Cuba, the Same Ration of Hate / Luis Felipe RojasLuis Felipe Rojas, Translator: Raul G.
This article was written by Luis Felipe Rojas and published on the digital newspaper, Cubaencuentro.
Little time has passed since the conclusion of the VI Cuban Communist Party Congress, and now very few have faith in those promises. In the spectrum known as Social Political, the government does nothing to truly set these reforms in motion.
The general-president, Raul Castro, has made reference to the prohibition of entering and exiting the country as "prohibitions and regulations issued during another moment of the revolutionary process", to mask that judicial monstrosity that is the exit (or entrance) permit of the country. However, nothing is said about the prohibition of traveling freely within the national territory.
What does the local press say about the new flourishing police check points, which were eliminated from the site of human rights inspectors which visited the island during the end of the 80′s? Nothing. If anything, a random local newspaper will refer to them but as "revolutionary measures" taken to impede the growth of the black market.
On innumerable occasions Cuban dissidents have denounced the prohibitions of entering or exiting their own provinces. Jorge Luis Garcia Perez (Antunez) has a police vehicle permanently stationed at the corner of his block in the central municipality of Placetas, Villa Clara. In the police control check point of Rio Frio, at the entrance of Guantanamo, there is a list with names, photos, and political references of nearly a hundred political dissidents in order to keep them from coming in, or getting out, of the city. According to Rolando Rodriguez Lobaina, member of the illegal Eastern Democratic Alliance, the list is activated or dis-activated depending on specific orders from the political police on significant dates or days in which it is presumed that there will be popular protests.
The beatings carried out against various female dissidents (coming from Moa, Holguin, and Palma Soriano) in Santiago de Cuba during the past month, with the objective of keeping them from assisting mass being held in Catholic churches like the Sanctuary of El Cobre or the Cathedral of the province, proves that the government is the one that drowns its own citizens in a sea of illegality.
Which judicial tools does the National Revolutionary Police hide behind in order to surround the homes of dissidents, blocking off entrances, in order to prevent them from participating in commemorative acts convoked by themselves, but patriotic nonetheless?
One would have to search through Law 88 (or the Gag Law) to try to find out what it is about placing flowers under a statue of Jose Marti, or carrying out a public event in a park, or a meeting in one's own living room, that constitutes an attempt against national security.
In regards to the promises of reforming the socialist legislation in terms of migratory issues, the general-president cheers on his supporters and gives them the right to defend the 50 year long project.
"This street belongs to Fidel", or its derivatives like "the streets and universities are for revolutionaries" catalyze hate amongst Cubans. The consequences can be verified in acts as shameful as the mob repudiation attacks, the public beatings carried out by supporters, or the bombardment of eggs, excrement, and paint against the homes of dissidents.
At the beginning of this year, photos were published on the internet of the home of Sara Marta Fonseca, a non-violent dissident who lives in the Havana neighborhood of Rio Verde. Members of the Rapid Response Brigade smeared the facade of the house, the front porch, and the side hallway with tar. When all of this mockery was made public, and when accredited journalists residing in Havana as well as tourists occasionally passed by the house at night to take some photos as if they were trophies, officials from the sinister Department 21 (G2) offered Sara Marta the chance to set up a brigade which would paint the house for her, a proposition which, according to sources from the internal opposition, she declined.
The future effectiveness of Cuban legality will first have to universalize the right of all citizens and rip away all the hate injected into each citizen. Sooner or later, we will have to dismantle that machine which just hurls insults, kicks, and spit.
Translated by Raul G.
16 August 2011
UN ENORME TRIUNFO: ANULAN PROHIBICIÓN DE MOVIMIENTO DE YRIS Y ANTÚNEZ24-06-2011.Angélica Mora
(www.miscelaneasdecuba.net).- La policía política levantó la prohibición de movimiento, que mantenía en arresto domiciliario a la activista Yris Tamara Pérez Aguilera y su esposo Jorge Luis García Pérez Antúnez.
Yris fue expulsada, junto a Antunez, de La Habana a donde había ido para que le realizaran una tomografía del cerebro, debido a que sufre de dolores de cabeza, escasa sensibilidad en manos y pies, mareos, vómitos y pérdida del equilibrio, a consecuencia de golpes recibidos en la cabeza durante un arresto ocurrido el 25 de mayo pasado.
Alborozado con esta victoria, Antúnez expresó en Twitter que:"Verdugos de la tiranía cedieron ante el coraje de Yris y vinieron (a casa) a anular la prohibición de movimiento".
Agregó: "La batalla ganada por Yris: Una clara medida de cuánto puede y obra, la unidad, la solidaridad y la decisión".
Antúnez, quien es líder del Frente Nacional de Resistencia Cívica y Desobediencia Civil "Orlando Zapata Tamayo", declaró que "la resistencia interna cubana celebra con júbilo la victoria obtenida por la opositora Yris Tamara Pérez Aguilera".
La activista, presidenta del Movimiento Femenino por los Derechos Civiles "Rosa Park" habíia sido visitada el miércoles por un grupo de médicos del gobierno.
El opositor anunció que debido a que se anuló la prohibición de movimiento deYris, ésta levanta la huelga de hambre que mantenía desde el lunes pasado a las cuatro de la tarde, hora en que debía haber sido vista por los neurólogos en la clínica de la Habana.
Por último Antúnez indicó que viajarán a la brevedad posible a la capital, para que su esposa reciba la atención requerida de los especialistas.
In Times of Trouble, the Opportunists Win / Luis Felipe RojasLuis Felipe Rojas, Translator: Raul G.
Rolando Rodriguez Lobaina is my friend, and because he refused to leave Cuba a few months ago he has been condemned to suffer various unsuspected dangers which constantly lurk around him. A few days ago I received this letter written by him and I wish to share it with my readers.
Lately, I have been thinking about the journey my brother Nestor and I embarked upon against the Castro dictatorship. We both carried out numerous civic demonstrations against totalitarianism here in Cuba. The last demonstration we both participated in was the campaign dubbed "What are Human Rights?", which was held in accordance with International Human Rights Day celebrated on December 10th 2010. But the day before, my brother was taken to prison as part of a political police strategy to force him to leave the country as finally did occur on April 7th 2011.
Thinking back on that event I also recall that on that December day Eriberto Liranza Romero (who had already substituted my brother Nestor as president of the Cuban Youth for Democracy Movement) was also detained. Eriberto told me that during those days the Chief of Section 21 of State Security in Havana assured him that my brother and I would soon be arrested. Sure enough, months later, on March 16, 2011, I was detained by the National Police while on the road from Guantanamo to Baracoa and then taken to a military barracks and later transferred to a State Security interrogation center located in the province where I was arrested for 3 days. While I was being confined to a prison cell, an ostentatious search with modern search techniques was being carried out in the home of my mother in Baracoa, under the direction of the MININT Delegate, the maximum representative of that organization in the province. The objective was to confiscate a satellite antenna system that provided internet connection access which had been lying somewhere in my mother's house for months, and which I had never got around to using because it was missing pieces, along with the fact that I did not know how to operate it. And because of that device they wanted to accuse me of espionage and other strings of "legal" violations which the police resort to when they want to involve someone in some sort of scandal.
I was released under the condition that the investigations against me would continue, would be processed, and that one day I would be sent back to prison. At that moment I did not understand the condition but as time passed it made sense. It was all a scheme designed to make me leave my country, something that I refuse to do.
During those days my imprisoned and isolated brother awaited his departure from the country along with his family and they allowed me one visit. He informed me that the police and the G2 were pressuring him to convince me to join the group of relatives headed for exile in Spain. My brother informed me that the political police had assured him that I was going to spend long years in prison if I did not leave the country.
In that family visit, which took place in Havana before Nestor's exile, all the relatives who would also leave for Spain were pressured as well to convince me to hop on that "flight" with the rest of them. The words used by the uniformed officials were "we'll turn him into dirt".
But I committed the "sin" of refusing the offer. I believe a few rebels should stay here and make the lives of those who run the totalitarian system impossible.
Because I have chosen not to leave the country and because the regime apparently has a muzzle on in regards to prison terms for dissidents, logic indicates that the path they will most likely take is that of trying to morally, psychologically, and physically destroy me, as they have done with the country, lives, and hopes of all Cubans. I am convinced that I am not the only one.
They resort to any possible method to implement this. They create "dissidents" who attack or question me in order to win a "white card" which would allow them to leave the country and they send delinquents in an attempt to start a complicated situation with me so that they could find a reason which would justify what the political police need in order to imprison me. In recent days I have received harassing calls, reproachful messages, threats of physical aggression and other, no less alarming, suspicious messages having to do with the opposition. It's as if they want to return to the era of violence in the universities during the decade of the 40′s of the past century.
At this point in all the provocations, I know that I am confronting an enemy which is capable of making ashes out of anyone. I know that the regime is not on good terms at all with the people and if they seek to do away with the political scene of the island then they should know that this will not occur with me. I suppose that they included various criminals in the list of political prisoners deported to Spain in order to tarnish our images, the images of those political prisoners, the reasons for which the Cuban people fight for, and the civil movement which has been going on for more than 20 years before the eyes of national and international opinion. Or perhaps those other people in my country who, when it comes to the opposition, lend themselves to collaborate with the oppressive forces in order to receive gifts of white cards or exit permits from the country, all the while becoming loyal to the slogan "when the river overflows then there are earnings for the fishermen".
It's not the first time they resort to campaigns which degrade our images in an attempt to exasperate the legal bases of our cause, whether it be accusations of improper handling of funds which are aimed at assisting pro-democracy programs on the island or some other bad-intentioned ruse. I denounce ETECSA (Cuban telecommunications company), which is a business run by no other than Ramiro Valdes, Castro's strongman, when it comes to controlling communication and internet in Cuba. He is also an accomplice of stealing 5 cellphones from my home, which was part of a political police operation against me, seizing my belongings to study them in a criminal forensic lab.
I have always said that we Cubans, those of us in or outside of the island, will fix our country. But we must start right now. That is why we must find how to make our struggle more effective without shifting our attention from the pillars which move society, maybe even the refugee program should be an option so it won't serve as a trampoline for the heartless, with all due respect for all those who are politically persecuted. I will never forget that I am one of them.
Now, more than ever, is a decisive point for the future of Cuba, and it will not be through paternalism or dietetic romanticism that we will achieve freedom for our country. It is clear that the regime is trying all in its power to diminish the street confrontations between the opposition and the oppressive forces. But it will not be successful in its attempt to stop my activism because I have a responsibility with my people.
I must remind my enemies that the freedom cause in the island has its foundations in all the fecund deaths which sowed the seeds which would pass on to future generations, based on the morals of Varela, Marti, Jose Antonio Echeverria, Boitel, Zapata, and Soto. And continued by so many like Farinas, Antunez, Liranza, Sara Marta, Caridad Caballero, Marta Diaz Rondon, and many others out of a list of names (of humble people) impossible for me to mention in this small piece of civic resistance called "the digital world".
Let me be clear: If something happens to me, only the Cuban government is responsible. For those who are analyzing the direction of the measures which favor them, it's time to step aside. It is crucial that we all help to create awareness about the importance of the struggle for democracy on the island.
Translated by Raul G.
22 June 2011
YRIS, LA ESPOSA DE ANTÚNEZ, SE DECLARA EN HUELGA DE HAMBRE21-06-2011.Angélica Mora
(www.miscelaneasdecuba.net).- La activista Yris Tamara Pérez Aguilera, esposa de Jorge Luis García Pérez "Antúnez", se declaró en huelga de hambre a las cuatro de la tarde de este lunes.
Antúnez dijo que Yris inició su ayuno indefinido para exigir atención médica "con dignidad y libertad de movimiento".
Explicó que a las 4 de la tarde de este lunes su esposa tenía un turno médico de neurología en el Hospital de La Habana para que le realizaran una tomografía del cráneo.
Como Yris no pudo salir de la vivienda -donde la pareja está bajo arresto domiciliario desde el día domingo- inició en protesta una huelga de hambre indefinida exigiendo atención médica "con dignidad y libertad de movimiento".
Agregó que su esposa le envió el recado que "se le diga a todos que no se preocupen, al igual que Boitel y Zapata solo tengo dos alternativas rendirme o resistir, opté resistir".Y terminó diciendo:"Pedir a los represores que me dejen salir o explicarle que vamos a un turno médico sería inaceptable y evidente colaboración con la tiranía".
The war against the freedom fighting coupleBy Babalublog on 06/20/2011 – 5:25 am PDT — Headlines
Uncommon Sense has more on the war being waged against Antúnez and his wife Iris; husband and wife freedom fighters who together risk their lives in the struggle against tyranny in Cuba.
Castro dictatorship at war with husband-wife freedom fighters
Two of the most fearless fighters in Cuba against the Castro dictatorship are former political prisoner Jorge Luis Garcia Perez “Antunez” and his wife Iris Tamara Pérez Aguilera.
Which explains why regime spares no effort to try to keep the couple under control — up to and including threatening their very lives, as evidenced by events on Sunday.
Via Radio Marti and Twitter, Antunez reports that he and Iris, along with fellow activist Eriberto Liranza, were arrested and detained in Havana. The couple had traveled to the capital so that Iris could undergo medical tests for symptoms she has suffered since she was beaten by police earlier this month.
This is Cuba, where Cubans don’t have the right to travel wherever they want, so the police ordered Antunez and Iris expelled back to their hometown of Placetas. Liranza’s whereabouts were unknown, according to Antunez’s tweets.
Antunez and his wife rarely let the regime have the final say about what they do and this time is no exception.
Via Twitter, Antunez said Iris is prepared to start a hunger strike until she is allowed to receive the care she needs.
URGENTE: LA SEGURIDAD DEL ESTADO DETUVO A ANTUNEZ Y SU ESPOSA19-06-2011.Angélica Mora(www.miscelaneasdecuba.net).- Según da a conocer José Daniel Ferrer García ex preso político del grupo de los 75, en su cuenta Twitter, fueron detenidos José Luis Garcia Pérez "Antunez" y su esposa Yris Pérez Aguilera del Movimiento Feminista por los Derechos Civiles Rosa Park.La denuncia la hizo el tambien ex preso político Angel Moya de la misma causa de los 75. La pareja de opositores fueron arrestados en La Habana.
Mensaje del Twitter: jdanielferrer jose daniel ferrer:angel moya denuncia arresto de antunez e iris en La Habana.
Antúnez asediado en La HabanaFriday, June 17, 2011 | Por Jose Alberto Alvarez
LA HABANA, Cuba, 17 de junio (José Alberto Álvarez Bravo, www.cubanet.org) –El disidente Eriberto Liranza Romero, en una llamada telefónica realizada a las 12 de la noche del 15 de junio de 2011, informó que su vivienda se encontraba bajo el asedio de un nutrido operativo de la policía política.
Según informó el joven opositor, el motivo de este asedio fue la presencia en su domicilio del matrimonio integrado por los también opositores Jorge Luis García Pérez (Antúnez) e Iris Tamara Pérez Aguilera.
El matrimonio viajó a la capital cubana para recibir asistencia médica, ya que Pérez Aguilera fue golpeada por partidarios del gobierno durante un acto de repudio en Placetas, su ciudad de residencia, quedándole secuelas que precisan de atención facultativa.
Incessant Activism (and Repression)at 11:02 AM Friday, May 27, 2011
Yesterday, the Castro regime arrested 13 pro-democracy activists in the city of Santa Clara, as they held a peaceful march in honor of deceased political prisoners.
Amongst those arrested were Guillermo Farinas (recipient of the European Parliament's 2011 Sakharov Prize), Jorge Luis Garcia Perez (Antunez) and Librado Linares Garcia (one of the 11 political prisoners released within Cuba last year).
Meanwhile, in the town of Placetas, Yris Tamara Perez Aguilera (head of the Rosa Parks Feminist Movement), was brutally beaten and arrested along with two other female activists.
Here's an eye-witness account from one of her colleagues, who was subsequently released:
"Yris was the subject of a brutal beating by a State Security official known as 'the weightlifter.' Her hands were numb, she was vomiting, had headaches, dizziness, she's epileptic, has diabetes and asthma. We don't know where they took her. We don't know if she died, or what conditions they left her in."
Perez Aguilera's whereabouts remain unknown.
More "reform" you can't believe in.
Antúnez denuncia asedio de efectivos policiales a su vivienda
"Quieren evitar el importante encuentro que tendrá lugar del Frente Nacional de Resistencia Cívica Orlando Zapata", informó el opositor desde Placetas
Redacción CE, Madrid | 09/05/2011
El líder opositor Jorge Luis García Pérez (Antúnez) denunció este lunes que su vivienda, en la localidad de Placetas, provincia de Villa Clara, ha sido asediada por "efectivos de la policía política".
En un mensaje divulgado a través de la web Háblalo sin miedo, el disidente señaló que los agentes "no dejan salir ni entrar a nadie" y que fueron arrestados cerca de su casa los opositores Caridad Caballero Batista y Martha Díaz Rondón, quienes venían desde Holguín, y Luis Raúl Risco Pérez, de Pinar del Río.
"Quieren evitar el importante encuentro que tendrá lugar del Frente Nacional de Resistencia Cívica Orlando Zapata aquí en mi vivienda en Placetas", informó Antúnez.
Además, durante la madrugada, Antúnez afirmó en su cuenta de Twitter que también habían detenido cerca de su casa a Héctor Nodarse Suárez y a Melvin Mulen, del opositor Partido 30 de Noviembre.
Otro mensaje, esta vez firmado por Alejandro Tur, revela que "una turba" asaltó la casa de Antúnez y se escucharon "gritos" de "Zapata y Boitel viven".
No obstante, la propia web Háblalo sin miedo aclara que "no han podido verificar la autenticidad" de este último mensaje procedente de la Isla.
Estos sucesos ocurren tras la muerte en la madrugada del domingo del opositor Juan Wilfredo Soto García, quien fue sepultado ayer en el cementerio de Santa Clara bajo un fuerte operativo policial, según fuentes de la disidencia. Varios opositores permanecían reunidos en la vivienda de Antúnez y esperaban la llegada de otros procedentes de diferentes lugares del país.
Diario Las AmericasPublicado el 04-15-2011
La resistencia cubana: del pensamiento a la acción
En Cuba, dentro de los importantes proyectos e iniciativas civilistas, cabe destacar por su impacto y resultado, el de las coaliciones regionales que, ubicadas en las diversas regiones del país, han logrado aglutinar a las fuerzas vivas de la oposición en sus respectivas zonas y han realizado un trabajo unitario y de concientización de la ciudadanía que le han valido el respeto y la simpatía de una población que los apoya y admira.
Las cinco provincias orientales: Las Tunas, Granma, Holguín, Santiago de Cuba y Guantánamo conforman la Alianza Democrática Oriental. La región agramontina la compone la Unidad Camagüeyana de Derechos Humanos. Asimismo la provincias del centro: Villa Clara, Sancti Spiritus, Cienfuegos, Matanzas y Ciego de Ávila están agrupadas en la Coalición Central Opositora y la más occidental de las provincias cuenta con la Alianza Pinareña de Derechos Humanos. En la capital, organizaciones contestatarias como el Movimiento Cubano de Jóvenes por la Democracia, el Partido Pro Derechos Humanos Afiliado a la Fundación Andrei Sajarov o el Frente de Línea Dura representan, entre otras, a cubanos y cubanas con nuevos bríos para luchar por la libertad.
Las acciones generadas por estas coaliciones y grupos han demostrado que por todo el país existe una nueva hornada de liderazgo opositor, de cubanos sencillos y modestos que aglutinan a su alrededor seguidores y con su valor estremecen los cimientos de la dictadura.
Como colofón a tan nobles esfuerzos se logró constituir en Cuba por vez primera una iniciativa y esfuerzo colegiado de importantes factores de cambio, y que, sin ninguna estructura centralizada y un sabio respeto a las autonomías de cada región y grupo, ha logrado conformar el Frente
Nacional de Resistencia Cívica y Desobediencia Civil Orlando Zapata Tamayo, una unidad en acción y consenso cuyas actividades y resultados demuestran que sí se puede luchar en las calles y rompe ese erróneo mito de que la oposición interna está dividida.
Este Frente, que aún se está fortaleciendo, ha estremecido con sus acciones a escala nacional a la propia dictadura que ha volcado contra el mismo los más virulentos ataques y la represión contra sus integrantes. Desde las escalinatas de la Universidad de La Habana o de la Biblioteca Rubén Martínez Villena en Sancti Spiritus, en las del Capitolio Nacional, hasta las calles y parques de toda Cuba se han hecho sentir las actividades del Frente. Protestando por las calles camagüeyanas cuando Zapata Tamayo agonizaba; frente a la Prisión Provincial de Holguín; en las marchas en Matanzas y Santa Clara se ha hecho presente la lucha del Frente. Ayudando a los desalojados, los desplazados, los jubilados, los miserables de este pueblo que tanto sufre, los miembros del Frente abren paso a la esperanza.
Con el firme convencimiento que las calles son del pueblo y que todos somos Resistencia se ha puesto en práctica nuestra estrategia que transita del pensamiento a la acción, de la disidencia a la resistencia.
Jorge Luis García Pérez "Antunez", ex prisionero político, asesor principal de la Coalición Central Opositora y Secretario General del Frente Nacional de Resistencia Cívica y Desobediencia Civil Orlando Zapata Tamayo.
Jimmy Carter's "Ignominious Report"By Alberto de la Cruz on 04/07/2011 – 8:59 am PDT
Outrageous. Offensive to the intelligence, value, and sacrifices of those who honorably oppose the tyrannical government of the Castro brothers. That's how I describe the report made by former US president Jimmy Carter upon concluding his visit to Cuba.
In the insulting one-thousand-seven-hundred-forty-two (1,742) word report, the most famous peanut vendor in the world only used sixty-six (66) of these words to mention the reunion he had with those who risk their lives to achieve freedom and democracy for the injured Cuban people.
He was not capable of even respecting, honoring the humility, decency, sincerity, modesty, and honesty of the peaceful dissidents and opposition members he met with.
The document, which many consider to be an accomplice of the Cuban military dictatorship, did not mention a single word on the declarations made by the blogger Yoani Sanchez about "the necessity for freedom of expression and free access to the internet for all Cubans".
The Declaration of All Cubans, handed in by the leader of the Christian Liberation Movement, Oswaldo Paya, was also ignored. This declaration states that, "We (dissidents) are subjected to the heavy fire of repression, threats, slander, exclusion, and forced silence in media outlets within the country and even many stations outside of Cuba".
In regards to the upcoming Cuban Communist Party Congress, the Declaration of Paya assures that, "The Congress of a party which condones mechanisms which rob the freedom of an entire nation which impose a culture of fear, condemns the poorest inhabitants to even deeper poverty, and removes their voice so that they can't even denounce that they are poor…a Congress like that cannot represent an entire country. The real Congress of the entire country will happen when there are free and democratic elections presided over by changes in the laws which would guarantee all rights for all Cubans in an atmosphere of reconciliation and transparency which would cultivate peace, fraternity, and justice in Cuba…" Not a single one of these words were included in the ignominious report penned by Mr. Carter.
Why does Fidel Castro's friend not mention the Declaration of All Cubans in his report? Could it be that the Cuban government prohibited him from doing so, the same way that many others think they prohibited him from meeting with Guillermo Farinas, Martha Beatriz Roque Cabello, Jorge Luis Garcia Perez Antunez, and Reina Luisa Tamayo, mother of Orlando Zapata Tamayo, the martyr who was assassinated in prison by representatives of the Castro brothers, in the same way that he was kept from meeting with many other dignified peaceful dissidents and opposition activists, who on a daily basis face the obstacles thrust in their way by those who rule Cuba the same way a warden would run his farm.
I am not going to mention other reports by honorable Cubans in regards to the reality of the largest of the Antilles, for if I resort to doing so this article will go on forever.
I will also not comment about what Mr. Carter refers in his report because, contrary to his actions, I am not a spokesperson for the government that has assassinated the most people in all of the Republican history of "the most beautiful land ever seen by human eyes". If anyone wants to read his statements they can find it on the internet.
I will only let myself say that Mr. Carter and his report have only proved correct those who have criticized him for many years due to his sympathetic attitude towards some of the cruelest regimes that have ever existed. Some have said that Carter sickens them, while others suggest that he is an Agent of Influence for the Castro brothers.
I am only paraphrasing our apostle, Jose Marti, and am expressing that whoever remains silent in the face of the crime is just as criminal as he who perpetrates it, more so when that person is an accomplice of the criminal.
I assure Carter that the friend of the enemies of my country are not my friends.
Posted on Tuesday, 03.15.11
How best to empower Cuba's civil resistanceBY ORLANDO GUTIERREZ-BORONAT
People-power revolutions have changed the political landscape of the world over the last 25 years. Most, such as those in formerly Communist Central and Eastern Europe, have succeeded. Others, as in China and Burma, have failed for now.
In those where violence has broken out, it has been instigated by a repressive regime rather than by the peaceful protesters who began the movements. Where political change has been brought about civil resistance, democracy seems to have taken a deeper hold.
Nonviolent popular revolutions have sprung from sustained civil-resistance struggles. Wishful thinking did not cause these transitions to materialize out of thin air. They were not products of improvisation or spontaneous fortune. Disciplined and committed networks of nonviolent human-rights activists worked courageously for years in spite of persecution and repression to inspire populations, to organize them along lines that constituted an alternative to regime control and to propagate a consciousness that would result in increasingly active noncooperation by the members of those oppressed societies.
The final acts in these social processes have brought us the dramatic images of courageous people taking their sovereignty back from the grip of autocracy.
As many look at the most recent wave of civic defiance in the Middle East they wonder whether Cuba will be next, as well they should. Many of the key factors present in other regime transformations are also present on the island. Widespread citizen noncooperation confirms what survey after survey indicates: Cubans desire to exercise their individual freedoms, and they are frustrated by a political and economic system that refuses to truly open.
Additionally, Cuban streets have been the stage for mass demonstrations, as took place in 1980 in the Peruvian Embassy in Havana, in 1994 along the Havana sea wall known as El Malecon, and in 2006 when the people of Madruga rallied to defend their neighbors.
These instances of large-scale protests by the Cuban people are important, but they are not the most significant development in Cuba's path toward freedom. What is critical is that an extensive civil-resistance movement has flowered throughout the island. As the release of dozens of political prisoners over the past months shows, the resistance has gained traction in its efforts. Many of these organizations of human-rights defenders have come together in the National Civic Resistance Front, led by former political prisoner Jorge Luis Garcia Perez "Antunez."
If the Cuban people are to have an opportunity, as befits them, to live in freedom and dignity, then this citizen vanguard needs support.
This week, the Assembly of the Cuban Resistance, which brings together some of the main pro-democracy organizations of the Cuban-exile community, will do its part to help those on the island by beginning a drive titled "We All Are the Resistance" ( Todos Somos Resistencia) for private support, on a person-to-person basis, for those in Cuba who are leading the civil-resistance struggle for freedom.
Key artists in this community such as Willy Chirino, Donato Poveda, Lissette and Luisa Maria Guell, as well as prominent civic leaders such as former Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart, have lent their voices and personal support to this important effort. They know that without money with which to transport activists, aid families of political prisoners and empower civil society with the technology to connect to the outside world the already heroic nonviolent fight of Cuba's dissidents becomes even more difficult.
This aid cannot depend on the ups and downs of the foreign policy of any one state, but instead on the steadfast conviction of Cubans that freedom and democracy are intimately tied to their very sense of solidarity and national identity and to the help that we, as free citizens close to their shores, can offer them.
History has thoroughly ratified what ethics indicate: It is freedom and not tyranny that is the best guarantor of stability. Without the peace that Cubans need to live their lives as they see fit, Cuba will continue to be an unpredictable den of oppression doomed to become a failed state.
Orlando Gutierrez-Boronat is a member of the Secretariat of the Assembly of the Cuban Resistance in Miami.