This week the Cuban government has taken a series of actions to prevent a trip to Mexico by 21 political dissidents and to undermine the Fourth Meeting of the Democratic Action Unity Roundtable (MUAD). In response to these authoritarian measures, the Christian Democrat Organization of America (ODCA) states:
1. We condemn the arbitrary detention and averted departure of 21 Cuban dissidents affiliated with the Democratic Action Unity Roundtable (MUAD), actions taken by the Cuban Government in clear violation of the universal rights to free transit within and outside the country, and the right to assembly.
2. We affirm that these undemocratic measures also constitute a violation of the Cuban Migration Law, in force since January 14, 2012, which lifted the requirement to obtain an exit permit before traveling.
3. We note that, under the terms of this immigration reform, several representatives of the political opposition have traveled to international meetings. However, as of this week, a change in the official position apparently abrogates any respect for this right which, presumably, will now be selectively, arbitrarily and discriminatorily decided by Raúl Castro’s Government.
4. We also note that agents of the Cuban State prevented internal travel and virtual participation in the IV Meeting of the MUAD by opposition leaders who were to make presentations at the event, as the Cuban regime blocked them from leaving.
5. We state that the actions carried out by the Government to thwart the physical and virtual participation by these 21 political leaders are a clear signal that the Cuban regime is now committed to disallowing any activity, whether in Cuban or foreign territory, in which Cubans are able to exercise their universal right to gather peacefully to share ideas, organize activities and agree on plans for the future of Cuba and the wellbeing of all Cubans.
6. We condemn that the implementation of all these restrictive measures, arrests and persecution are a manifestation of selective harassment by a police state, perpetrated against citizens who are laying claim to freedom, democracy and a respect for human rights.
7. We stand in solidarity with the Democratic Action Unity Roundtable (MUAD) and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, organizers of the IV “Paths to a Democratic Cuba” meeting, for persevering with this forum for dialogue and the attainment of comprehensive agreements towards democracy. This opposition’s commitment to advancing towards political agreements, as demonstrated by the MUAD, confirms the futility of any governmental measure or decree that seeks to suppress democratic voices in Cuba.
8. We underscore that these repressive actions, rather than weakening, ultimately strengthen the broad platform of the Democratic Action Unity Roundtable (MUAD), and that the selective repression of its members is a manifestation of the regime’s fear in the face of a unified political opposition.
9. We call on the international community to condemn the human rights violations perpetrated in Cuba, particularly the right to free assembly, expression and movement, and reject any form of censorship of the voices and consciences demanding democracy and liberties for Cuba.
Santiago, Chile, June 29, 2017
JUAN CARLOS LATORRE
FRANCISCO JAVIER JARA