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ICDC members Havel, Walesa and Aznar release declaration

2006-10-02 / Roisin Joyce

On 15th September 2006, ICDC released aproclamation signed by ICDC members Václav Havel, former president of the Czech Republic; José María Aznar, former prime minister of Spain; and Lech Walesa, former president of Poland.  

"We, the undersigned, would like to express our concern about recent events in Cuba which have lead to changes within the highest echelons of the communist power structures. We are convinced that these changes do not represent the transformation of the totalitarian state but simply the succession of totalitarian power. Therefore, we call on the international community to maintain pressure on the authorities in Havana to support democratic change, release all political prisoners and facilitate free multiparty elections.

As citizens of countries that once suffered under left or right-wing totalitarian rule, we have learnt that if a government only implements surface changes, such as in Cuba, there is the risk of turmoil and the possibility of reinforcing a regime that violates human rights. We call on the democratic nations of America and the European Union; the Commission for Human Rights in Cuba designated by the Commissary for Human Rights of the United Nations; the Organization of American States (OAS); and prestigious organizations and promoters of human rights to support the Cuban people when a veritable process of transition to democracy takes place on the island.

Now more than ever before, Cuban democratic leaders, headed by Oswaldo Payá Sardinas, Martha Beatriz Roque, Vladimiro Roca, Elizardo Sánchez Santa Cruz or the women of Damas de Blanco, may become victims of a regime which is fearful of its future and continues to hold many opponents and independent journalists in prison. Therefore, it is vital that authorities from democratic countries, the international media and civil society protect the fate of these Cubans who represent hope for non-violent change on the island."

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