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  • Documents on Democracy


On 14 August 1990 the Cuban Democratic Platform, composed of 12 exiled leaders of Cuban democratic political groups, joined together to sign the Declaration and Pact of Madrid. This declaration denounces Fidel Castro's communist regime and demands that free and fair elections be held in Cuba after a number of preconditions have been met. Excerpts from the Madrid Declaration follow:

For more than three decades a communist dictatorship has been enthroned in Cuba as a consequence of the Cold War and the East West confrontation. This circumstance has lost its validity in these times of true cooperation between the superpowers and the emergence of democratic nations among those in the now extinct Soviet bloc . . . .

Like the people of Eastern Europe or Nicaragua, we, as Cubans, seek the end of communist totalitarianism on the island. But we do not want that inexorable event to take place in an armed struggle in which thousands of innocent and defenseless people will surely die. We want democracy and freedom to emerge in the full exercise of national sovereignty from the collapse of the Castro regime. We do not want strongmen or chieftains of a different political stripe from communism to be the victors and to hold power again in our land. We want this tragic episode in our political history—more than three decades of totalitarian communist rule preceded by seven years of another type of dictatorshilr—to be the last of the failures endured by our troubled republic . . . .

We, as Christian Democratic, Liberal, Social Democratic, and Conservative Cubans, linked internationally to the four great ideological families representing 90 percent of the political groups that lend sense and form to the nations of the free and democratic world, are determined to try to prevent by all legal means that our country should again become a breeding ground for violence . . . . [End Page 117]

No other formula is acceptable and no other procedure is certain to guide the transition to democracy in our country and the emergence of a state of law than consultation with the Cuban people through referendums, plebiscites, general elections, or any other formula determined by a consensus of the Cuban political spectrum, embodying the government and the dissidents, prior to the consultation. In any event, the expression of that sovereign will must include the participation of Cubans within and outside of the country, and the balloting must be free, direct, secret, and under the supervision of national and foreign observers . . . .

There are several conditions which must be met by the present Cuban government, or by any successor, before calling the Cuban people to an election.

  1. 1. Immediate general amnesty for all persons charged with political offenses.

  2. 2. The National Assembly of the People's Power (an organ of the Cuban government) must effect the necessary changes in the Cuban constitution in order to eliminate those provisions which prevent the development of a free and democratic society. Such changes should permit multiple parties, freedom of association and assembly, and free mobility of all Cubans within and outside of the national territory. Likewise, it should authorize full freedom of expression and guarantee the direct and equitable access of the opposition to all means of communication.

  3. 3. The government must abide by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and desist immediately from the harassment of human rights groups on the island. Such organizations must be legalized and permitted full freedom of action. In this same spirit, the broadest legal protection must be made available to the organized churches existing in the country.

  4. 4. Trade union rights must be restored to the working class.

  5. 5. The transition to freedom and democracy must be a subject of discussion among all Cubans. It is in Cuba, and among Cubans, and not in Washington or Moscow, where the destiny of the nation must be decided. To start this national debate we propose that a preparatory conference be held at which the agenda, date, and place would be discussed. Such a conference could take place in any country which lends its support and help . . . .

We do not want bloodshed on the road to democracy. We do not wish vengeance or abuses when Cuba becomes free...


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pp. 117-120
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