Call for a National Dialogue

Call for a National Dialogue






The expression All Cubans suggests that all of us Cubans, inside and outside of the island, are united by family ties. It suggests that as brothers, we are all entitled to rights and freedoms and to live peaceful lives in this wonderful land given to us by God. It suggests that as members of the human family, we also have the right to build a free, more humane, and more just society.


The Cuban people have witnessed the dawn of the year 2009 in silence, unable to speak about their futures. Yet they are all hoping that this year will mark the beginning of a new chapter in their history.


Hope still lies in the goodwill of all Cubans who desire and work for national reconciliation. This is a sign that our fraternal love is stronger than our prejudices about the future or our judgments of the past. While it is true that we must not forget about our diverse individual and collective experiences, we must not let them stop us from looking to the future. While we may not agree on the past, it is time for us to agree on the future, because the future is now.


We must not let our dreams vanish. United we must rise and work to make them a reality. The world is opening to Cuba, and Cuba to the world, but justice demands that Cuba first open itself to all of its citizens. The release of all political prisoners and prisoners of conscience will mark the arrival of justice for the Cuban people.


Only by acknowledging that we are all brothers, children of the same homeland, can we start narrating a new chapter in our history. Only then can we forge a society free of hatred, fear and discrimination of any kind. Only then we can hand over to the new generation a free and peaceful country and the opportunity to be protagonists, and not spectators, in their own futures. The youth will certainly be the most dynamic, creative, daring and generous participants in this national dialogue we call All Cubans.


This National Dialogue is intended to be an opportunity for all Cubans who want to work together, in an environment of transparency, loyalty and inclusion, towards beginning the process of peaceful change and national reconciliation that we all want and need. This dialogue will result in the restoration of rights and common good for all, including those refusing or rejecting the opportunity to participate. The National Dialogue will be of great benefit to the Cuban people if the government agrees to support and participate in this effort. In light of this event, authorities must make all the necessary resources and opportunities available, including media access to support participants’ freedom of expression.


To make this national dialogue possible and ensure that it delivers the expected results, all of us who are members of the democratic and peaceful opposition groups inside and outside of Cuba, without exception, must also be willing to work together in order to advance this peaceful civic initiative. 


We must bear in mind that rights for all Cubans cannot solely depend on the realization of this dialogue, nor be determined as a result of it. We Cubans have the right to rights because we are part of the human family, and as children of God, no one can deprive us of our dignity and freedom. This is why the Varela Project continues and will continue to demand changes in the law and in practice to guarantee rights for all. The Varela Project is not the only path towards reconciliation. The National Dialogue and other peaceful means can help us achieve the same objectives. Nevertheless, the Varela Project will continue as long as the demands of the people are not met. The progress of this initiative is irreversible because Cubans’ rights are not negotiable. In order to make this dialogue possible, we must all meet in person. We members of the democratic opposition must all come together and invite government representatives.


Call for a National Dialogue


-          We call on the Cuban government and all representatives of the democratic opposition to work together in organizing and holding a dialogue to begin a peaceful process of change in Cuban society. The main objective of this dialogue will be to guarantee respect, in law and in practice, for the civic, political and human rights of all Cuban citizens, and for their free participation in the process of democratic change and national reconciliation. Dialogue involving the government and the opposition will only be possible after all those who are in jail for political motives are freed.

-          We call on all members of the democratic opposition inside and outside of Cuba to work together to find common ground to designate the representatives that will present our proposals for the dialogue to the government, civil society and the Cuban people.

-          We call on all Cubans, inside and outside of Cuba, to support and advance this initiative and to participate in the full use of their rights and responsibilities.

-          We call on all churches, bishops, pastors, priests, believers, and laypeople, and all members of fraternal and social organizations, associations, and civil society to participate in this National Dialogue, to support it, and to promote it publicly.

-          We call on all governments, international institutions and global citizens to support the Cuban people in the search for their own voice. This is the kind of solidarity that Cuba needs.  Now is the time to show respect for the Cuban people’s right to self-determination.


Guidelines for the National Dialogue


For the implementation of this National Dialogue we propose the following guidelines.


I. The Spirit of the Dialogue


To open our minds and our hearts, moved by love of country, and to acknowledge ourselves as brothers. This dialogue will not serve to distribute power, or to negotiate positions of power, but rather to serve the people, sowing seeds of forgiveness and reconciliation between Cubans and working together for a better future. We all have the responsibility to hear others and the right to be heard by others and to be taken into account. All Cubans, living inside or outside of Cuba, as one people and without exception, can participate with full rights in this process for peace, liberty and rights, with everybody and for the good of all. We are the protagonists of our own history and the only ones who can design and spearhead our national project in our sovereign and independent homeland. This dialogue—in which representatives of the government, the National Assembly of Popular Power, and representatives of the democratic opposition will work together—can only begin if all of those who are jailed in Cuba for political reasons are freed.


II. National Dialogue Objectives


1.      To achieve the initial goal in this calling to a National Dialogue. To give to the people what belongs to them. To join the government, the democratic opposition, members of civil society and all other Cubans to work, without delay, to put in motion a process in which civil and political rights, including freedom of speech, association and respect for pluralism can be rapidly transformed into guaranteed rights. Also, to guarantee the right of all Cubans living inside or outside the country to travel freely to and from Cuba.

2.      To present for approval in the National Assembly a new electoral law and the recommendation of an Electoral Commission, so that free and democratic elections can be held. In this way, all Cubans, exercising their rights through their new representatives, could participate in a national dialogue or through other civic channels to define and vote freely on all changes in laws or in the constitution, and design and carry out a national project for a new stage in our history.

3.      To bring about an environment and a legal framework that respects diversity, peace, order, citizen participation and reconciliation between Cubans, overcoming resentment, fear and exclusion, and fomenting confidence on the foundation of goodwill.


III. Working Methodology


- An Initial Organizing Group formed by members of the democratic opposition and other members of civil society will make contacts to elicit greater participation from this sector and other members of civil society in the dialogue to achieve the initial goal proclaimed in the Call to a National Dialogue. This team will propose a methodology of participation to define the basic proposals that this sector of society will take to meetings with government representatives, maintaining the transparent objective of achieving the initial goal. There will also be the opportunity to propose other objectives that complement, strengthen and expand on this initial goal.

- During the discussions and meetings that will be held within the democratic opposition and with other members of civil society, inside and outside of Cuba, participants will determine the manner of designating their representatives in the dialogue with the government.

- All participants must be in agreement with the working methodology of the National Dialogue.