The Unstoppable Cuban Spring
By Oswaldo José Payá Sardiñas
Saturday, July 1, 2006; Page A25
HAVANA -- In March 2003 dozens of leaders of Cuba's Varela Project and other human rights defenders were detained, subjected to summary trials, condemned to many years in prison, and confined in the most inhumane and cruel conditions. They were treated like -- and held in cells with -- dangerous common criminals. In this way the regime attempted to suppress the rebirth of the Cuban Spring initiated by thousands of Cubans who overcame a debilitating culture of fear by including their names, addresses and identification numbers in the text of the Varela Project, a document later presented to the National Assembly asking for a referendum on its human rights principles. Despite inhuman treatment and illegal detention, the regime could not stop the rebirth of the Cuban Spring: Many Cubans continue to support the Varela Project even amid repression that includes death threats and physical assault.
Later in 2003 we announced that we had developed a working document of about 50 pages that would serve as a guide for a National Dialogue (a discussion in which all Cubans could freely express their thoughts, desires and goals for Cuba). At the same time, state security forces persecuted us throughout the country. Moreover, individuals inside and outside Cuba used whatever means were at their disposal to attack and discourage us from bringing this dialogue to fruition. Once again Cubans persevered, and thousands of them, in Cuba and in exile, participated in the National Dialogue. [Read more]
Saturday, July 01, 2006
Oswaldo Payá: Remains hopeful
Read the op-ed piece in the Washington Post by Owaldo Payá of the Varela Project.