Stefania Lapenna

So far, it seems that the initial steps are working well. Several dissidents in the island report on the growing refusal by the population to attend the official meetings of the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR), which take place in every neighborhood. These meetings are where brutal methods are planned against peaceful opponents and those who violate the "state's laws" that, in Castro's Cuba, include street vendors and prostitutes.

There is also an increase in popular rejection of the so-called 'acts of repudiation' led by the State Security and the political police, who gather as many thugs as possible in front of the houses of dissidents, specially during or before opposition meetings. During these barbaric acts of harassment, which often start from the early morning and end late in the afternoon, the freedom fighters are insulted, threatened with death, defamed and even beaten up in their own houses, as occurred a few months ago to Martha Beatriz Roque.

Unlike in times past, the CDRs can't find any neighbors or passerby willing to attack their countrymen because of their political views. They resort to using plainclothes agents of the police, the regime's militias and communist party militants.

During some of these infamous fascist attacks, the neighbors of the harassed dissidents have shouted "abusers!" at the castroite mobs and visited the victims' house in order to show them solidarity and support.

Since October 10, the Assembly's 152 independent libraries across the island are gathering in what is their first national congress that will end on February 2007. The congress consists in meetings in every library during which the librarians plan the next moves, and distribute censored books and reviews to the population. They also provide information about the condition of the political prisoners and their families. There will be numerous activities with the youth and children. The Congress aims to raise awareness among the population by engaging it as much as possible. In every library there are signs reading "Cambio" (Change), which are also put in the walls of the nearby neighborhoods. Every book they deliver has leaflets saying "we are in congress for democracy", in addition to the already mentioned mottos calling for change and non-cooperation.

According to first reports from Cuba, the response from the public has been very positive. Unsurprisingly, however, the repression has already began. Some of the activists gathered in congress have been savagely beaten up, others threatened with being thrown in jail and so on.

This doesn't seem to discourage the freedom fighters. They have stated they won't be intimidated and will go on with the celebration of their activities.

The "Yo No Coopero, Yo Si Quiero el Cambio" campaign is being endorsed by the overwhelming majority of the opposition organizations, both in Cuba and in the exile. It is an unprecedented initiative that, right now that Castro is dying in his hospital bed, may well be the right steps toward the liberation of Cuba.

No one should be surprised by the mainstream media blackout on these events. What surprises the most is the silence of the democratic world, with the United States and Europe on the forefront. For once, they should stop focusing on who is in power in Cuba in place of the ailing Fidel. Rather, they should start engaging the civic resistance movements inside Cuba that despite the increasing repression, has made it clear that "for Cuba, now it's time".

Stefania Lapenna

Stefania Lapenna is an Itialian freelance writer and blogger living in Sardinia, Italy. She has been published in the Jerusalem Post, l’Opinione and Il Foglio in Italy and is currently a contributor to Tech Central Station, the American Thinker and Ragion Politica (Italy).

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