Declaration from Cuba’s Independent Civil Society in Advance of Obama’s Visit to the Island
Declaration from Cuba’s Independent Civil Society in Advance of Obama’s
Visit to the Island
Posted on March 20, 2016
Declaration from Cuba’s Independent Civil Society
19 March 2018
The March 20 to 22 visit [to Cuba] of Mr. Barack Obama, president of the
United States, in the company of his wife, Mrs. Michelle Obama, closes a
cycle of political boldness and has led to and signifies a new era in
This historic turning point with Cuba began 17 December 2014 and was
greeted and supported by the majority of its citizens, while it
generated a logical environment of controversies outside and inside the
more than 45 independent activist organizations that were working in the
Democratic Action Unity Roundtable (MUAD), among which are those leading
the Citizen Platform #Otro18 (Another 2018) and the Civil Society Open
Forum, along with other civil and political actors inside and outside of
Those of us who are promoting this Declaration are not unaware of the
dimension of this geostrategic change, and its double impact on our
country and on the hemisphere.
The controversial logic of this process expresses the play of
opportunities and challenges opening for all Cubans, and for those in
the international community who want to help this geostrategic change
effectively contribute to democratic change in Cuba.
We believe that the visit of the president of the United States is
another step forward in the full normalization of relations with our
country. And in this sense, it fosters a better atmosphere to advance
our efforts to achieve the democratization of Cuban society and its
political system, and the maturation of a project for an inclusive and
And it is also an opportunity for the Cuban political class to
understand that there is there is no longer any room for the philosophy
of the “besieged fortress,” which classifies every dissident as a
traitor, nor for the maintenance of a politically exclusive,
discriminatory and authoritarian regime. The country should be “with all
and for the good of all.”
This new atmosphere should support, progressively, debate among Cubans
and a radical change in the behavior of the authorities around six basic
The recognition of the need for a social and democratic state of law,
and progress towards the enjoyment of economic, civil and political
liberties for all Cubans.
The immediate ratification by the National Assembly, after the signing
by the Cuban government in 2008, of the International Covenant on Civil
and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social
and Cultural Rights, and the creation of a national system that upholds
The cessation of repression and the use of physical violence against all
political and human rights activists who use legitimate and non-violent
civic action to express their demands.
The release of all prisoners unjustly incarcerated, especially political
prisoners and prisoners of conscience, and those subjected to conditions
The repeal of Law 88, the Gag Law, designed to punish Cuban citizens for
alleged cooperation with the country that is normalizing, unilaterally
and constructively, its relations with the Cuban government and society.
The establishment of an expeditious and transparent timetable for the
return of all the rights of citizenship to Cuban emigrants.
We hope, moreover, that the conversation President Barack Obama will
hold with representatives of Cuban civil society will not only
strengthen the legitimation of pro-democracy activists on the island,
but will encourage other international interlocutors to dialog and
publicly recognize the plurality of political and civil actors in Cuba.
As the evolution of world affairs demonstrates, countries’ prosperity,
stability and sustainability is increasingly dependent on a
comprehensive approach in which economic progress can not and should not
be disassociated from progress in freedoms and social justice.
With the coming of Mr. Barack Obama to Cuba one part of the call made by
Pope John Paul II in 1988 will be fulfilled: let the world open itself
to Cuba. Another good starting point for the Cuban government to
definitively open itself to all its citizens.
The first group of signatories to this declaration can be seen here, in
the Spanish language version.
Source: Declaration from Cuba’s Independent Civil Society in Advance of
Obama’s Visit to the Island | Translating Cuba –