HAVANA TIMES — Unlike many opposition opinions, in and out of Cuba criticizing the European Union’s action to abandon its Common Position on Cuba, Julio Antonio Aleaga Pesant is optimistic. Here is what the Executive Secretary of the Candidates for Change Opposition Platform (CxC) has to say.
Julio Aleaga: “What has just happened is only the confirmation of the dismantling of the EU Common Position, in fact it had happened a long time before. European presidents have been coming here, even to see Fidel Castro. It’s important that the European Parliament continues to monitor the issue of human rights in Cuba, while the European Union’s Foreign Department continues to hold negotiations with the Cuban government. Anyhow, it’s important to be aware that the solution to Cuba’s problems won’t come from the European Union or the United States’ government, but from domestic politics and the ability for the island’s opposition to have a space to express themselves in national politics, in the face of elections.”
Havana Times received the above statement on Wednesday afternoon December 21st, when the CxC held their second annual assessment. Even though the audience was less than expected, which was partly due to the rain that day, the usual employees and participants in these activities like the Director of the Cuban Pro-Freedom of Speech Association, Antonio Fornaris, Zelandia Perez and Aymara Pena, CxC’s Regional Leader in the country’s interior and the Director of the The Cuban Corps Child Project.
After analyzing the results obtained during 2016, Aleaga Pesant stated that the Platform plays a leading role in the transition to Cuban democracy. He claims CxC is currently present in 188 districts, 102 People Councils, 36 municipalities and 13 provinces.
This Platform, founded in 2009, pushes for a democratic transition in Cuba, from the grassroots and from legislation, stemming from elections.
Is this a viable option in a country where apathy, fear and mistrust reign in an electoral system which is solely aimed at perpetrating a political system and the Party in power?
The CxC team is aware of the problems that the Cuban electoral system poses. Among its challenges in 2017 is the need to lobby the rest of the democratic opposition organizations to find a way onto the ballot paper and include Cuban emigres. Until now, according to the second CxC annual assessment, the search for representatives within the Cuban emigre community willing to work with this project has been unsuccessful.
Juan Moreno, the CxC’s Human Resources Director, claims with absolute certainty that looking for democratic change through the ballot box is a historic necessity.
Juan Moreno: “Other channels haven’t worked throughout our history and have been closed to the opposition. This includes society as a whole; from making information about the elections process reach the greatest number of people possible.”
Candidates… they want an inclusive framework where so-called “minorities” (Afro-descendents, the LGBTI community, women, Catholic, Mason and Yoruba communities, etc.) become a majority.
The second CxC annual assessment also served as a reference to recognize the effort of the Platform’s collaborators whose work has been relevant towards this project: Aymara Pena, Regional Leader in the Interior Region; Midaisy Marrero, Regional Leader at Aguada de Pasajeros; Ramon Salazar, President of the Independent Pinero Party, from the Isle of Youth; Niurka Carmona, Regional Leader in the Eastern Region, and Marlene Ricardo, an important participant in Havana City.
On Wednesday morning December 21st, State security agents were present at Julio Antonio Aleaga Pesant’s home just like they have been at previous CxC events, and they asked what was going to happen but they didn’t stop the assessment from taking place.