Cuban dissident Jorge Luis Garcia Perez, better known as Antunez, issued a call here Thursday for a "gradual" general strike in Cuba to paralyze the "structures of the Castro regime."

As a continuation of the campaign of resistance and non-cooperation with the Cuban regime, the strike had its impetus, according to Antunez, in the comparatively low turnout for the 2012 municipal elections.

"It's going to be a gradual, patient and arduous process. We're not thinking about paralyzing the country tomorrow," he said at a conference held at the Institute for Cuban and Cuban-American Studies.

The 49-year-old former political prisoner arrived in Miami last Sunday along with his wife, Yris Perez Aguilera, on their first trip outside the communist island.

He emphasized with optimism that the national strike is "mobilizing the (Cuban) people" so that they join the opposition movements that are demanding democratic change on the island, for which the support of the Cuban exile community abroad is of vital importance.

Antunez's trip abroad comes within the framework of the regime's immigration reforms that have already allowed dissidents such as Ladies in White leader Berta Soler, Guillermo Fariñas and Yoani Sanchez to travel outside Cuba.

But the reform is just a "maneuver and strategy of the regime" to "confuse" the international community, Antunez said.

"They only want to legitimize and give continuity to the dictatorship," he said.

He characterized as a "trick" to retain power the regime's so-called updating of its Socialist economic model, a series of reforms undertaken by the government of Raul Castro. EFE