Monthly Archives: April 2010

E-Democracy Cuban Human Rights Campaign: FAQ

Who are the people in the campaign and what are their affiliations, if any?

Most of the people involved in the campaign emigrated from Cuba during the 1990s and settled in the US, Canada, Europe and Latin America. Several of them were political refugees. They now work as academics, journalists, translators, programmers, photographers and artists. None is the member of a political or governmental association.

How was the campaign team formed?

Most of the team met in the Cuban blogosphere. A core group had collaborated on other human rights projects, most recently a successful fall 2009 campaign to pressure the Cuban government to release Panfilo, a man jailed for being filmed saying there was hunger in Cuba.

Why are they doing this?

The campaign team is united in their desire for a Cuba in which all fundamental human and civil rights are respected.

What are their sources of financing and other support?

The campaign receives NO outside financing or logistical, strategic or operational support. Both the hard costs (website, software, telecommunications services) and the soft costs (an enormous number of person-hours) have been assumed by the team members themselves.

What has the campaign done?

Organized a petition through which Cubans and other individuals around the world (45,000 and counting) can condemn the wrongful death of Orlando Zapata Tamayo in February 2010, demand the release of all remaining political prisoners from Cuban jails, and affirm their wish that Cuba respect the basic human rights of all its citizens.

What are its short and long-term goals?

In the short-term, to prevent the death by starvation of Guillermo Fariñas and any other hunger-striking dissidents and prisoners of conscience, as well as to obtain the release of all Cuban political prisoners. In the long term, to effect a transition to a Cuba in which there is the right to life, liberty and security of person; freedom of opinion and expression; freedom of peaceful assembly and association; and a government based on the will of the people as expressed in periodic and genuine elections.

Is the campaign being coordinated with the hunger strikers in Cuba?

No. Occasionally, we receive messages from hunger strikers conveyed by their relatives or human rights activists within Cuba. Fariñas and other prisoners of conscience are aware of the existence of this campaign and have signed the petition. That is the extent of the coordination.

Is there a set of campaign principles?

Human rights, democracy, transparency and non-violence.

How does this campaign differ from past efforts to promote human rights in Cuba?

This is the first human rights campaign to challenge a repressive regime through the use of e-democracy on a massive scale, joining the myriad voices of Cubans in and out of Cuba; important American, European and Latin American intellectuals and artists; elected officials from all political stripes; and citizens from over 103 countries. It is our hope that the campaign serves as the first step in a peaceful transition to a democratic Cuba.

What can I do to help?

Sign the petition, and ask others to sign it! And stay tuned for campaign updates.

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Letter to the New York Times

Dear Editor:

A month and a half after the death by hunger strike of Cuban prisoner of conscience Orlando Zapata Tamayo, you have covered its aftermath in “Castro: Cuba Will Resist Hunger Strike ‘Blackmail’, 4/4/2010.” This sad event has elicited ample attention by mainstream media worldwide and is now emblematic of the plight of political prisoners in Cuba.

In the article it was reported that Zapata Tamayo is the “first opposition figure to die after a hunger strike in nearly forty years.” In fact, during the regime led by the Castro brothers at least 12 Cuban political prisoners are documented to have died by hunger strike demanding humane treatment, and 7 of them died in the last 40 years. (See

The article noted that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and the European Parliament have condemned Zapata’s death. But President Obama himself had also added his support to “a growing chorus around the world in calling for an end to the repression, for the immediate, unconditional release of all political prisoners in Cuba, and for respect for the basic rights of the Cuban people.”

The campaign for the release of all Cuban political prisoners mentioned in the article is “OZT: I accuse the Cuban government.” Rather than “criticize” the Cuban government, as was reported, it accuses it. Readers who wish to sign the petition for the release of all Cuban political prisoners may find it at

Missing from the piece was Raúl Castro’s most troubling statement: that his country “would rather disappear, as we proved in 1962” [in reference to the Missile Crisis] than meet the growing demands from the international community for his regime to uphold universally recognized human rights.


Alexis Romay
OZT: I Accuse the Cuban Government

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