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Latino Daily News

Sunday January 19, 2014

Cuban Dissidents to Hold Democracy Forum Parallel to CELAC Summit

Cuban Dissidents to Hold Democracy Forum Parallel to CELAC Summit

Photo: Cuba (Aaron Escobar)

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Cuban dissidents and activists plan to hold a forum on democracy in Havana on Jan. 28, parallel to the Summit of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, or CELAC, opposition sources told Efe on Saturday.

Organized by the Center for the Opening and Development of Latin America, or CADAL, and the dissident group Arco Progresista, the forum hopes to bring together members of the opposition like Guillermo FariƱas and Jose Daniel Ferrer, Ladies in White leader Berta Soler, blogger Yoani Sanchez and activist Antonio Rodiles, among other representatives of civil society on the island.

Arco Progresista leader Manuel Cuesta Morua told Efe on Saturday that the purpose of the forum will be to discuss aspects of CELAC’s constituent statement and identify where it agrees and disagrees with the Cuban system.

“We in Arco Progresista give a lot of importance to CELAC, and we hope that within its framework there can be a new stage of positive relations between the Cuban government and civil society,” Morua said.

For their part, Berta Soler and Jose Daniel Ferrer, leader of the outlawed Patriotic Union of Cuba, or Unpacu, confirmed to Efe on Saturday that they intend to be at the forum, whose exact location in the Cuban capital has not yet been determined.

The second CELAC summit, to be held Jan. 28-29 in Havana, will bring together heads of state and government as well as representatives of the 33 member countries, which include all nations of the Americas except the United States and Canada.

The Cuban government considers all dissidents to be “counterrevolutionaries” and “mercenaries” at the service of the United States.

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