HAVANA – Cuban opposition figure Oscar Elias Biscet on Wednesday presented a manifesto on which he intends to collect signatures to promote a move toward democracy on the Communist-ruled island.
Accompanied by about a dozen dissidents, Biscet read the document at an appearance before international media where he demanded a “total change” in Cuba because “the people are tired of tyranny.”
The manifesto claims that Cuba’s current constitution, parliament and government are illegitimate.
It also demands that the legal system be based on principles such as popular sovereignty, a government based on the consent of the governed, guarantees for basic human rights and free and transparent elections.
“We have seen over more years than we care to remember how the communist regime has not conceded an atom of freedom and has rigidly and arbitrarily resisted any change that would guarantee a dignified life for our people. No other alternative remains to us except for ... non-violent political challenge to make the freedom of our people a reality,” the document said.
The initiative is called Proyecto Emilia, in remembrance of Emilia Teurbe Tolon, who embroidered the first Cuban flag in the mid-19th century.
Biscet, a physician and veteran human rights activist, was among the “Group of 75” dissidents jailed amid a harsh crackdown in March 2003.
He was released in March 2011 during the process to free political prisoners undertaken by Raul Castro’s government after mediation by the Catholic Church.