Monday, September 30, 2013

Cuba’s Antunez - Our peaceful steps for freedom

Posted on Sunday, 09.29.13

Cuba's Antunez: Our peaceful steps for freedom

It is for me a great honor to be able to express these words in this
worldwide famous University of Georgetown. I know that illustrious
Cubans have been professors or students here. Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas, a
great Cuban, murdered by the Castro dictatorship, spoke here during the
historic voyage he made to receive the Sakharov Prize from the European

I never could continue my university education because of my
imprisonment by the Castro dictatorship early in my life. What makes a
society free is the rigor with which it seeks the truth through the free
exchange of ideas. That is what we want for Cuba.

When I speak about ideas, I recall two Cuban intellectuals in exile
whose work has been devoted to the achievement of freedom in Cuba. One
is Carlos Alberto Montaner, a voice of guidance for the people of Cuba.
The other is Pedro Roig, a lawyer and historian whose leadership of
Radio and TV Martí enormously aided the Cuban domestic resistance.

The dictatorship that oppresses my country fears the free exchange of
ideas because it knows that its proposals cannot withstand the light of
reason. For more than half a century, it has poisoned the Cuban people
with an indoctrination that goes from the cradle to the grave. The
objective of it all is to stun the free decision-making power of Cubans
so as to divide and fragment the nation. Whoever resists the
indoctrination is punished with exile, prison or death.

My 17 years and 38 days in Castro's prisons allowed me to see and
experience close up in the diabolical machinery of a dictatorship whose
objective is to crush the human spirit by utilizing the most sinister
methods. I have seen this. And I have also seen how, despite this brutal
repression, Cubans have risen to resist. I am part of that sea of Cuban
men and women who civilly resist the dictatorship. I am here because of
them and for them.

The unity of the Cuban nation in the quest for freedom is the regime's
great terror. That is why it wants to divide Cubans racially,
ideologically and geographically. That is why we postulate the thesis of
a single Cuban nation with a single resistance struggling for change.

The Cuban resistance, which struggles peacefully and civically, has a
motto: "The Streets Belong to the People." To all the people. To those
of us who want freedom and to those who are still confused by the
dictatorship. From Cuba, we have proposed - because the time has come -
a Nationwide Civic Work Stoppage. A movement by the people that, in a
gradual, progressive and peaceful way, may disarticulate Castro's
repression. We have gone abroad to spread the word.

We want peace for Cuba. True peace, which, in the words of Dr. Martin
Luther King Jr., can only exist when justice is present.

Any political proposal to attain peace in Cuba must come from the Cuban
citizenry, from its persistent mobilization for freedom, which is its
resistance movement. And this proposal of peace for Cuba has to include
— inexorably — several cardinal issues:
• The total and real separation from power of the Castro family. Our
country cannot be the property of a dynasty. Cuba was born of whites,
blacks and Chinese to become a republic, the land of free men and women.
• The total separation of the Communist Party and the state. Cuban
communists may have their party but never control the government of Cuba
and subordinate it to their interests, as has happened for more than
half a century.
• The liberation of all Cuban political prisoners.
• The legalization of the opposition political parties and the return of
exiled Cubans.
• Free elections, under international supervision, for a Constituent
• The creation of a Truth Commission that will rule on the direct
responsibilities for crimes against humanity committed against the Cuban
people by the dictatorship.

These issues and several more are included in a historic document titled
"The Agreement for Democracy," which was first signed by a broad
majority of the Cuban opposition in 1998 and has subsequently been
repeatedly ratified by Cuban oppositionists in Cuba and abroad.

I wish to close this first presentation by recalling a phrase from the
man I quoted at the start: Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas. He once said, "Our
hope rises from our struggle." He was right. We Cubans are struggling
for change. We want peace for Cuba.

Jorge Luis Garcia Perez "Antunez" is the secretary general of the
National Front of Civic Resistance Orlando Zapata Tamayo in Cuba. He
gave this speech at Georgetown University on Sept. 16.

Source: "Cuba's Antunez: Our peaceful steps for freedom - Other Views -" -

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