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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
07HAVANA318
2007-03-30 17:23:00
CONFIDENTIAL
US Interests Section Havana
Cable title:  

ANOTHER CUBAN GROUP, ANC, SEEKS PRISONERS' RELEASE

Tags:   PHUM  KDEM  SOCI  CU 
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VZCZCXRO0665
RR RUEHAG RUEHROV
DE RUEHUB #0318/01 0891723
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 301723Z MAR 07
FM USINT HAVANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1531
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
RUEHZJ/HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RUEHWH/WESTERN HEMISPHERIC AFFAIRS DIPL POSTS
RUEHSW/AMEMBASSY BERN 0073
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 0085
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK
RUESDM/JTLO MIAMI FL
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HAVANA 000318 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE DEPT FOR WHA/CCA

E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/30/2017
TAGS: PHUM KDEM SOCI CU
SUBJECT: ANOTHER CUBAN GROUP, ANC, SEEKS PRISONERS' RELEASE

REF: A. HAVANA 313


B. HAVANA 311

HAVANA 00000318 001.2 OF 002


Classified By: COM Michael E. Parmly for Reason 1.4(d).



1. (C) Summary: Seventeen Cuban pro-democracy activists
affiliated with the National Constitutionalist Alliance (ANC)
gathered in Havana on March 29 and called for the release of
political prisoners. State Security did not interfere with
the meeting. ANC leader Angel Pablo Polanco told reporters
that the organization has launched a campaign aimed at
winning the prisoners' freedom, and that of Cuba, by the end
of 2008. The campaign involves a signature drive and the
threat of "street mobilizations," in the event that the
prisoners are not released. The campaign was announced two
days after the "Ladies in White" -- backed by a host of other
activists -- wrote to the UN Human Rights Council, strongly
urging that body to demand that the Cuban Government release
its prisoners of conscience. The ANC lacks the stature and
support to mobilize major street protests, but its call joins
a chorus of demands for the prisoners' release, and pressure
is building on the regime to respond. End Summary.



2. (C) A federation of Cuban pro-democracy organizations, the
National Constitutionalist Alliance (ANC), called March 29
for the release of political prisoners. The call came in a
press conference at the home of ANC leader Angel Pablo
Polanco, who addressed not only members of Havana's foreign
press corps but, via conference call, reporters in Miami.
Polanco and 16 other ANC-affiliated activists, including
"Ladies in White" Berta Soler and Alejandrina Garcia, as well
as youth leader Nestor Rodriguez Lobaina, announced the start
of a campaign aimed at winning the "unconditional release of
all Cuban political prisoners, and the liberation of Cuba,
before the end of 2008." Organizers of the campaign say they
hope to collect 250,000 signatures for a free-the-prisoners
petition that will be "submitted to the international court
at The Hague, and the International Criminal Court." The ANC
also states that if the prisoners remain behind bars at the
end of 2008, the group will call on citizens to occupy public
squares and demand the prisoners' release.

NO GOC INTERVENTION


--------------------------





3. (C) State Security, based blocks away at the notorious
Villa Marista detention/interrogation center, did not
interrupt the dissident event. Among the participants were
members of the ANC (or Polanco's other organization, the
Pro-Change Committee) from as far away as Granma, Guantanamo
and Holguin provinces. A number of foreign missions were
invited to observe, but only USINT appeared. Three foreign
reporters, one from AP, attended the press conference at the
Havana end. (Radio and TV Marti reporters were among those
covering the event in Miami, at the office of Council for the

Liberation of Cuba.)

REPORTERS SKEPTICAL


--------------------------





4. (C) At least one reporter in Havana was skeptical about
the ANC's goal of collecting a quarter-million signatures
and, if needed, putting large numbers of people on the
streets. Polanco, associated with conservative elements of
Cuba's exile community, responded by saying that although
State Security controls society and instills fear, there is a
great desire for change and, particularly among the youth,
willingness to try to make a difference.

MORATINOS VISIT


--------------------------





5. (C) Reporters also asked Polanco if he hoped to meet with
Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos during the
latter's April 1-3 visit to Havana (reftel A). Polanco noted
that the Spanish Embassy had declined to send a participant
to the press conference. He added: "My opinion is that Spain
is not truly offering the support we need. The Spanish
Government has never invited us to hear about its policy
toward Cuba. We respect everyone, but we won't go looking
for support from Spain, given its policy. And anyway, our
struggle is internal."


HAVANA 00000318 002.2 OF 002


APPEAL BY "LADIES IN WHITE"


--------------------------





6. (C) The ANC event came two days after the "Ladies in
White," relatives of the 75 peaceful activists imprisoned in
2003 after sham trials, sent the Human Rights Council a note
(reftel B) imploring the body to demand that the Cuban
Government immediately free all prisoners of conscience. The
note was supported by 14 key Cuban pro-democracy groups,
including the ANC; Vladimiro Roca's All United; Martha
Beatriz Roque's Assembly to Promote Civil Society; Roberto de
Miranda's Independent Teachers College; the Marti Youth
Coalition; the Christian Labor Union; labor federation CONIC;
Manuel Cuesta Morua's Progressive Arc; the Liberal Party; the
Independent Library Project; the Cuban Liberal Movement; and
a freedom-of-expression group. Other groups, such as Oswaldo
Paya's Christian Liberation Movement and Juan Carlos Gonzalez
Leyva's Cuban Human Rights Foundation, said they would
release statements in support of the Ladies' appeal.

COMMENT


--------------------------





7. (C) Although the ANC lacks the stature and support to
mobilize large street protests of its own, the group's call
joins and strengthens a chorus of on-island calls - including
those by the Ladies in White and by Paya's MCL - for the
immediate release of political prisoners. The rising volume
of this collective voice is undoubtedly increasing pressure
on the regime, which we hope will be put on the spot to
release prisoners in connection with Moratinos' visit.
PARMLY