Call for a Plebiscite in Cuba…

as a means to resolve the dilemma between Continuity vs. Change

By Osmel Ramirez Alvarez

Continuity or Change

HAVANA TIMES – Spurred by recent events in Cuba, a group of Cuban citizens without ties to pro-government politics or opposition organizations are creating a “proposal for a National Plebiscite as a way out of the crisis our people suffer; and we have created a civilian platform “Cubanos Por el Cambio”, for this end.


Something unprecedented happened on July 11th: a widespread and spontaneous social uprising, in spite of the Cuban Communist Party government’s strict social control.

The price of “calming down” these protests is condemnable and a peaceful and just path forward is needed for the crisis we are experiencing, thereby preventing greater bloodshed, and suffering for Cuban families.

Thus, the proposal for a PLEBISCITE, so that the Cuban people are the ones to decide which path we follow, with their votes.

The objective is “that the Cuban people won’t need to take to the streets again to demand “freedom” or “change” amidst the pandemic, there won’t be any more victims of violence, and conflicts and differences between Cubans will be settled peacefully at the ballot box.”

In order to do this, we have drawn up a “7-point plan”:

1) The Communist Party (PCC) Government (via the Council of State) will need to call a popular referendum that must take place within two months of the call, asking the population the following: – whether they want to continue with the current socio-political system; – or whether they want to change it for a different one, (CONTINUITY vs CHANGE).

2) The plebiscite must be monitored by international observers, and no matter what the result, this must be a preface to the end of the US embargo, which by the way would no longer have any grounds.

3) Once the plebiscite has been called, popular protests must stop so that the election expresses public opinion, and there must be respect and dialogue between every political actor – both pro-government and the opposition, in and outside of Cuba; but nothing should be used as an excuse for the plebiscite to not take place and its objectives not to be met.

Cubans for a Change. – For a new social pact. – For a new nation project. – For a New Cuba.

4) Repression must end in all its forms, so that an atmosphere that favors tolerance and respect is created. Every political prisoner detained beforehand and those arrested in the protests must be released, pardoned or amnestied; and in the run-up to the election, no political opponent or citizen must be arrested or kidnapped, nor can independent journalists be prevented from doing their job during the referendum.

5) Propaganda in favor of one option or another can only be disseminated online and on one radio/TV show: Mesa Redonda; with a debate every Saturday between 6 – 8 PM, where advocates of both options can equally participate; and no other [State] media platform can be used, so that they are both equally defended; and there will be no public events, so as to prevent the spread of COVID-19 infections.

6) The PCC government must legitimately organize Cuban society if 50% or more vote for CONTINUITY; but if the opposite occurs, they must respect the binding nature of the referendum and its commitment to our people and the International Community, allowing a democratic transition of power.

7) If the CHANGE option wins with 50%, or more of the vote, another popular referendum will be held in the same way, so that the Cuban people can decide their future political system; which must be held within three months and the PCC will have the right to present a new proposal for a democratic project/country; and the opposition can present one option or many options for a democratic project/country, with the support of only a thousand voters needed.

Let the outcome be what the Cuban people really want!

Please join us at this link.


Read more from Osmel Ramirez here on Havana Times.

32 thoughts on “Call for a Plebiscite in Cuba…

  • Carlyle. And you say I’m empty of ideas! I support Osmel in his campaign for a referendum because I think it is a realistic and peaceful way forward for Cuba. I think it is also in the interests of the Cuban authorities to move things forward. I do actually care about the Cuban people and don’t want them to descend into civil war, lawlessness and crime. You on the other hand seem to hate them for being Catholics.

    If I was Diaz-Canel I would announce that a referendum would be held in the next year as soon as the pandemic has been sorted. This would give enough time to negotiate the ending of the blockade/embargo. I have already said what the question would be. “Do you support the current constitution?”.

    I don’t see that this is at all relevant, but I last visited Cuba about five years ago for two weeks. I would like to visit more often but I care about the damage to the environment from long-haul flights. However, I am in touch with people in Cuba on a weekly basis.

  • dani is empty of ideas, his sole claim is that he recommends holding a referendum in Cuba. He does so, safe in the knowledge that no such action is possible under communist rule, and to distract attention away from his support for the regime. He scoffs at the suggestion that given time, the Cuban regime will rot from within, describing such a view as “negativity and insults”. So do tell everybody dani, just when you anticipate Miguel Diaz-Canel holding a referendum and what the question ought to be ? Incidentally, when did you last visit Cuba and for how long ?

  • And you Carlyle haven’t changed much from the usual negativity and insults. From what I understand your position seems to be this. Cubans don’t do anything just wait until the country disintegrates into chaos and then everything will be fantastic. I happen to think that Osmel is absolutely right and the most intelligent and perceptive contributor here. I support his efforts and wish him the very best of luck. Is there anything wrong with that?

  • I was at home in Cuba on July 11. No evidence has been producd to demonstrate pre-planning of the demonstration in San Antonio de Los Banos, or others that followed it, including the one in our own community – we became aware that something strange was going on when all normal traffic ceased. The opinions given above reflect that the regular contributors have not changed their respective views about the merits/demerits of the communist dictatorship. I am pleased to note that Nick appears to be well, as I understand that he has been seriously ill. I continue to share his concerns about Donald J. Trump and his desire to change the US into a fascist dictatorship – and for the people who suffer under totalitarian repression, it makes little difference whether it is communist or fascist – both are evil. dani remains out of touch with reality. Suggesting a referendum in a communist dictatorship is imagining that pigs might fly. Imagine the Castro regime (it still is that – who is head of the military?), to “respects the self determination of the Cuban people”! Stephen provides a detailed analysis of continuity or change. But there will be no change! Brad is succinct and correct! The Communist Party is concerned solely about retention of Power and Control. There is no “balanced view” about that Nick!

  • Plebiscito convocado por el castrismo en dos meses, solo serviría como pantomina para que el castrimso se reafirme en el poder. En todo caso harian falta por lo menos 6 meses de plenas libertades de expresión, asociación, elección y actividad economica, algo que sería iluso esperar de ese desgobierno. Ah, que un ala se disocie del castrismo y declare pleno respeto a la libertades y derechos del pueblo y luego convoque a elecciones es otra cosa.

  • Olga,
    I am now going to say for the final time on this thread:
    1. Historically, recently and currently, right wing governments within The Americas (let’s say from the Canada/US border southwards) have been just as poor, if not worse, than left wing governments.
    2. You have a different opinion. Which you are entirely entitled to have.
    3. To go back to the article, I think some kind of plebiscite is not a bad idea.

  • ForGod sake Nick I didn’t say what you are suggesting , you asked the question why some capitalist country have a poor economy and I numbered the reason why I think. dictatorships left winger or Right winger are horrendous I want you get that clear. But I asked you a question and you didn’t respond instead you mentioned Bolsonaro and Trump. Well nick I didn’t vote for Trump or Hillary because I didn’t like neither one and I don’t live in Brazil. But I supported the policy of Trump to Cuban Dictatorship and hope Biden will not change it. Obama gave a lot to the Cuban regimen and exchange for more repression to the dissidents only. So one more time: Why every hard core leftist government have failed and the one in power are Trough repression?

  • Olga ,
    Like I have said, we shall never agree.
    You are suggesting that the worst regimes in the world are the leftist ones.
    That’s your opinion.
    Your Bolsonaro is destroying the amazon. And your trump wanted to destroy Alaska.
    Both tried to deny the existence of Covid.
    You wish to state that the only bad governments are leftist ones. Again I don’t have a problem with the fact that you have this opinion.
    But I do look at the facts. Who’s gonna do the real damage. Who’s gonna destroy staff that can never be recovered or fixed?
    Olga, the facts don’t back up your opinions.
    I’m not gonna suggest that all left wing governments are necessarily better than right wing governments. But I do suggest that they are not necessarily any worse either.
    Just different.

  • Nick, you didn’t ask me the question but I’m going to tell you why some capitalist country have not succeeded.
    Natural resources, corruption, poor or slow industrialization, lack of tourism, religious interference. But despite of lack economic growth, everyone in every capitalist country can see any film they wanted, read any books, written anything political or not, travel to any part of the world, humans rights, the right to protest, free association, multiple political parties, free speech, and on. Of course they were horrible right wing dictatorships in Latin America that today are gone.The only Dictatorships in L.A. today are leftist. Nicaragua, Venezuela, Cuba.
    Now Nick would you tell me why every single country that have adopted the “socialist” centralized economic system from the URSS to North Corea have failed? China is a communist dictatorship with a capitalist economy. And in Vietnam people just survive under a semi capitalist economy. So Cuba was very successful Before 1959 the Fourth economy in the Western Hemisphere, this regime has already had 62 years to make something work in it and nothing works except repression.

  • Circles,
    As I have said on many occasions, I am a big fan of the USA and Cuba. Two of my favourite countries in the world (I’ve never been to Nicaragua).
    Neither the USA nor Cuba are in any way perfect. Both have different but sizeable flaws.
    You say that the USA is more democratic than Cuba.
    I would, with certain reservations, agree with you.
    But I referred specifically to the recent trump regime. This bunch lost respect for what you refer to as U.S. democracy. Their millions of followers believe that President Biden is in the White House due to a fixed election. This bunch tried to bring the curtain down on U.S. democracy.
    Thankfully they did not succeed. But you bet your bottom dollar that this remains their long term objective. The polarisation within the USA is alarming.
    Regarding Cuba, as I have said, I hope this violence doesn’t escalate. I have spoken to several people in Cuba since the day of protests. They are overwhelmingly concerned that the violence may escalate.
    Although I have no say in the matter myself, I would be cool with some type of plebiscite similar to that suggested by Osmel, the author of this article (who often writes wonderful pieces and incidentally, describes himself as a socialist).

  • Brad,
    You make the same point again.
    You are very consistent.
    And you are consistently unable to answer my question.
    Why are there so many failing Capitalist states?
    Why are so many places at the bottom of the capitalist ladder in abject, grinding poverty with little or no safety net for the destitute?

  • Quote:
    “2) The plebiscite must be monitored by international observers, and no matter what the result, this must be a preface to the end of the US embargo, which by the way would no longer have any grounds.”

    Osmel, depsite the best intentions it is naive to think that the US “would no longer have any grounds’ to maintain the embargo. The embargo is not because Cuba is communist. It was enacted when it wasn’t for a start and if this was the intention they would do it in China. But instead all the US companies rushed to China a couple of years after the Tienamen square riots. The embargo is only because a small nation took a strong stand and did not allowed the US to continue ruling it. It was a strong signal to all the planet that could not be tolarated by the US totalitarian hegemonism. In all measures the embargo is a war situation. So any such evolution of the situation in Cuba must be performed on the basis that the US will try by all means to control the countrly economically, politically and miltarily. And the Miami Cuban mafia will push for this, just look at what the Miami mayor suggested recently in public: An invasion like Panama. So, the plan as you describe it, will simply open the doors to foreign intervention (like Panama as the Miami mayor wishes), a quick sold out of all the assests of the country (like Russia) and the establishment of a US-based oligarchy that will rule Cuba (like the good old times of Batista). Have no doubt about this. What should happen? I belive the path is to continue and reinforce political efforts for democratic evolution that will include PCC, maintain the country’s independence relying on the friendly countries that have helped Cuba over the years and stengthen the relationship with the majority of the American people who feel unrelated and really dislike the current position of the US imposed by the cubans of Miami.
    Thanks you for the podium.

  • Nick i am in Canada. Arch-capitalist? Haha funny
    You don’t understand democracy, freedom of expression, multi-party elections, market economy none of which Cuba has.
    Who are communist Cuba’s allies?

    All tyrannies it’s like you aren’t following anything going on Nick.

    The communists have no intention of ever allowing freedom.
    They would be tossed out in a few days.

  • Nick after living in all three I do feel the Trump administration (read the US system of government), as much as I dislike it and have opposed its foreign policy all my life including in Cuba and Nicaragua, had one thing that is much more democratic. The fact that Trump could be voted out and even if he won 8-years is the limit. While the US electoral system isn’t perfect by any means, and there has been cheating in the past in close elections, and voter supression, it is still far better than the non-elections in Cuba and Nicaragua. I don’t consider fradulent, non-transparent, non-competitive elections anything more than a farse. That realization and Trump led me to vote in the last US elections for the first time in 40 years. The sad reality is that for Cubans and Nicaraguans who don’t support their rulers there is nothing to vote for.

  • Brad,
    You are actually suggesting that the current Cuban Government is in some way worse or more treacherous or more anti democratic or more filthy than the recent trump regime?
    Surely you are some kind of jester???
    You wanna actually try backing up your nonsensical assertion with something remotely factual???
    You make these ideologically-based assertions.
    But you got any meat to put on your lame and dry ideological bone????
    You, as an arch capitalist, can never seem to shed any light on to why there are so many abjectly failing capitalist states in the Americas and throughout the world.
    If yer lil ol capitalism is so glorious and wonderful Brad, why is there so much grinding, abject poverty and disillusionment in the capitalist states toward the bottom of your beloved capitalist ladder?????
    These are questions you have consistently failed to answer over a considerable period of time Brad.

  • Curt I may be comical but your blindness and support over the horror of the worst and longest dictatorship in Latin America is PATHETIC.

  • “Whatever you want to call the Cuban Government, it’s less dangerous, less environmentally destructive, less deceitful and less dictatorial than the trump regime was.”

    Completely false
    Cuba has been a brutal communist dictatorship for 62 years. You have no idea what’s going on Nick.

  • Olga, Castro never gave much aid to the shining path in Peru. As for the Sandinistas, they were fighting a right wing extremist dictatorship in Nicaragua. In Angola, Castro took part in getting rid of the apartheid government in South Africa. The incidents you describe are ancient history that took place over 40;years ago. The point I’m trying to make is there is absolutely no justification for having Cuba on the list NOW! Your comments are so inaccurate, that they are comical.

  • Curt Cuba has supported terrorism around the world by training guerrilas and terrorist groups in Cuba from the Sandinistas to shining path in Peru to FARM in Venezuela even El Salvador, needless to say the mercenaries the regime sent to Angola in exchange for Aid from the URSS. Below is a video of the expresidente of El Salvador telling Castro like it’s in the Cumbre in Panama calling him a terrorist.

  • Olga,
    You refer to a mafia in Havana. In Havana they refer to a mafia in Miami.
    It’s just terminology. If you wish to call the Cuban Government a dictatorship, that’s fine with me but again, it’s just terminology.
    Whatever you want to call the Cuban Government, it’s less dangerous, less environmentally destructive, less deceitful and less dictatorial than the trump regime was. But that does not in anyway mean that I am a big fan of the government in Havana. It’s simply a statement of facts.
    As for Pinochet, or Pinocchio as he is called in Cuba, he was in the pantheon of fascistic extremists alongside Franco, Mussolini etc.
    Thankfully Chile has recuperated. Thankfully.
    Olga, we have different opinions. We shall never agree. I respect that you have your viewpoint even if it is driven by hatred and a wish for some kind of personal revenge. Or whatever it is that makes you so angry.
    My own preference is that, during this pandemic, the problems in Cuba do not get worse. That these vaccines are rolled out successfully. That there is no explosion of violence. That people there are safe. And that things improve there.
    Those are the priorities for me. And plebiscites are fine by me. Nothing wrong with a plebiscite. The more, the merrier.
    But don’t get too angry if people don’t vote the way you want them to.
    The rest is just politics. F**k politics. That game is largely just narcissistic bullsh*t.

  • Olga, please tell me. How does Cuba sponsor terrorism throughout the world? Anyone with just an ounce of common sense knows that’s not true. Your comments make me laugh! Biden’s crackdown on Cuba is about Florida’s 29 electoral votes and nothing else!

  • “In Cuba there was a plebiscite a couple of years ago which resulted in overwhelming approval of the new constitution.”

    Naive the dictatorship doesn’t get overwhelming support it creates false narratives of support.
    The dictatorship doesn’t have real voting or real elections.
    It’s all fake that’s why there are no opposition parties.

  • Nick, I just asked you if you can say loudly the Cuban regime is a dictatorship and you started talking about CIA And tax payers money. Pinochet saved Chile to become what Venezuela and Nicaragua had become. He use horrendous methods but today Chile is economically powerful that the rest of LA It’s incredible you said that was a plebiscite and was overwhelmed supported. By the people after thousands of Cubans were in the street demanding freedom. On July 11th It’s despicable that you try to make me or to anyone else that Plebiscite was egal and rightfully so. Yup you don’t “care” about politics but you are ready to say all the crimes committed by a right wing dictatorship. But no even admitted that Cuba is under one of the most horrendous dictatorship sponsor of terrorism in LA and in the world. Cuba regime from the beginning has sponsored terrorist groups in LA Africa and Europe as well . Thanks God Biden is not going to yield to any demand from the Havana’s mafia.

  • Olga,
    You keep accusing me of the same thing. Over and over again.
    I have no big opinion one way or another on the Cuban Government. In my opinion it’s just as sh*t as most other governments. But not quite as appallingly bad as some.
    My opinion is that things need to improve in Cuba. Big style.
    Unlike you, I have no hatred in my heart. I do not seek any revenge. I have an open mind. I have lived in Cuba and in the USA. They are both wonderful in their different ways but also both f**ked up in their different ways. Cuba happens to be less of a threat to world peace and causes less destruction of the global environment.
    I have no idols in Havana as you ridiculously suggest.
    The ‘Castro Regime’ is out of date terminology.
    Pinochet, assisted by the CIA and U.S. taxpayers money overthrew a democratically elected government and installed an ultra right wing fascistic regime.
    There was no dignity there. None at all. They used to pull entirely innocent homeless vagrants off the streets to secret locations in order to practice and showcase torture techniques until death cut in. Then disposed of the bodies without trace. No dignity at all.

    ‘Cubans’ in Miami absurdly suggest that they are in favour of democracy and against authoritarianism yet they hypocritically voted in droves for the anti democratic, pro authoritarian trump. A man who quite deliberately put in place policies that made life even more difficult for people in Cuba than it was previously.
    In Cuba there was a plebiscite a couple of years ago which resulted in overwhelming approval of the new constitution.
    I didn’t f**kin vote for it. They did.
    I look at the facts. I have a politically neutral opinion. I look at stuff with my own eyes. I’m not dictated to by any hatred within my heart. Coz there ain’t any in there.
    Thankfully I am not weighed down by that.

  • No. We are at war against the Cuban regimen. We won’t let the “dialogueros” cut a deal with the commies and steal again our nation. Not anymore.
    Traitors will share the opressors’ fate. You’re warned, so it’s up to you guys. Good luck.

  • Continuity or Change. I can see how the current Cuban communist government can and will manipulate this vernacular slogan to their advantage.

    Let me be clear. I totally support “. . . a group of Cuban citizens without ties to pro-government politics or opposition organizations are creating a “proposal for a National Plebiscite.” It is a middle ground to a situation that for far too long has only had polar political views. This present atmosphere of antagonism cannot be sustain for much longer as the majority of Cuban citizens are suffering horrendously and that is putting it mildly.

    Continuity. The Cuban communist government wants to maintain exactly that. The pretext of their position, not that they will sit down with anyone to discuss their absolute hold on power, is historical. They will remind the vanguards for political change that the Revolution in 1959 is sacrosanct, that Cuban lives were sacrificed to overthrow a capitalist system that exploited Cuban citizenry and their departure for a more socialist Cuba is and will always be maintained and protected with vigor.

    The vanguards of change may agree to maintain and continue to maintain some semblance of socialism on the island and if they do without a plebiscite the communist elites will win. A plebiscite in a totalitarian state is an anathema to the very idea of totalitarianism. Will the communist elites relent and help initiate some modest change around the edges of totalitarianism in order to keep the peace? Absolutely. However, in the final analysis it will be on their terms and on their schedule.

    The communist government already has many citizen assemblies where the elites will argue the Cuban citizen already has a hand in the democratic process and they are being listened. But the elites will argue there are external circumstances beyond their control that are impinging their initiated progress and we, the elites, are doing our best to survive, economic U. S. A. blockade notwithstanding.

    Change. To what? The communist elites will see this planned plebiscite as the potential work of outsiders, instigators of island change that will bring back the bad old days of capitalist hegemony whereby Cubans will be worse off than they presently are. No more free medicine; no more free education; no more free whatever the communist government has been giving Cubans in the past will be stopped. I am sure the vanguards of change will be gladly exchange these “freedoms” provided by the communist state for the freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, freedom of economic liberty. Only the Cuban citizens know the value of exchanging one so called freedom with another and what benefits them and what does not.

    In the final analysis, July 11, 2021 demonstrated the majority of Cuban citizens from every corner of the island are totally fed up (pun unintentional) with the current economic crisis in the country. Their public protests heard around the world said it all.

    On the other hand, the totalitarian communist elites in power will not tolerate any public demonstrations on the streets and will go to whatever lengthens, as unfortunately witnessed, to stop the anti-government rebellion. They are so paranoid of world opinion, the government will do and say whatever the vanguards of change want to hear – continuity or change, sure – to appease their goals. The two parties are today polar poles apart.

    A plebiscite – nice idea. Ideas begin in abstract but to initiate them in concrete fashion, with concrete results, this will take a Herculean effort where both parties meet somewhere in the middle. For the majority of Cubans, I hope this happens sooner than later.

  • Excellent idea. Long-time contributors to this site will know that I have advocated for a long time such a referendum as a way of progressing things in Cuba. The important thing is that it respects the self-determination of the Cuban people.

    I think the US would need to agree to drop the blockade immediately before it could be called otherwise the blockade becomes a way to manipulate the referendum result. I suggested a period of three years but I realize that is too long by now. They should also declare that they won’t manipulate or interfere with the result and any election they may result from the process.

    Unfortunately with these proposals, the question of change/continuity is a bit vague. The Cuban government could maintain that they believed in both continuity and change and the opposition and the general public might feel the same. My suggestion would be to have a referendum on the current constitution or not.

    If the population vote against the current constitution then the second vote should be preferendum where citizens would choose their desired constitution in order of preference.

  • Nick you read what you want to obviously is like you position on Cuba. But I said in my comment that Pinochet was one of the most horrible dictators in LA. But he had the dignity to put his power on the line in a referendum, something that your idols in Havana never will. Do not read between the lines Pinochet was a horrendous dictator. Now I bet you never would dare to say the Castro regime is a dictatorship. Needless to say ask to qualify what how horrendous is. Because you admire the Cuban regime.

  • The Start to a Great Civilized Cuba & LA Future, if their Vision is not Removed or mask by force, Any amount can be Piled on of Negative to this Political Motion & the Positive will always come out on Top.

  • It’s great to see the admiration for Pinochet’s ‘dignity’.
    I know someone who’s family member was thrown out of an aeroplane to his death by Pinochet’s mob.
    This is the kind of ‘dignity’ that some people admire.

  • The left always talk about the Right wings dictatorships in Latin America but one of the most horrible dictatorship in LA the general Augusto Pinochet in Chile had the dignity to summon the people to a referéndum so the people can choose the future of their nation today Chile has the highest living standard in L A and close to the industrialized world.
    The Castro family who are still in control of the farm with the puppet Diaz Canel would never put the people’s choice over their attachment to power.

  • No chance it’s a dictatorship.

    The communists don’t care about the people they care about their corrupt tyranny.

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