By Cuban pro-democracy leader Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas of the Christian Liberation Movement:
No to Fraudulent Change, Yes to Liberation
On the one hand, we are grateful that His Holiness Benedict XVI has come to Cuba to preach to our people the Word of God and to bless them. On the other hand, the unfair maneuvers by the regime to seize the encounters of the Pope with the people and the repression of the nonviolent opposition have been a scandal of which many Cubans are aware.
We believe that this repression against the opposition has not been immune to the contempt, exclusion and disqualification of opponents, Catholic or not, that we have been suffering from a certain elite within the Church. This elite through their media in such magazines as Palabra Nueva (New Word), Espacio Laical (Lay Space) and in many events, has over the years carried out a practice of disqualification of the nonviolent opposition and promoted support for the alleged changes along government lines. It is in this environment that today in the Father Felix Varela Center, a former seminary, "the Cuban businessman and politician based in the United States, Mr. Carlos Saladrigas" will speak on: Attitudes and policies we have to take to achieve the inclusion of the Cuban Diaspora in the social activity of the Island.
The Christian Liberation Movement denounces that same elite we mentioned that insists publicly that in Cuba there are no independent movements and parties. We have never sought political space within the Church, but the rights for all Cubans in society. Everyone knows that. But it is painfully obvious that the space that the Church could offer for dialogue among all Cubans, Catholics or not, with respect to plurality and open to participation, has been seized, at least in Havana, by this elite that with support from the hierarchy acts as the political party of the Church, which is neither a party nor should have parties.
This small group that takes over the space of all lay people on the political and social issues, not only excludes others, but denies the reality of our struggle for freedom and our right to exist. They coincide with the Communist Party's claim to be a single party, except within the church, and agree on the exclusion and disqualification of those who do not submit.
Not only do only do the methods of exclusion and imposition by this elite coincide with the Communist Party, but they have largely agreed on the promotion of the line attributing to the oligarchy the lead role in the alleged changes and ask for a vote of confidence in the government of Raúl Castro.
Our Movement denounces the regime's attempt to impose a fraudulent change, i.e. change without rights and the inclusion of many interests in this change that sidesteps democracy and the sovereignty of the people of Cuba. The attempt to link the Diaspora in this fraudulent change is to make victims participate in their own oppression. The Diaspora does not have to "assume attitudes and policies in entering the social activity of the island." The Diaspora is a Diaspora because they are Cuban exiles to which the regime denied rights as it denies them to all Cubans. It is not in that part of oppression, without rights, and transparency that the Diaspora has to be inserted, that would be part of fraudulent change.
The gradual approach makes sense only if there are transparent prospects of freedom and rights. We Cubans have a right to our rights. Why not rights? It's time. That is the peaceful change that we promote and claim. Changes that signifies freedom, reconciliation, political pluralism and free elections. Then the Diaspora will cease being a Diaspora, because all Cubans will have rights in their own free and sovereign country. That is why we fight.
Translation courtesy of Notes from the Cuban Exile Quarter.
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