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Only Cubans Can Save Cuba

By: Rosa María Payá - Dec 18, 2014, 11:20 am

EspañolThe changes in US foreign policy announced this Wednesday, December 17, come only a week after the arrest and violent mistreatment of 100 Cuban citizens on December 10, whose only crime was to protest in favor of their rights. This shows clearly that achieving democracy is only a priority for the Cuban people.

It is the Cuban people who strive and will continue to struggle for the political changes that will lead us to democracy. For the existence of the rule of law is the only scenario that can offer us the ability to overcome poverty and work for the common good.

Our hopes don’t rest on the actions of any foreign government.

The US president has now rewarded the Cuban regime for having released a prisoner. The Barack Obama administration has decided to normalize relations with a government that isn’t normal, because it is not legitimate. The Cuban people never chose it, and it violates our most fundamental human rights. In the ongoing dialogue between the elites of Washington and Havana, where are the Cuban people?


The government of Barack Obama aims to reward the Cuban government, kidnappers of Alan Gross. As always, the people of Cuba are completely ignored.

The new scenario comes with new opportunities, not only in the field of a possible improvement in communications, or in the nascent private sector. But the first to censor and restrict these sectors, we should remember, was the Castro regime, not any foreign government.

More important, however, is that diplomatic changes present new opportunities for Cuban citizens, and that their demands for justice be heard. Those democratic governments and institutions that worked for this deal must make the Cuban regime listen to the people.

What will guarantee that the people are listened to will be respect for human rights, and the possibility of citizen participation.

What will guarantee citizen participation will be free elections.

So we call now for all Cubans to work for a popular vote in favor of free, multiparty elections. We call on the governments of the world — including those of Canada and the Vatican, which played a key role in brokering the deal — to support the right of all Cubans, and all human beings, to decide on their future.

We congratulate the Gross family on Alan’s return home, and on being together again at last.

Translated by Laurie Blair. Edited by Fergus Hodgson.

Rosa María Payá Rosa María Payá

Rosa María Payá Acevedo holds a bachelors degree in physics and is a member for the Christian Liberation Movement of Cuba. Follow @rosamariapaya.