Cuban dissidents launch a grassroots initiative to fight against totalitarianism

A woman promotes the Five Freedoms against Totalitarianism initiative.

A group of Cuban dissidents have launched an initiative called Five Freedoms Against Totalitarianism, a grassroots campaign to unite Cubans in the struggle to end communist tyranny on the island.

Via Diario de Cuba:

Five freedoms against totalitarianism in Cuba: a grassroots initiative

The new movement aims to unite Cubans of all kinds to, first of all, put an end to ‘five forms of internal state subjugation’.

On Thursday an anti-regime group launched the Five Freedoms (5L) citizens’ initiative against Totalitarianism, “the people’s answer to the economic package,” which offers solutions to overcome the serious socio-economic crisis suffered by Cubans and put an end to the oligarchic state of GAESA.

This new type of popular resistance movement is non-violent, proactive, inclusive and massive, as defined by activist Iván Hernández Carrillo, one of its promoters, and seeks to bring together “workers, agricultural laborers, students, entrepreneurs, public employees, retirees and even military and communist militants” to force “the tiny political elite to immediately and unconditionally undertake real and profound change in Cuban society,” not referring to Cuba’s civil servants, but rather to the system they have been administrating for 65 years.

In order to “curb hunger and prevent violence,” the initiative focuses “in a first stage, on the path to full freedom,” on the “destatization of Cuba” and is based on five basic freedoms that, in turn, would put an end to “five forms of internal state subjugation.”

Thus, “freedom from terror” consists of an “end to repression and the one-party political dictatorship;” “economic freedom,” of an “end to the internal restrictions on free enterprise; “freedom of expression,” of the “end of censorship;” “freedom association,” of an “end to the prohibition of citizen organizations;” and “freedom of movement,” of an “end to exile and the exclusion from Cuba’s exiles as a community.”

According to Hernández Carrillo, the 5L (5 Libertades) movement arose amidst the new social unrest that began with the historic 11-J protests, which revealed that “there are millions of citizens who need and demand change, even if they are not associated with dissident organizations.”

“It is necessary for this massive force for change to be able to point to a set of widely supported demands underpinning their spontaneous actions,” added Hernández Carrillo in the presentation of the initiative, which includes a demand for immediate and total freedom for all Cuban political prisoners.

According to the independent trade unionist, the movement’s demands and approaches presented on Thursday “are based on previous study of documentation issued over several decades by pro-democracy organizations, both on the island and in exile.” Without being new, “they represent a careful selection of those demands that are coming to the fore today, in the midst of this crisis, and about which there has always been solid consensus.”

According to the activist, “identifying with common demands will facilitate the actions – complementary, autonomous and non-centralized – of many citizens who today, whether they belong to an organization or not, want to multiply their efforts to end the totalitarian system that is at the root of the current crisis.”

In the 5Ls “there is no formal membership that can be infiltrated by the oppressors, nor do the participants have to reveal their identities to others. Their actions are not placed on a predetermined public calendar, which would facilitate the efforts of those who would crack down on them,” said Hernández Carrillo.

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