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Press release

(Miami-Madrid-Warsaw, 10 December)- A group of Cubans celebrates the International Human Rights Day by launching a campaign to abolish the death penalty on the Island.

It is an initiative of the Christian Democrat Party of Cuba, based in Miami, which already has the support of the group Convivencia Cuba (Pinar del Río), of the Federation of Cuban Associations, the Cuban Human Rights Observeratory (Madrid), and the Cuban Workers Council. It has also received the backing of the former prisoners of  conscience José Luís García Paneque, Víctor Rolando Arroyo Carmona, Pedro Pablo Álvarez Ramos and Alejandro González Raga, all part of the “Cause of the 75″.

The campaign seeks to start a national debate on the need for the death penalty to be removed from the Cuban criminal code.

The organizers maintain that respect for life should be encouraged in Cuba and they call on all Cubans, both on the Island and in exile, to choose life, opposing the damage caused by so many decades of “Socialism or Death”. They believe the initiative is also in line with the challenge of making changes in Cuban society through justice and reconciliation, not by vengeance.

Cuban society has, for decades, been taught not to value life, but to pay homage to death: ‘The Fatherland or Death’, ‘Socialism or Death’ have been the most important slogans. We have gained nothing by following that path; let life, and not death, be the cornerstone of our future.” (Campaign message).

The opening text of the campaign reminds us that the death penalty still exists in Cuban criminal law. It acknowledges that the regime has, in practice, suspended the use of the death penalty in recent years, ‘but this is due to tactical convenience and not to doubts about the morality of it‘. And it recalls that the death penalty was applied in 2003 after several years in which it had not been used. ‘All Cubans, especially those condemned to death, know that the regime retains this terrifying power and that it may use it at any time‘.

Against this fact, they declare that the free and democratic world is more than ever aware that the death penalty must be abolished in all countries.

Any person or group who wishes to express support for the position of this organization can do so at the web page: www.nopenademuertecuba.com, where they will also find a box for suggesting other initiatives which could help in the campaign.

Contact details:
Marcelino Miyares
Phone: 001 3057783977
miyares@pdc-cuba.org

Translated by: Jack Gibbard

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