- The Washington Times - Saturday, December 13, 2003

HAVANA (Agence France-Presse) — Renowned Cuban dissident leader Oswaldo Paya released a “working document” here this weekend that seeks political reform and a transition to democratic rule.

Mr. Paya, head of the opposition Christian Liberation Movement, called on all Cubans — including Cuban exiles — to participate in a national dialogue calling for democracy.

“The final goal is to achieve a democratic government elected by the people and with a program defined by the people,” Mr. Paya said in a statement.

There was no word on how the communist regime of President Fidel Castro had reacted to the document, but Mr. Castro has clamped down hard on dissidents this year.

In March, Cuba arrested 75 opposition figures, including journalists and writers, and sentenced them to terms as long as 28 years in prison.

Mr. Paya’s prior political initiatives, including a signature campaign calling for multiparty democracy, have been declared “unconstitutional” by the island’s National Assembly.

Mr. Paya’s 70-page, nine-chapter road map lays out “a path of reconciliation” toward democracy.

The document foresees a democratic government being installed under a presidential college composed of three members.

Its members, who would have to reside in Cuba, would be charged with overseeing a transition to democracy, according to the document.

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