Political prisoners capture the attention of the world after Cuban authorities arrest them for practicing libertarianism.
The Libertarian Party is the third largest political party in the United States that promotes individual liberty, laissez-faire capitalism, and non-intervention policies.
“We have two libertarians in prison without having committed crimes,” said Nelson Rodriguez Chartrand, Spokesman of the Cuban Libertarian Party – José Martí. “State Security have already detained several activists for a brief time, only to warn them to leave the group.” José Martí, who expressed libertarian ideas, was a Cuban national hero and important figure in Latin America literature.
Chartrand said he was thankful to libertarians from around the world for denouncing the actions of the state. “We are truly impressed by the gestures of solidarity and support we have received from the libertarian parties of the world, especially the Libertarians of the U.S.A.” The Cuban government is somewhat bewildered by the attention, he said. “They are afraid of international public opinion, because they live a false image.”
The Cuban Libertarian Party – José Martí filed a complaint with the Attorney General of the Republic demanding the immediate release of their brothers, Ubaldo Herrera Hernandez and Manuel Velázquez Visea, he continued. “We are waiting for the regulated time to receive a reply and if they do not agree to our request, then we have other strategic plans I prefer not to discuss.”
Chartrand said he co-founded the Cuban Anarco-Capitalist Club in 2014 to expand libertarian thought in communist Cuba. “The Cuban Libertarian Party – José Martí became the extension of what was the Cuban Anarco-Capitalist Club and, most recently, Mises Institute Cuba,” he said. “Both organizations intend to sow the seeds of freedom on the island, to offer a different way of thinking after more than 50 years imposed with a highly collectivist doctrine.”
Secret police can arrest and imprison members for so-called illicit association, he said. “In Cuba only one Party, the Communist, is legal, is exclusive, that is, the existence of other parties is not allowed.” Illicit association is a reason to withhold work permits, said Chartrand, who is a lawyer by trade. “Several of the Cuban Libertarian Party’s most dedicated activist dissidents are listed as enemies of the state and therefore unemployable.” Including him, he said.
“Peaceful meetings, even in private places, are also not allowed, nor is freedom of expression by constitutional mandate,” he said. “Only those who are identified with socialism have freedom of expression, Article 53 of the Constitution.”
While spreading libertarian ideas in a dictatorship is not an easy task, he said he is not discouraged. “One day we simply had to get started and we certainly have.” The Cuban Libertarian Party – José Martí are prepping to expose libertarianism to the entire population, said Chartrand.
“Our idea in this first stage is to follow through with Library by deepening the activists’ libertarian ideology,” he continued. “At the same time, we will begin to demand from the government measures aimed at giving the individual his full sovereignty back.”
Donations to the Cuban Libertarian Party – José Martí are being accepted and are welcome, he said. “Thanks to donations from American Libertarians, our Libertarian brothers and sisters have access to phones and Internet, and several of them now have livable stipends to keep doing Cuban LP activism full time.” However, real change starts at home, he said.
“The main people responsible for the seed of freedom being planted in Cuba are all those who remain on the island,” said Chartrand. “Help is always necessary, but I emphasize, the main ingredient of our success is the love, the seriousness, the constancy that we know to show the Cuban libertarians.”
Libertarian thinking is made for human beings, he added. “It is the unique form of thought coherent with human nature and the suitable one for the achievement of progress and human happiness that in the end is the true purpose of our existence.”