Today is Spring, Today is Liberty

 

Julio HernŠndez

 

Speech at Berlin Conference, 25 April, 2007

 

 

 

The first and only source of rights is the human person, because God created all human beings, men and women, free, brethren, and with a dignity that nobody or anything can take away. All of the rights for all, believers and non-believers, are born from this. You can or can not share what we affirm and we respect that right, but now you know what inspires us. Because when there is no other referent because everything is objectified or is fractured, when what is human is dehumanized, when some try to drown the individual in fear and lies through repressive forces, when a person is thrown into the pits and completely subordinated to isolation in a cell of torture, the light of God, which is the liberating truth, always reaches the hearts of those individuals and nothing can dim it. If I did not say this I would be lacking truth and omitting our experience and that of many of our prison brothers that from faith and through faith have given and continue to give that testimony of liberation.

 

Our call for liberation and the solidarity campaign is for all, without distinction, which have been condemned and imprisoned for peacefully exercising, promoting or defending human rights. This is what those who signed and continue to sign the manifesto “Unity for Freedom,” have proclaimed. The campaign that we promote is not to attract attention to those of us asking for their liberation, but to attract attention to the prisoners and that means explaining what they were doing, so that then the world can understand the complete injustice of these imprisonments. What each of them were doing must be explained, how they worked in independent media, in denouncing injustices, in promoting freedom of information and the dissemination of ideas, in proposing peaceful changes, in civic and legal demands for the guarantee of fundamental rights, like that of the Varela Project and other initiatives. That is why public support for the Resolution that we have proposed to the UN Human Rights Council must continue.

 

This is our first call:

 

We want to urge you all so that you might work arduously to organize a public and sustained campaign for the liberation of all of the peaceful political prisoners, constantly summoning the citizens of all countries, bearing in mind our recommendation of explaining the real causes behind the imprisonments.

 

The imprisonment of the 75 regardless of whatever pretexts are created by the repressive forces, was decided upon in order to try to stop the Varela Project campaign. Although not all of those who were imprisoned on those days participated in this campaign, the majority did. All prisoners deserve the same respect, admiration and solidarity, which is without a doubt. But it would not be fair to the prisoners nor to the tens of thousands of citizens that have bravely signed and continue to sign this project, to omit the fact that the government unleashed the repression and imprisonment of the 75 in order to produce a black spring. Why? Because already a Spring full of light and hope had bloomed, the Spring of liberation, the Cuban Spring.

 

It is disconcerting and inconsistent that the repression, the imprisonments, the defamations and the lack of positive response from the regime towards the Varela Project, has turned, in many cases, nothing more nor less than, in argument or encouragement, to disconnect or to discourage solidarity. If the measurement of solidarity is going to be the response of the government to our demands, then the initiative has been lost, then there would not exist solidarity with our real struggle, but rather with a list of desires and concepts or with a void disguised by an indefinite totality. The measurement of solidarity must be first of all the right of Cubans to have rights and also our determination to continue that and other civic campaigns. During the last months many around the world have spoken and speculated about Cuba taking as their only referent what occurs in the palaces and making predictions and plans for succession and continuance. Again in our history some of the powerful are trying to discard the keystone: the Cuban people.

 

Some accept the pretext of the supposed division of the opposition and the supposed image of passivity of our people, to make their plans over the heads of Cubans that are oppressed by a system without rights.

 

This is our second appeal:

 

Listen and support the manifesto of an important part of the peaceful democratic Cuban opposition: “Unity for the Freedom.” Cubans want peace and freedom, reconciliation and a solution without hate or violence. Bad, very bad are the acts of those who from a position of power abuse this goodwill or who also like vultures take advantage of our disadvantage. Cubans want change and they ask themselves:

 

Why can’t I speak and express myself freely and say that I think differently than the government without being suppressed, if they say that we are in a democracy?

 

Why isn’t my salary enough to feed my family while there is a privileged leadership that lives like the rich?

 

Why can’t I travel abroad freely?

 

Why does the daily routine of making ends meet turn into a crime?

 

Why can’t I live in any part of my Homeland, if I am Cuban?

 

Why if so many of us think differently is there no deputy in the National Assembly who thinks differently and expresses it?

 

Why can a Spanish, Italian, French, Mexican, Canadian or any other foreigner own a company in Cuba and I can’t?

 

Why?

 

Why?

 

An endless series of: Why can’t I, if I want to?

 

I WANT MY RIGHTS

 

Cubans want changes that are peaceful, determined, and decisive, in a sovereign manner by Cubans themselves, without exclusions, for the good of all. The path to achieve this is the civic path, by demanding changes through the law so that the law guarantees all rights.

 

This civic and peaceful path has already begun and it is going to continue regardless of the repression or the circumstances.

 

Many initiatives will arise now to demand the respect of many rights, in this civic path, which is already underway and which includes the promotion of the National Dialogue.

 

The Varela Project campaign, instead of limiting any rights, is the first firm and true step to achieving all rights, because by demanding liberty of expression and association and free elections it calls for the exercise of popular sovereignty. This has materialized in the demand for a Referendum that we will sustain until it is achieved, through the will of thousands of Cubans that supported and continue to support the Varela Project.

 

And this is our third appeal:

 

Listen and be in solidarity with what we are doing and what we will do: CONTINUE THE DEMAND FOR A REFERENDUM ON THE VARELA PROJECT WITHIN THE CAMPAIGN FOR LEGAL DEMANDS FOR RIGHTS WITH THE SIGN: I DO WANT, I WANT MY RIGHTS, I WANT A REFERENDUM. The Cuban Spring will not be stopped; it is the spring of hope.

 

Oswaldo Josť PayŠ Sardiñas

Ernesto Martini Fonseca

Minervo Chil Siret

Francisco de Armas

Julio A. HernŠndez

Carlos Alberto Paya Sardiñas