The news of the reestablishment of relations between Cuba and the United States has been embraced by opposition organizations in Cuba with optimism and hope that this agreement may facilitate the establishment of a dialogue between the Government and civil society on the island.
The Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU), in a statement issued on Thursday, stated that the Cuban government has lost its "great alibi" to justify repression and the lack of human rights in Cuba. "Any change, and especially the loss of an excuse for repression, can create a space for the people to reclaim their voice, lost for over half a century.”
The organization welcomes the commercial opening that can result from negotiations with the European Union and the United States, and states as long as it is accompanied by a change with regards to the rights of Cubans, it could be positive “for post-Castro democratization.”
“Although the increase in funds for a totalitarian State will make repression more effective, UNPACU accepts the challenge of confronting it, if, over the long term, the Cuban people benefit from an increase in economic and material well-being," the organization said.
The statement concludes by noting that repression has continued in recent days on the island and that the Government has continued to detain opponents, and it calls on all democrats to ensure that “current reality is not subjugated to the latest news.”
The team of Cuba Posible also shares the same feelings of hope manifested by cubans and thanks "those social and political actors, both foreign and domestic, who have dedicated themselves to make this moment of inflexion possible". In a statement realease this Thursday, they praise Obama and Castro for their "courage and political will" as well as their decision to, "without foregoing their principals, challenge history".
Nevertheless, those who signed the statement know that this is the beginning of a political process full of tension that will "awaken polarization between different sectors, both inside and outside of Cuba". The triumph of this new path, according to them, will depend on the ability to agree on some topics such as national sovereignty, human rights, democracy and international politics.
The Pinar del Rio magazine Convivencia (Coexistence) founded by Dagoberto Valdés, has also issued a statement through which it welcomes the resumption of diplomatic relations between both countries, and hopes that the climate of dialogue is extended to independent civil society "based on respect for unity" and "the exercise of sovereignty”.
The release of the political prisoners gives joy to the magazine's Editorial Board, which reminds us that the Cuban Government should ratify the United Nations covenants on Human Rights.
Convivencia places special emphasis on the intervention of Pope Francisco as a mediator in the dialogue between the two countries and hopes that the Church continues to intervene between the opposition and the authorities.
In addition, the Editorial Board said that the agreement between Obama and Castro will show that the fundamental conflict "is between the Cuban government and its citizens, not between Cuba and the United States.”
" Convivencia hopes that this historic event and the lifting of all blockades, especially the one the Cuban government sustains over the initiative and entrepreneurship of its own citizens, allows the creation of the conditions necessary for the Cuban people to be the protagonists of their own history,” the statement concludes.
Karen Gálvez, a member of the Convivencia team, believes that Cuba has taken a step forward in its transition towards democracy. "Personally, it is difficult to understand that the reestablishment of relations between the Cuban and American governments has occurred before the raproachment that needs to happen between those who think differently inside of Cuba", she explains. Nonetheless, Gálvez recieves the news with joy because "normalizing relations with the United States was an essential change that needed to happen in Cuba".
Gálvez believes that there is no turning back. "Now it is up to us to pronunce our differences with the Cuban government, without the shadows of a bigger power lurking behind us. We must demand the reestablishment of relations with civil society and the respect of our rights and our differences in opinon".