Former political prisoners and other members of Cuba's opposition on Wednesday revealed a democratic transition proposal that includes calling for a "national dialogue" on the Communist-ruled island.
"El camino del pueblo" (The road of the people), the title of the new document sent to the foreign press, is signed by leaders of the dissident movement such as Sakharov Prize recipients Oswaldo Paya and Guillermo Fariñas, Ladies in White spokesperson Laura Pollan and the head of the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, Elizardo Sanchez, among others.
Also signing the proposal were former political prisoners from the "Group of 75" dissidents who were convicted of assorted crimes during the Black Spring 2003 repression but who have been released from prison over the past year.
The signers are pushing for a peaceful transition to a democratic system via a "national dialogue" that would lead to free elections for an assembly to draft a new constitution.
They are also demanding new laws to guarantee the freedoms of expression, press and association and rights such as being allowed to travel freely or own businesses.
Among the steps involved in the transition, the group is proposing the creation of a National Commission composed of members of the government, the opposition and other components of civil society.
In addition, they are suggesting the holding of a referendum so that the members of the public can independently express their preferences regarding the changes.
"The Cubans are the only ones whose business it is to define and decide about the changes our society needs and to make our national project a reality," the document states.
Elizardo Sanchez told Efe that "El camino del pueblo" is a "broad" document that intends to establish an ideological basis of "convergence" toward a transition process in Cuba.
The Cuban government generally dismisses most dissidents as "counterrevolutionaries" and "mercenaries" in the service of the United States.
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