There is active opposition to the Cuban government, but it is severely hampered by lack of funds, as well as lack of rights to organize. The right to freely organize political parties, trade-unions or any other associations with an independent political agenda is denied in Cuba. And even if it were allowed, it would be pointless, because political parties other than the one in power are not allowed to participate in any elections. There certainly have been more repressive and more violent socialist regimes in the world; nevertheless, in Cuba freedom is effectively repressed.
There are many political prisoners in Cuba, although often they are convicted for common crimes committed in connection with a political act. For instance, if a demonstrator should destroy a lamppost during an opposition rally, he may be convicted for destruction of government property. This makes him a common criminal, whereas everybody understands that the act was political, not criminal. And the perpetrator does not deserve a 10 year jail term for such an act! We are not defending any right to destroy government property, but there is clearly a distinction between the destruction of a lamppost during a political rally against a repressive regime and the destruction of your neighbor's property out of malice or jealousy.
Democracy in itself is not opposed to socialism
It should be emphasized also that if the majority of Cubans should wish to maintain the present socialist system, or make only minor changes, then clearly and emphatically the minority of Cubans must respect that. But only if this appears on the basis of free and fair elections, allowing all political parties to campaign freely without any reprisals or intimidation against them, granting them free media-time on an equal footing with the party in power (which controls the media completely at the moment). There is no free speech and no free press in Cuba now. It is ARCO's secret ambition to be the first free magazine on the streets of Havana! Who knows?
But it should be stressed that the transition in Cuba should be to democracy, not necessarily to capitalism. If the Cuban people really and freely want socialism, the present economic system should stay in place, with only those changes the majority party or parties want. This is in keeping with the Cuban opposition's point of view. The opposition wants transition to democracy through dialogue, not a violent overthrow. Neither from the inside, nor from the outside.
And the opposition does not necessarily want transition to capitalism either. There may well be transition to a totally new economic system, the ‘Modern Universal Paradigm', as Prof. Rodney Shakespeare calls it. This new paradigm is in fact the golden mean between capitalism and socialism. This is the ‘Green Third Way of Universal Justice and Realism', as ARCO calls it and strongly recommends for implementation throughout the Caribbean. For more detailed info on this system, we once again refer to the two main websites on this third way at: www.cesj.org and www.binaryeconomics.net It would be Cuba's fast track to freedom and prosperity, in an economic system as though people and abundance for all mattered.
A change is coming to Cuba
In Cuba everybody knows that change is coming. Nobody knows how and when, but it's coming for the simple reason that the majority of the people want it. But the Cuban people do not yet know what they want instead of the present system. Yes, they want more freedom. And, yes, they want dialogue, but they don't know what direction the dialogue should take. Socialism has not been altogether bad for Cuba. The Cubans have excellent education and health care. The people are not rich, but very friendly and helpful. Solidarity is deeply rooted in Cuban society and most people are happy, even though there is something missing. It is freedom. But freedom, how?
It was very aptly expressed by one prominent Cuban opposition leader: ‘We don't want to fall from the devastation of socialism into the devastation of capitalism'. The Cubans have taken good note of what has happened in Russia and how the West turned its back on Russia since it made the switch to ‘KGB-democracy' and capitalism. Cuba does not want to become another Russia. So there is a strong longing for freedom and democracy, but also for something new.
That is why Cuba is fertile ground for the introduction of the Green Third Way of Universal Justice and Realism with its binary economic system, combining the best of socialism and capitalism into an unbeatable economic blockbuster. Democracy is coming to Cuba! And sane and free dialogue in Cuba cannot but result in a choice pro Kelso's Third Way, in which all Cubans will own a part of Cuba's resources and means of production. Not the State (as in socialism), nor the rich 5% of the population (as in capitalism), but the people themselves should own the resources and means of production. We mean 100% of the people!
Kelso's ‘Third Way' is superior. In fact, binary economists are so sure of their cause that they propose to introduce it as a parallel system, allowing companies and people to freely choose which economic system they prefer. Capitalism is simply no match for binary economics. But it cannot function in a repressive system. In fact, the Third Way needs free enterprise, political democracy and freedom to be able to function at all. So, change is needed in Cuba to introduce it.
Amnesty law for Cuba to facilitate transition to democracy
To facilitate peaceful transition to Cuba, a gentle Amnesty Law is needed. The point is not to take revenge against Cuban government officials. In fact, the Cuban government has been responsible for introducing many good things in Cuba. Good health care and education have already been mentioned. But there is much more. So the point is not revenge. The point is justice and more prosperity for all. So therefore, the Amnesty Law set out below is proposed. It will grant amnesty to both government officials and political prisoners.
The only gentle measure against government officials may be their removal from office, but even then with fair compensation for loss of income or placement in the private sector with comparable income. If peaceful transition is to come to Cuba, then violence and brutal measures should be ruled out from the start. All Cubans should benefit from the change, not only members of the opposition (if they should prevail in free and fair elections). However, it would be wrong to allow officials who have committed atrocities to continue their work, as though nothing had happened.
And if the opposition is sincere in promoting peaceful transition through dialogue and democratic elections, the amnesty cannot be fully extended to those having opposed the government with violent means. Although the present government did use violence to overthrow Batista's regime and has not always shunned violence to maintain power, the Cuban opposition (not the opposition of Cuban exiles in Florida!) has vowed to use dialogue and non-violent means only. This entails that - to be consistent - the opposition cannot propose full amnesty for those having used violence in an effort to bring about change. For them the amnesty can be partial at best.
The ‘Christian Movement for Liberty', headed by Cuban dissident Oswaldo Payá, has in fact already handed in a petition to pass an Amnesty Law for political prisoners, but the law set out below goes much further, including peaceful transition to democracy in its scope. Something like the Amnesty Law below should be an essential part of the transition process. God give that some of these ideas may be accepted and implemented.
Based on these premises the following Amnesty Law is proposed for Cuba:
Proposed Amnesty Law for Cuba
SAC and TRC
- To facilitate peaceful transition to democracy in Cuba, a Special Amnesty Court (‘SAC'), as well as a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (‘TRC') will be set up.
- Both the SAC and the TRC will be set up, funded and administered by the United Nations Organization.
- A Special Prosecuting Office (‘SPO') with full investigative powers, including access to all government records, will be added to the TRC. The SPO shall prosecute any official or agent of the Cuban government, including members of the Cuban police and military, it deems responsible for committing or aiding and abetting in any of the crimes or misdemeanors set out in this law.
Amnesty for officials and agents of the Cuban government
- The TRC shall grant full amnesty to any official or agent of the Cuban government found to have been responsible for committing or aiding and abetting in any of the crimes or misdemeanors set out in this law, provided all conditions set out in this law are met.
- Without prejudice to any other conditions for amnesty set out in this law, amnesty shall only be granted if the prosecuted official or agent appears before the TRC and answers truthfully under oath all questions and queries put to him/her by the TRC and signs a declaration of allegiance to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social & Cultural Rights.
Amnesty for political prisoners or otherwise unjustly penalized persons
- The SAC shall grant full amnesty to any person imprisoned or otherwise unjustly penalized for having committed any non-violent act of rebellion, sedition or any other crime, misdemeanor or act with political intent or mainly political intent against the government of Cuba during the period as of 1 January 1959 until the date to be determined by the SAC.
- The SAC - at its discretion - may grant full or partial amnesty to any person imprisoned for having committed any violent act of rebellion, sedition or any other crime, misdemeanor or act with political intent or mainly political intent, against the government of Cuba, causing the death of or serious bodily injury to any person, during the period as of 1 January 1959 until the date to be determined by the SAC, on the understanding that the amnesty shall not shorten the prison term to less than three years, if the death of any person was caused, or to one year, if serious bodily injury to any person was inflicted.
- Any person, having been imprisoned or otherwise penalized by the Cuban government, has the right to hand in an amnesty petition to the SAC, irrespective of the nature of the criminal act for which he/she has been convicted. To be granted amnesty the petitioner must prove to the satisfaction of the SAC that the act for which he/she was convicted, was committed with political intent, or mainly with political intent.
- The SAC shall decide on each amnesty petition within three months of its submission.
Crimes and misdemeanors referred to in
article 1, section 3 & article 2, section 1.
The crimes and misdemeanors referred to in article 1, section 3 & article 2, section 1 are:
ordering or executing the death penalty for crimes or misdemeanors committed with political intent or with mainly political intent;
killing any person, or ordering the killing of any person;
torturing any person or causing serious bodily or mental injury or harm to any person;
ordering the torture of any person or ordering the infliction of any serious bodily or mental injury or harm to any person;
harassing any person, or ordering the harassment of any person;
ordering excessive prison terms for crimes or misdemeanors committed with political intent, or mainly with political intent;
confiscating or ordering the confiscation without fair compensation of any property of any person.
Extent of amnesty for officials or agents of the Cuban government
- Full amnesty for officials or agents of the Cuban government shall entail that no punishment shall be imposed, except for - at the discretion of the TRC - possible suspension and/or removal from office with fair compensation for loss of income or mandatory placement in the private sector with comparable income.
- Those who are not removed from office may be obligated - at the discretion of the TRC - to follow a clearly set out human rights retraining program.
Extent of amnesty for political prisoners
or otherwise unjustly penalized persons; compensation
- Without prejudice to the provisions set out in article 3, section 2, amnesty for political prisoners or otherwise unjustly penalized persons shall entail:
a. the pardon of any (remaining) prison term with full rehabilitation, including the deletion of the criminal record pertaining to the pardoned offence;
b. the immediate termination of any other kind of penalty that may have been imposed, with full restoration in any (property) rights that may as part of or as a consequence of the imposed penalty have been confiscated or otherwise damaged, harmed or diminished in value, except where - at the discretion of the SAC - a fixed amount in restorative compensation payable by the State is more appropriate.
- Apart from restorative compensation, the SAC may - at its discretion - award a fixed amount in extra compensation payable by the State to indemnify political prisoners or otherwise unjustly penalized persons for any pain or injustice suffered.
All amnesties granted by the TRC and the SAC shall be permanent.
Dismantlement of armed forces
- The Cuban Armed Forces will be dismantled.
- The Cuban Secret Police will be dismantled.
- Without prejudice to the provisions set out in article 6, all military personnel - including conscripts - will be offered appropriate functions in the Cuban Police Force.