Former Cuban communist leaders demand more democracy on the island

Other News Materials 26 August 2008 02:12 (UTC +04:00)

Former leaders of the Cuban Communist Party (PCC) have posted a document on the Internet to demand "participative and democratic" socialism on the island, warning that the current style of socialism generates unpredictable "frustration."

"Mostly, Cubans are frustrated, alienated and hopeless, and the new generations, demotivated, do not feel the same commitment as earlier ones to this 'poor and without perspective socialism' that is so far away from expectations," the document says.

The text was signed by former Cuban diplomat Pedro Campos and by other "communists and revolutionaries from the inside."

It was posted on the website Kaos en la Red in mid-August, although it only recently caught the eye of international media. Cuban media had not reported on it as of Monday, the dpa reported.

"In order to save the people, the homeland and the revolution we need a new socialist programme, participative and democratic, that is capable of offering constructive solutions," the document said.

It further demanded a transition away from "state socialism," to leave behind a "failed centralizing, authoritarian system inherited from Stalinism."

Made public six months after historic Cuban leader Fidel Castro formally transferred power to his brother Raul, the document makes 13 proposals to be discussed ahead of the PCC Congress scheduled for late 2009.

They demand a socialist system that focuses on self-management, integration and libertarianism in order to create "for the first time real conditions for the full freedom of human beings and for the exercise by all of all the political, civil and economic rights that humanity has fought for."

The document calls for the end of "absurd measures" like the exit permits and invitation letters needed to leave Cuba and demands prioritizing "communications, computing, intranet and internet with full access" as key to "democratic planning."

The text also calls for respect for "personal private property and decisions regarding it" and for a review of the "excessive sentences" imposed on those arrested "for issues linked to political questions."

So far, the government has prompted hope by announcing reforms, but has not shown concrete plans to get the country "out of the crisis" and is ignoring the advice of experts at home and abroad, the text complains.