Cuban Dissident Leaders look back on 2006:
Manuel Cuesta Morúa from Arco Progresista:
Cuesta Morúa feels that wether Cuban citizens express or not, theres a feeling “across all of society that Cuba cannot take anymore”. He added that the repression against dissidents is more “passive” and that the regime “reacts” against dissidents rather than bacy ot of its own “initiative”. He opines that 2007 will mark the formation of a new Cuban government, “within the revolution.”
Elizardo Sánchez, president of la Comisión Cubana de Derechos Humanos y Reconciliación Nacional:
In Sanchez’s opinión, the repression has been “constant like in previous years, although there was a downturn in August and September only to increase in October and November”. He added that the December 10 incident where government sympathizers violently impeded a peaceful march by the Ladies in White and Dr. Darsi Ferrer was “Raúl castro’s government flexing its muscle”
Mr. Palacios who was released from prison earlier this month after being given a 28 yr sentence in 2003, said that “people don’t have time to think about Castro’s health and are conscious of the need for change”.
Miriam Leiva from Damas de Blanco:
Ms. Leiva considers that “the level of repression is as strong as ever and that one can’t really “say that there was more this year”. The was no change with the dissidents, the repression, which was stronger in the country’s interior, continues to remind the population that they can’t move about and remind them that they are all hostages.”
Oscar Espinosa Chepe:
Chepe is one of the “Group of 75” imprisoned in the black spring of 2003. He has since been released and is somewhat more optimistic than his wife, Miriam Leiva. In his opinion, there has been a “growth in the population’s conciousness that there is a need for a change.” He pointed to more “respectful” attitude towards dissidents than say 4 or 5 years ago.
Surprisingly, he pointed to Raúl Castro’s invitation to open up a dialogue with the US which he feels “deserves a vote of confidence” since they have waited 48 years with Fidel , he doesn’t “know why not give Raúl five months?”