The Spanish foreign minister’s snubbing of Cuban dissidents during a trip to Havana earlier this month, inspired some of the island’s most prominent dissident leaders to set aside their differences and present a common front against the dictatorship, and for liberty. “Unity for Liberty” expresses the common goals of the opposition, and their shared commitment to democracy and freedom.
The Cuban American National Foundation explains why this is a big deal:
This proclamation of unity amid ideological diversity is an extraordinary expression of political maturity and democratic commitment, so vital at a time when the Castro regime has renewed efforts to refurbish its tarnished image in the light of deteriorating international public opinion.
With this proclamation, the internal opposition has demonstrated its ability to respond in real terms to events on the island nation, filling a political void as defenders of the true interests of the people of Cuba by promoting democracy, human rights, and economic prosperity.
The CANF views this opening as a significant step towards the establishment of a free society in Cuba and is wholeheartedly in agreement with the spirit and letter of this statement. Furthermore, the Cuban American National Foundation wishes to extend a hand in friendship to the signers of “United for Liberty” and offers to assist in future projects that may originate from this initiative, in accordance with the principles expressed therein. We hope the document will be well received by all Cubans who continue to struggle for these same democratic ideals, whether inside the island or in exile.
I never have believed that differences among dissident leaders on questions like whether it was possible to negotiate with the dictatorship, made the opposition weak. That was only possible if those involved allowed the dictatorship, with the help of some in the media and other useful idiots, to exploit those differences to their advantage. Otherwise, the dissidents were just being good democrats, debating and putting forth their positions, in order to give a Cubans a choice of what should be their path to freedom.
Hopefully, “Unity for Liberty” will help do away with the doubts about whether the opposition, which now is united but still not monolithic, has what it takes to lead.