Cuban dissidents form shady parliament - 2 November, 2002

More than 300 dissident groups which act in the Freedom Island have formed a kind of opposition parliament.

According to Associated Press agency, the organization called Assembly for Civil Society includes 321 groups which are outsiders of Cuban political system. Among motley public which the Assembly includes, there are groups supporting human rights observance, independent libraries, and trade unions. From clear reasons, Cuban dissidents cannot carry out a big assembly, this is why the shady parliament will have a virtual character. Nevertheless, creation of the opposition assembly is an extraordinary event for Cuba. Last time it was 1996, when the Fidel Castro enemies made an attempt to join hands.

At that time, several hundreds of people were detained by Cuban authorities. This time, Cuban authorities made no steps signifying they consider the opposition to be counter-revolutionary. The Assembly presents a broaden spectre of political colours of Cuban opposition. Though, some dissident organizations wanted not to join the Assembly. For example, the organization called Varela Project which demands to carry out a referendum in Cuba on guarantying freedom of speech and private property was not included in the shady parliament.

The question about the referendum caused a split in Cuban opposition. Some leaders of the Assembly, for example, Rene Delgado, do not exclude Varela Project could finally join the new organization. Others do not support the idea of the referendum and consider the constitution should be changed and the head of the state should be replaced. An organizer of the new “parliament,” Marta Beatriz Rock said nothing could be changed in Cuba with this constitution and with Fidel Castro.
This May, representatives of Varela Project presented to the legal Cuban parliament over 11,000 signatures in support of the referendum, though nobody in Cuba hastens to carry it out. Moreover, having looked through these signatures, the parliamentarians accepted an amendment to the constitution, according to which neither social, nor political, nor economical system is to be changed in Cuba.

Sergei Borisov

Translated by Vera Solovieva

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Author`s name Margarita Kicherova