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Cuba

Castro Opponents Cast Off Differences In New Push For Democracy In Cuba

Efforts by the government to reorganize the island’s economy have sparked renewed opposition demands for serious democratic reforms. Willing for now to overlook their own differences, dissidents have joined forces under a new declaration.

Castro Opponents Cast Off Differences In New Push For Democracy In Cuba
More than a half century after its revolution, Cuba continues to be governed by the Castro family
Paulo A. Paranagua

HAVANA -- For many years now, the famous Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya, 59, has been living in a house in the Cerro neighborhood, a humble district in Havana. Walls in the parlor display a poster referring to the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, which Paya received in 2002; the portraits of his three children; and a picture of himself carrying the boxes containing the 25,000 signatures collected through the Varela Project. This project began in 1998 and asked for a referendum on democratic reforms in Cuba. Most of the 75 political dissidents who were convicted and sent to jail during the 2003 Black Spring were involved in the Varela Project, the most important dissident campaign to date.

On the sidewalk across the street, words painted on a wall say "on a besieged island, every dissident is a traitor." Paya admits that his "children grew up surrounded by attacks and harassment," but he is proud of their school results, something he attributes to their religious family education. "I met my wife in 1986, at the Cuban National Ecclesiastical Church (CNEC), which was a turning point for our Church," adds this Christian Democrat dissident. Ten years ago he prayed for Felix Varela, leader of both the Cuban Church and of the Cuban independence movement, to bless him and his petition for a referendum.

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People walk by a mall destroyed by Russian shelling in Irpin, Ukraine. More than 300 civilians died in this city close to Kyiv. A month after the Russian troops’ withdrawal, its inhabitants are gradually returning to their devastated homes.

Lisa Berdet, Lila Paulou, Anne-Sophie Goninet and Bertrand Hauger

👋 Bonjour!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where Russia declares victory in Mariupol as the 82-day siege ends, Biden’s administration lifts some Trump-era restrictions on Cuba and NASA’s rover starts digging around for life on Mars. Meanwhile, America Economia explains how blockchain technology could take the cannabis business to an all-time high.

[*French]

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