Desde Dentro de Cuba.

Distribuido por Cuba Free Press, Inc. - http://www.cubafreepress.org

February 17, 1999, Cuba Free Press.

DISSIDENTS, INDEPENDENT JOURNALISTS COMMENT ON PROPOSED NEW LAW By Odalys Curbelo, Cuba Free Press.

HAVANA - The proposed new law for "Protección de la Independencia Nacional y la Economía de Cuba" (Protection of National Independence and the Economy of Cuba) has evoked various reactions from among independent journalists and members of groups calling themselves "oppositors," i.e., opponents of the current administration.

Adolfo Fernández Saínz, spokeman of Partido Solidaridad Democrática (Democratic Solidarity Party) said, "Never could a sentence carry more dignity. We will continue our journey. We are compelled to defend the liberty and dignity of our country. The government expects that the Cuban people will become mute, fearful of the threat of 30 years in prison."

Néstor Baguer, a founder of the independent press, said, "With this law they propose to give us a fatal blow with total censorship so as to destroy a true press, because the official press is only propaganda. They want to close the window through which we get the only oxygen that we receive."

Berta Mexidor Vázquez of the press agency "Libertad" (Liberty) from Las Tunas said, "This law will give the government the possibility of maintaining a strong repression and tying the feet and hands of the growing and courageous practitioners of freedom of speech that so many honest Cubans defend."

Iraida de León León, president of the Colegio de Médicos Independientes(Association of Independent Physicians) said, "This is one more thing to silence the voice of the people. It is a denial of the 'opening' proposed by the pope and which is so needed by the Cuban people. It is a strong evidence and proof of repression.

Santiago Santana, director of the Asociación de Prensa Libre Oriental (APLO, Oriental Free Press Association), said, "It is a confirmation of the obsession for power. They want to silence what is going on in the country, at the thresh-hold of the XXI Century. We are witnesses of occurrences and events. The world should make the system accountable for its acts."

Oswaldo de Céspedes of the Cooperativa of Periodistas Independientes (Cooperative of Independent Journalists), said: "It is a new arbitrariness of the government. It is its answer to the growing opposition movement and the increment of the independent press. They see no alternative but one out of the two: either to open the space or close it for good. Their own weakness and fear made them decide on closing the space in total disregard to international public opinion."

Aguileo Cancio Chong of the Partido Acción Nacionalista (Nationalist Action Party) said, "It is only a seizure of the government. They realize that they do not have any public support, while the opposition gains in popularity constantly. This is an arbitrary and anti-democratic law which will do only harm to them, because the population of prisoners of conscience will grow. Some may leave but the majority will continue the struggle. The more whom the government sends to prison the more it will be condemned in the international forums. The support of the exile community will grow. The Cuban cause will become more internationalized."

René Montes de Oca, vice president of the Comité Cubano Humanitario Religioso (Cuban Religious Humanitarian Committee) said, "With this law the weakness of the structure of the Cuban government becomes apparent. The government lacks ideological or convincing power. That is why they appeal to force to keep control. You can be assured that freedom will come, notwithstanding the repression. The change will come."

Ronald Alemán García, representative of the International Coordination of Former Political Prisoners, said, "It is a way to destroy the few spaces for freedom of expression that have been won in these years by the opposition and the independent press."

Gerardo Sánchez Santa Cruz, vicepresident of the Cuban Commission of National Reconciliation (Comisión Cubana de Reconciliación Nacional) declined to express his opinion.

Mary Gorotiza of the Liberal Party said, "My organization is studying the facts and in a few hours we will issue a statement accordingly."

Odalys Curbelo, Cuba Free Press.


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