuba and the USA announced a new chapter in
mutual relations, the only thing to have changed is the USA´s foreign
policy towards Cuba, Paya said.

She said she shares the view of Berta Soler, head of The Ladies in
White, that the warming of the relations with Washington after 54 years
has given the aureola of legitimacy to the Cuban regime.

To the Cubans, it is not that important whether the lifting of the
economic embargo on Cuba is internationally negotiated. To them, it is
mainly important that the USA and the EU support the staging of free
elections in Cuba, said Paya, an advocate of the Cuba Decide civic

She said in her opinion it is not true that many people in Cuba still
trust socialism. However, neither the socialists, nor communists or
liberals in Cuba have the right to decide on the developments in the
country, Paya said.

The idea of a referendum on free elections has been promoted by both the
domestic opposition and the dissidents in the exile in Miami, Florida,
Paya said.

The two groups get on well with each other, she said, dismissing
previous information that the Cuban opposition is fragmented and a part
of the domestic dissidents refuse to negotiate with the Florida exile.

Source: No change in Cuba, totalitarianism persists - dissident in
Prague - České -

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