Havana, Cuba March 23, 1998
Ms. Dora Carcaño
International Democratic Federation of Women
Through the press we have been informed that in our country between April 13 through the 16, the International Meeting of Solidarity Between Women, in which a considerable number of women from diverse countries will debate a series of issues of great inte rest which are closely related with the problem of women in our day.
Because of this we direct ourselves to you with the objective of requesting our participation in this event. Eventhough we are not afiliated with the Federation of Cuban Women, we are a group of Cuban women preoccupied with all those problems that have t o do with women, inside or outside of the country, be it the sphere of economics, education, health, culture, politics, society, discrimination, communication, violence, or any other.
Awaiting your kind response, signed those present
Marta Parga García, Alma Hernández Monaga, Isabel del Pino Sotolongo, María Valdés Rosado, Elsa García García, Ingrid Torres Alvarez, Ofelia Nardo Cruz, Lázara Beatriz García Alvarez, Odilia Collazo Valdés, Cecilia Arza Collazo, Laura Espinosa Rodríguez, Migdalia Rosado Hernández, María de los Ángeles González Amaro, Gladys Miyares Blanco, lleana Someillán Fleitas, Nancy Gutiérrez Pérez, Alda Valdés Santana, Miriam López Báez, Ana Luisa López Baeza, Maria Antonia Escobedo, Daisy Carcasés Bacle, Nancy Mederos, Mirta Aleida López Chávez, Susana Quintana Hidalgo, Graciela Avila Zamora, Ena Carcasés Batle, Gisela Delgado Sablón, Mercedes Núñez Cabrera, Iraida de León y Vicky Ruiz Labrit.
This declaration represents the protest of a group of Cuban women for their exclusion from the International Meeting of Solidarity Between Women, hosted by the International Democratic Federation of Women, the Continental Front of Women for the Right to W orthy Life, and the Federation of Cuban Women, among other organizations.
This exclusion became obvious after our request to participate in said meeting, presented on the 27th of March of this year to Ms. Dora Carcaño, director for Latin America of the International Democratic Federation of Women and head of the governme nt’s Federation of Cuban Women.
Actions such as these form part of the systematic politics of the official institutions of the island in its dealings with any Cuban citizen that attempts to participate as an individual or as any non-governmental organization, in the events organized by the regime.
In our country, conferences like the International Meeting of Solidarity Between Women, only those individuals designated by the pertinent institutions in the capacity of spokespersons for the interests of the government are allowed to participate. Tho se people not authorized who request to participate in such activities, in the best of cases are rejected, although frequently they suffer police harassment.
In Cuba, all participation, feminist opinion or feeling is monopolized by the governmental organization, the Federation of Cuban Women. This is nothing more than an extension of the Communist Party of Cuba, the only existing party and the only one tolera ted in the country monopolizing all the powers of the State with regards to feminist issues. It’s primary function, among others, is to assist in sustaining the propagandistic image of the Cuban government with its pretended image as a benefactor, especi ally the legend that women, thanks to the ruling regime, find in Cuba the realization of all their aspirations, while the difficulties they suffer are the sole result of the American commercial embargo against the government in the island.
Our request to participate in this event responds to a general motiviation to make heard in the island on some occasion alternative voices and opinions from the official version about the situation of the woman in Cuba. Denouncing demonstrative acts of t hose situations which are diametrically opposed to what is being published as the official version.
The intention is to demonstrate that women are the sector of the population that most suffers the consequences of the ruling regime in Cuba and that Cuban women will never see their aspirations realized, while the State monopolizes the national economy, s ubmerging the country in stagnation, privations, shortages, rationings, and misery.
Whereas the native population suffers Apartheid via means in which they are denied their rights in their own nation;
Whereas the majority of the people sees itself obligated to resort to criminal activities or to the emigrants to subsist precariously;
Whereas an important sector of the youthful population of both sexes find their personal solutions in marriages of conveniences with foreigners or in prostitution;
Whereas a diminished caste perpetuates itself in power impeding the participation of the immense majority of the population in politics;
Whereas hanging over the frightened citizenry is the sword of Damocles in a highly repressive Police State;
Whereas there exists no freedom to meet, to associate, to speak, to conscience, and information;
Whereas our children are precariously educated in schools where they are inculcated with beliefs and ideas contrary to the desires of their parents, and where families are separated for economic causes, housing, politics and ideologies, or for mobilizatio ns, scholarships, military service, international missions, arrests, prisons or emigration;
Whereas, in conclusion, the Cuban government denies the spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, protecting itself in the false realization of determined human aspirations totally utopian for countries so backward and poor like ours, this grou p of independent Cuban women whose participation in the International Meeting of Solidarity Between Women was rejected by the Cuban government - represents a portion of the femenist movement in the nation, making up diverse non-governmental organizations and not authorized by the State, defends human rights denouncing the continuous violation by the regime, suffering because of them isolation, harassment, and even long terms in prison.
This is the reason why we make this call to non-governmental organization of the world, feminists or not, especially all those who participated in the referred to meeting, so that they support our protest, and request to the Cuban authorities full access to the forum of this meeting.
Havana, April 14, 1998
Marta Parga García, Alma Hernández Monaga, Isabel del Pino Sotolongo, María Valdés Rosado, Elsa García García, Ingrid Torres Alvarez, Ofelia Nardo Cruz, Lázara Beatriz García Alvarez, Odilia Collazo Valdés, Cecilia Arza Collazo, Laura Espinosa Rodríguez, Migdalia Rosado Hernández, María de los Ángeles González Amaro, Gladys Miyares Blanco, lleana Someillán Fleitas, Nancy Gutiérrez Pérez, Alda Valdés Santana, Miriam López Báez, Ana Luisa López Baeza, Maria Antonia Escobedo, Daisy Carcasés Bacle, Nancy Mederos, Mirta Aleida López Chávez, Susana Quintana Hidalgo, Graciela Avila Zamora, Ena Carcasés Batle, Gisela Delgado Sablón, Mercedes Núñez Cabrera, Iraida de León y Vicky Ruiz Labrit. .