Prominent dissident Guillermo Fariñas and two other members of the opposition presented a document rejecting the Raul Castro administration’s plan of adjustments, demanding change rather than a “modernization” of Cuba’s socialist economic model.
In a session with foreign reporters, Fariñas, Rene Gomez Manzano and Felix Bonne released the text of “Cuba Es lo Primero”, stating their opposition to the plan of economic reform outlined in the basic document of the 6th Congress of the ruling Communist Party, to be held next April.
Last Wednesday the island saw the beginning of a popular debate of the document entitled “Project of Guidelines for the Economic and Social Policy of the Party and the Revolution.”
“We as Cubans disagree and will certainly express our points of view freely,” the three opposition members said in their own document presented Tuesday.
Fariñas and his two associates believe that the government’s plan of reforms has little credibility and describe as a “lack of respect” for citizens and for the party’s own congress the fact that the conclave will only discuss economic subjects, shunting aside “vital” political and social matters.
They also said that the basic document of the congress omits statistics and problems such as the “generalized corruption” and the plan to lay off 500,000 state employees, while its approach could not be more full of party platitudes.
They said that the Cuban model must be totally changed and not “modernized,” as proposed by the Communist Party, which they also criticized for dodging the preparation of a “self-critical analysis of the last half century” for the upcoming congress.
In the document, the three opposition members ask respect for human rights on the island, the legalization of dissent, free and competitive elections, and that all political prisoners be freed once and for all “and that there never be any more.”
Fariñas, who received the European Parliament’s 2010 Sakharov Prize for human rights, said that the Communist Party’s reform plan is an interim device to “gain time” and see what happens with the presidency of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, with regard to the subsidies that Caracas gives Cuba.
Fariñas also made a “call for rationality” to the Cuban government in the case of the 11 members of the “Group of 75” dissidents rounded up in March 2003 who remain in jail, two months after the end of the period for freeing them that was agreed upon with the Catholic Church.
He said the government is afraid of what those “leaders” can do, adding that the first condition for any negotiation of the opposition with the authorities is unconditional freedom without exile for all dissidents.
Fariñas believes that former President Fidel Castro is in charge of freeing dissidents who refuse to leave the island as a condition for getting out of jail.
He also believes that it is Fidel who is “handling” the subject of whether he will be allowed to travel to Europe for the December 15 presentation of the Sakharov Prize.