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Forum for Rights and Freedoms

The repression against the Ladies in White, opposition activists and human rights defenders in Cuba, that we have seen during the last couple of weeks is alarming. The increase of violence from the authorities has come as a result from … Continue reading Continue reading
Unfortunately we do not have the resources to translate and subtitle all the wonderful videos coming out of Estado de Sats and the Forum for Rights and Freedom, but for our many readers who do understand spoken Spanish, we just … Continue reading Continue reading
[1] 14ymedio, 17 April 2105 – This Friday morning, the Forum for Rights and Freedoms convened a group of activists to a meeting under the title After the Summit in Panama, what next?  The event took place at the home of Antonio González Rodiles, director of the opposition group Estado de Sats. About 70 attendees heard testimony from Berta Soler, Jorge Luis Garcia Perez Antunez, Gorki Águila, Roberto de Jesús Guerra and other activists who participated in the Civil Society Forum during the recently concluded Seventh Summit of the Americas in Panama. The discussions addressed issues related to the restoration of relations between Cuba and the United States and on the actions taken by the representatives of civil society sent to Panama by the Cuban government. [1] Continue reading
[1] We condemn the violent events This April 8th groups associated with the Cuban regime tried to sabotage the programmed activities of the Seventh Summit of the Americas. They asserted that they could not share the space with other Cubans who, according to them, were terrorists and mercenaries. These old worn out arguments hide all the intolerance and contempt that totalitarianism has sown toward any Cuban who desires a free country. Then the usual shouts and insults appeared. A few hours later the news circulated that a group of opponents, from the island and the exile, were beating crowds of Castro supporters in a public park. The Cuban regime has constructed a false civil society designed to control and repress, even with violence, the legitimate aspirations of the exercise of freedom of association. The fact that Mr. Abel Prieto, personal advisor to the dictator Raul Castro, was the chief of the delegation, of the supposed official groups of civil society, speaks for itself. From the Forum for Rights and Freedoms we proudly recognize all Cuban artists, intellectuals, activists and politicians who have attended this great event to bring a message of freedom and rights. For the opponents who suffer verbal and physical and aggressions, we offer all our solidarity and support. We appreciate the opportunity provided by the Panamanian government so that Cuban civil society can participate in this event and we hope that it establishes a precedent. The genuine civil society must play its rightful role in our nation. The region is now facing a complex dilemma. We cannot accept the authoritarians as legitimate actors, the challenge is to firmly promote democracy and basic rights. In Cuba, we accept the challenge. Coordinating Council [1] Continue reading
[1] Forum for Rights and Freedoms: Declaration VII Summit of the Americas April 2015 Violations of fundamental rights in Cuba are enshrined in the current legal system. The full exercise of these fundamental rights is considered directly opposed to the interests “of the Cuban people in building socialism and communism.” The so-called constitution establishes the ownership and control of the State and the Communist Party over the communication media and mass distribution. The Law of Protection of National Independence and the Economy of Cuba, known as the Gag Law, sets sentences of up to 20 years for those who attempt to violate this provision. Trade unions, civic, professional and human rights associations that do not profess the official ideology are not recognized. Those who attempt to organize meetings or found independent associations can suffer imprisonment, dismissal, harassment or intimidation. Thousands of Cubans have paid, even with their lives, for trying to exercise their freedoms. The Penal Code defines “pre-criminal dangerousness” and applies it according to the standards of a supposed “socialist morality.” Arrests, imprisonments and beatings of human rights activists, political opponents and independent journalists are recurring. The use of violence on the part of paralegal groups as a form of social control has been one of the most abhorrent practices of the Castro regime. This deplorable experience has been exported to other Latin American nations, as was the case of the Dignity Brigades 25 years ago in Panama, and the so-called Collectives in Venezuela today. Economic rights are also violated and the entrepreneurial capacity and character of Cubans struggling against a regime obsessed with control. Corruption, taxes that smother micro-businesses, total State control over imports and exports, the absence of property rights, make up a part of our scenario. The economic situation is dire. The regime has ratified dozens of international treaties on the issue of Human Rights, although it refuses to ratify the Human Rights Covenants of the United Nations. However, the majority of these standards have not been applied to the legal system, becoming a dead letter. The Castro regime continues to hide fugitives from justice for common crimes and terrorism. It violates international norms as in in the case of the recent arms trafficking and maintains a “complicit silence” about the trafficking of Cubans to the United States through third countries. We do not accept the mutation of a neo-Castro authoritarianism, where the old elite transfers power to its political and family heirs. The sovereignty of our country does not rest on a despotic and corrupt regime. It rests in the people and, in particular, in those of us who fight for a true democracy: with political pluralism, an independent judiciary, freedom and human rights. Where we Cubans can define our destinies through consultations and free and transparent electoral processes, as set out in important opposition documents such as: The Agreement for Democracy, or the Forum for Rights and Freedoms Roadmap. No society can be viable if it oppresses the human being. To accept that there are different interpretations of our freedoms constitutes a tactic that validates authoritarianism as an alternate form to democracy on our continent. We appeal to the solidarity and the just support of the entire regional and international community to initiate the urgent path to the democratization of our nation. [1] Continue reading