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    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
    the Americas.

    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
    Cuba.

    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
    pluralistic country.

    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
    themes:

    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
    their postulates.
    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
    of parole.
    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.
    www.14ymedio.com/nacional/Declaracion-marzo_CYMFIL20160319_0001.pdf

    Source: Declaration from Cuba’s Independent Civil Society in Advance of
    Obama’s Visit to the Island | Translating Cuba –
    translatingcuba.com/declaration-from-cubas-independent-civil-society-in-advance-of-obamas-visit-to-the-island/

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