To the Editors:
In this time of fundamental changes in the Soviet Union, we believe that Cuba could also participate in this openness. We think your readers may be interested in the enclosed.
Orlando Jiminez Leal
New York City
Mr. Fidel Castro Ruz
President of the Republic of Cuba:
On January 1, 1989, you will have been in power for thirty years without having, so far, celebrated elections to determine if the Cuban people do wish you to continue as President of the Republic, President of the Council of Ministers, President of the Council of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
Following the recent example of Chile, where after fifteen years of dictatorship, the people were able to express their view freely on their country’s political future, we request by this letter a plebiscite so that Cubans, by free and secret ballot, could assert simply with a yes or a no their agreement or rejection to your staying in power.
In order to guarantee the impartiality of this plebiscite, it is essential that the following conditions be met:
- That all exiles be allowed to return to Cuba and, together with other sectors of the opposition, permitted to campaign using all means of communication (press, radio, television, etc.).
- The freeing of all political prisoners and the suspension of laws that curtail the free expression of public opinion.
The legalization of human rights committees within Cuba.
The naming of a neutral international commission to oversee the plebiscite.
Should the no prevail, it would be incumbent upon you to respect the will of the majority by giving way to a period of democratic openness and promptly calling an election where the Cuban people could freely elect its leaders.
Nestor Almendros, Victoria Abril, Fernando Arrabal, Saul Bellow, Carlos Castañeda, Camilo Jose Cela, Guillermo Cabrera Infante, Federico Fellini, Vicente Molina Foix, Juan Goytisolo, Eugene Ionesco, David Lynch, Czeslaw Milosz, Octavio Paz, Herberto Padilla, Paloma Picasso, Manuel Puig, David Rieff, Isabella Rossellini, Ernesto Sabato, Barbet Schroeder, Susan Sontag, Rene Tavernier, Mario Vargas Llosa, Elie Wiesel
February 2, 1989