Cuban dissidents said on Saturday that the death of ex-President Fidel Castro does not mean there will be any political changes in Cuba, given that he left power 10 years ago, though they do fear more repression during the nine days of national mourning.
“Nothing is changing here. The only good news is that we have one less dictator, but we still have the other because Raul is just as much a dictator as Fidel,” Berta Soler, leader of the Ladies in White dissident group, told EFE news in a statement.
Politically nothing is changing in Cuba except for the “incremental deterioration” of the human rights situation on the island, where repression “is increasing”, according to the head of the Ladies in White, an organisation founded by mothers, wives and daughters of the “Group of 75”, dissidents sentenced to many years in prison during the wave of repression known as the “Black Spring” of 2003.
“In Cuba nobody likes the Castro dynasty, who are a bunch of mafiosos. If we want a democratic transition on the island, it has to be without that family in power,” she said.
Soler said she fears police repression will be stepped up during the decreed nine days of national mourning, during which the group she leads plans to call for protest marches to demand respect for human rights and the release of political prisoners, just like the marches the Ladies in White organise every Sunday.
Of the same opinion is former political prisoner Jose Daniel Ferrer, leader of the Patriotic Union of Cuba, who foresees in the coming weeks “more control and repression of dissidence and of any sector of the population that represents a danger to the dictatorship”.
For Ferrer, Fidel Castro’s death on Friday “means little because everyone is used to his absence from the media and from public life”.
Nonetheless, he admits that since Castro is the “main symbol of the regime”, his disappearance could be taken by the Cuban people as an opportunity “to make more demands”.
“Last night when his death was announced, everyone was sleeping. And today they got up to continue their struggle for subsistence,” Ferrer said.