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HavanaJournal.com: Cuba Politics

Oswaldo Paya message regarding Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Posted December 10, 2008 by publisher in Cuba Politics.
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Email received from Mr. Paya’s organization:

We respectfully ask the General Secretariat of the United Nations to distribute this message to its Member States and to refer it to the General Assembly for its consideration, as we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 

To all Member States of the United Nations:

As Cubans and members of the human family, we are entitled to all the rights set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Nevertheless, many of these fundamental rights and freedoms are not guaranteed by laws established in Cuba. Even the rights enshrined in current Cuban law are not guaranteed to all citizens due to a lack of safeguards and to arbitrary actions by government institutions.

In practice, many of the universal human rights, whether recognized by Cuban laws or not, are systematically violated by the institutions and individuals protected under the umbrella of the Cuban government.

Due to this lack of respect for many civil, political, economic and social rights, the Cuban people suffer from to insecurity, exclusion and oppression. In Cuba, there is a notable absence of the rights to freedom of movement, freedom of expression, and freedom to associate according to one’s legitimate beliefs and interests. Citizens are denied the right to democratically elect government officials and to engage in economic activities for honest personal and family gain.

The lack of safeguards to exercise these rights affirms the exploitation of workers, abject poverty, the gap between the right and the poor, the humiliation of Cubans in the presence of foreigners, the discrimination suffered by Cubans in their own country, massive migration and family separation.

The absence of tribunals, and legal institutions and media outlets to protect all rights of the people, leaves Cubans defenseless against abuses of power and arbitrary actions.  The denial of free, democratic and pluralistic participation of citizens in the political life of the country impedes the exercise of popular sovereignty and the ability of Cubans to express their desire to effect peaceful change and to achieve peace and reconciliation.

There are many political prisoners and prisoners of conscience in Cuba who have been unjustly tried and sentenced solely for expressing their ideas, exercising their freedom of press, and organizing peacefully to promote democratic change and to defend human rights.

We ask the United Nations and its Human Rights Council to adopt our call that follows:

We urge the government of Cuba:

1. To distribute, through the media, all documents that the Cuban government has signed regarding human rights, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and to reform its laws to guarantee these rights to all citizens;

2. To cease the persecution, imprisonment, and exclusion of citizens who promote, defend, or exercise peacefully their universally-recognized human rights in Cuba, and to recognize in the law the organizations that serve these purposes in Cuba and who continue to be persecuted;

3. To free, immediately and unconditionally, all those imprisoned in Cuba for promoting, defending, and peacefully exercising human rights;

4. To cease the persecution of citizens who promote and support the Varela Project peacefully through the exercise of their constitutional rights.  The Varela Project is an initiative that calls for a referendum for Cubans to decide on legal reforms that would guarantee the freedoms of expression and association, economic freedom, the freedom to elect their leaders democratically, and the freedom of those who are in prison for political reasons and who have not attempted harm on others.  The Varela Project has been presented to the Cuban National Assembly of Popular Power with the signatures of over 25,000 Cubans who have risked or suffered persecution.

Oswaldo José Payá Sardiñas

Coordinator of the organizing committee of the Varela Project

Havana, December 3, 2008

Member Comments

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On December 10, 2008, bernie wrote:

It would sure be nice if Oswald could name a few countries that are adhering
to all these demands he if making for Cuban goverment to adhere to????
I just might visit these countries that have all these rights???

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On December 11, 2008, Cubana wrote:

Clown. By being able to write such a comment it is quite clear you are in a country that respects human rights.

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On December 11, 2008, pipefitter wrote:

How many countries in the “free world” have no political prisoners?

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On December 12, 2008, Cubana wrote:

All of them if your definition of political prisoners is only those that are peaceful activists, peaceful protestors, peaceful objectors…

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On December 12, 2008, pipefitter wrote:

Cubana, sadly you are living under some kind of illusion, use the accepted definition, their case has significant political content and do some research please.

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On December 15, 2008, Cubana wrote:

Pipefitter - perhaps you could give some illustrations of what you class as political prisoners in democratic countries?

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On December 15, 2008, pipefitter wrote:

Well, If you look up Amnesty International, they claim there are more than 100 in the US alone. I think Canada has over 60. It is not easy to get info on political prisoners as countries don’t like to admit they have any.  Look up the Cuban 5 for example in jail in the U.S.and see what they are accused of doing and what they say they were doing.

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On December 16, 2008, Cubana wrote:

Sorry - couldn’t find a statement on the AI website where they claim there are more than 100 polital prisoners in the US and over 60 in Canada.

In respect of the so-called Cuban 5 there were actually 10. 5 pleaded guilty to being agents of a foreign power and conducting espionage activities. The others, the so-called Cuban 5 pleaded not guilty but were convicted on the same charges and one was also found guilty of conspiracy to murder as a result of his role in the shooting down in international airspace of two unarmed civilian planes by the Cuban military. See here:

http://www.america.gov/st/pubs-english/2008/June/20070712120209atlahtnevel0.7962915.html

Perhaps you should do some research.

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On December 16, 2008, pipefitter wrote:

Cubana, I thought you might at least look at both sides of the arguments but aparently not. Just google us political prisoners and look through the miriad of sites. Look at http://www.freethefive.org or the Cuban gov website and get a different opinion than the official american government position on the five.  They were in the U.S., infiltrated anti Cuban groups planning to do harm to Cuba. You see Cuba has to worry about those things as they are under threat from some people living in theU.S. To date I don’t think the U.S. has been attacked from Cuba by anyone.
If you speak spanish, look at the tv news from south america and see how much interesting news they don’t tell us about up here, like three American Embasadors being expelled from countries for political interference or conspiracy.

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On December 16, 2008, pipefitter wrote:

Cubana, found something very interesting for you to read. http//library.nothingness.org/articles/SA/en/display/15

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On December 17, 2008, Cubana wrote:

pipefitter: you said: They (the so-called Cuban 5) were in the U.S., infiltrated anti Cuban groups planning to do harm to Cuba.

No they were not! They were found guilty in an independent court of law of being agents of a foreign power and conducting espionage activities and one was found guilty of conspiracy to murder. This is a FACT unlike the allegations of undemocratic governments you spout as truths.

The phrase “there are none so blind as will not see” sums you up perfectly.

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On April 15, 2009, lola wrote:

hi i need help what does the UDHR guarantee?thanx please comment!