Hope is in the people
The leading force of society should be the sovereign people and not the Communist Party.
Outside of Cuba there were disproportionate expectations about the names that arose to preside over the Council of the State, but these same expectations have not been present among the people who did not even comment on the issue. We do not believe it is indifference but, in fact, profound wisdom. The succession of Fidel Castro does not in itself bring the changes the people want and need.
It is our duty to recall and denounce the fact that deputies of the National Assembly were not elected by the citizenry because the electoral law does not allow the voter to choose between various candidates, and the same number of candidates appears on the ballot as there are offices to fill.
This has never been and will never be an election. In the same manner the recently filled National Assembly of People’s Power was not even able to nominate various candidates and choose among them its President and the President of the Council of the State. These were also unopposed candidates, chosen beforehand by the Commission of Candidacies.
Raúl Castro, the new President of the Council of the State, said in his inaugural address that antagonist contradictions do not exist. But they do exist, because there is an essential antagonism between this system of no rights, restrictions imposed by law, arbitrariness and repressive practices on the one hand and the legitimate rights and interests of the people on the other.
The people of Cuba want changes that signify liberty, the full exercise of their civil, political, economic and social rights, reconciliation, peace and the exercise of their sovereignty.
The deputies of the National Assembly of People’s Power have the obligation to return to the people what belongs to the people, to amend the law to guarantee fundamental rights so that, by exercising these rights, Cubans themselves can to decide what this new chapter in the life of our nation will look like.
The Varela Project—by demanding that a voice be given to the people in a referendum, and changes in the law that open a path for the free and responsible participation of citizens in the life of the country—continues to be the worthy and just alternative to the continuation of an order that closes the doors to the future on an entire people, especially the new generation. We will continue down the peaceful path, demanding all the rights for all Cubans and the release of our brothers who have been unjustly condemned to prison for defending these rights.
The hope is Cuba’s people themselves who will be, in all ways, the protagonists of its history.
In the name of the Coordinating Council of the Christian Liberation Movement
Oswaldo José Payá Sardiñas
Minervo Lázaro Chil Siret
Havana, February 24th, 2008