Oswaldo José Payá Sardiñas, Sakharov Prize 2002, In the name of the
Christian Liberation Movement
On May 26th, the members of the Coordinating Council of the Christian
Liberation Movement, Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas and Minervo Chil Siret, met
with representatives of the European Union Presidency in the French
Embassy. In our meeting, we delivered and explained to his Excellency
the Ambassador of France a message from our Movement directed to the
In this message, our Movement calls on the European Union, the
governments and parliaments of its member states, and its citizens to
support in a public and sustained manner the release of those jailed in
Cuba for defending, promoting and exercising peacefully their human
rights; the dialogue between Cubans as a path toward achieving the
changes the Cuban people desire and national reconciliation; and our
demands for changes in the laws so that the civil, political, economic,
social and cultural rights of all Cubans are respected.
We also call on the European Council and the Commission of the European
Union and its member states to prioritize these demands as a path toward
achieving relations with Cuba that are truly just and respectful of the
self-determination of the Cuban people.
Similarly, we thank the European Parliament for its continued demand for
the release of peaceful political prisoners and respect for the rights
of Cubans, as well as its reiterated call to the Cuban government to
allow the winners of the Sakharov Prize to travel to the Parliament to
express their view of the Cuban reality.
MESSAGE TO THE EUROPEAN UNION
More than 50 prisoners of the Cuban Black Spring remain imprisoned after
five years. They and other Cubans are in jail only for peacefully
promoting, defending and exercising universally recognized human rights,
many of the working with the Varela Project.
The majority of these prisoners have fallen ill because of inhumane
conditions and the cruel and manipulative treatment of the authorities.
Until their release, the sought-after normalization of relations between
the European Union and the Cuban state is morally inconsequential.
The citizens of Cuba continue to be excluded, in law and in practice,
from the freedoms of expression and press, the freedom of association,
the freedom to travel, of the right to own your own business and the
right to free elections. The oppression and culture of fear that prevail
are key instruments in the relation between the authorities and the
It would be abnormal for relations to be normalized in these conditions
of exclusion and absence of rights suffered by Cubans. The dialogue
between the EU and the Cuban government must orient itself towards
positive results, including an opening and not accepting this lack of
rights as a normal situation.
Presenting the dialogue itself as an achievement, still without any real
results, encourages inflexibility and denies the objectives of the dialogue.
It is significant that the dialogue, between high-ranking officials of
the EU or its member states and the Cuban authorities, come attached
with the exclusion of peaceful human rights and democratic activists and
with a drastic decrease in contacts between the EU representation and
these peaceful activists.
What is this signaling to us? That the EU will accept conditions of
exclusion that the Cuban government imposes against its own citizens to
achieve what they call "normal relations"? Is not this a denial of the
Common Position and the objective of the dialogue?
We have never asked for sanctions nor do we accept the term "sanction"
to the act of inviting us to a national celebration. But to accept in
EU-Cuba relations the conditions of exclusion imposed on us by the
government, the state of denial of rights and the continuation of
peaceful political prisoners in jail, would be to lift sanctions from
the Cuban state and impose them instead on the Cuban people.
Our proposal is positive and based on the idea that Cubans have a right
to rights because we are human beings. The Cuban government must respect
and promote all the rights of all its citizens, not to satisfy the EU
but because these rights belong to Cubans as citizens and as people.
Our call to the EU, the governments and parliaments of its member states
and to its citizens is that they support in a public and sustained manner:
• The release of those jailed in Cuba for defending, promoting and
exercising peacefully their human rights;
• Dialogue between Cubans as a path towards changes the Cuban people
desire and national reconciliation;
• Our demands for changes in the laws so that the civil, political,
economic, social and cultural rights of all Cubans are respected.
We call on the Council and the Commission of the European Union and its
member states to prioritize these demands as a path towards achieving
relations with Cuban that are truly just and respectful of the
self-determination of Cubans.
The peaceful and civic campaign of the Cuban Forum, carried out even
under repression, has these objectives and will continue to demand
fundamental rights through the Varela Project.
The European Parliament sustains a permanent demand for the release of
peaceful political prisoners and respect for the rights of Cubans.
It has also reiterated its demand that the winners of the Sakharov Prize
travel to the Parliament to express their views of the Cuban reality. I
have decided to attend and I will do so if the Cuban government does not
deny me the right to travel freely from and to Cuba. We thank the
Parliament for its position.
Oswaldo José Payá Sardiñas, Sakharov Prize 2002
In the name of the Christian Liberation Movement
Havana, May 26, 2008
For more information visit: www.oswaldopaya.org
Julio Hernandez, Francisco De Armas
Christian Liberation Movement
+1 (787) 549-1805