An Ethical Roadway for Civil Society
An Ethical Roadway for Civil Society / Cubanet, Miriam Celaya
Posted on March 1, 2015
Cubanet, Miriam Celaya, Havana, 25 February 2015 — This Wednesday,
February 25th, 2015, a new meeting of the members Espacio Abierto [Cuban
Civil Society Open Forum] of the independent civil society took place
with a broad representation of members of various pro-democracy projects
throughout the Island, as well as independent journalists. A total of 25
participants took part in the symposium, where, in addition, views on
issues of interest to the Cuban reality were exchanged.
On this occasion, among the most important points of the discussion
adopted by full consensus was the document “An ethical roadway for Cuban
civil society” which — as its name suggests — provides a guide for the
basic principles governing the conclave, and a Motion of Solidarity with
civil society and the Venezuelan opposition at a time when the
repression tends to flare up with a statement that emphasizes leaders
like Leopoldo López, who recently served a year in prison; Maria Corina
Machado, a former deputy who was attacked and removed from office by the
Chavista authoritarianism; and the Mayor of Caracas, Antonio Ledezma,
elected at the polls by popular will, violently arrested in recent days
by the repressive forces of the government of that nation.
Whereas the document adopted at the conclave should be made known to the
public, especially Cubans from all shores, its contents are reproduced
here in their entirety:
An Ethical Path for Cuban Civil Society
As part of the independent Cuban civil society, we believe that every
moral choice is a strictly non-transferable decision, absent from all
imposition. We also recognize that, because of its relational character,
citizens seek to socialize and get incorporated into communities that
have received an established humus solidified with values and virtues
known as community ethos, whether family, group, national or
international. By agreeing to an ethical path, we reject a dogmatic
moral, prohibitive in itself, of frivolity and debauchery. We opt for
dialogical ethics against an authoritarian moral, ethics that
intrinsically link freedom and responsibility. We propose to educate
ourselves to assume, in our principles and in our attitudes, the
following ethical path, rooted in the best of our Cuban heritage:
1. We acknowledge that a human being is the central character of his own
story. Thus, the person must be the beginning, the middle and the end of
any institution or historical process. Human beings are not the means,
nor can they be an object in the hands of others, therefore they should
not be manipulated for scientific, social, political or economic
experiments.We believe that all human beings are equal before the law
and diverse in their abilities and personal choices.
2. We must encourage consistency between what we believe, what we say
and what we do. Any personal, civic and political engagement must be
inextricably supported by ethical behavior without which all individual
or community action loses value and meaning.
3. Cuba, that is, the nation known as the community of all its citizens
on the Island and in the Diaspora, its wellbeing, its freedom, its
progress and common good, is the inspiration and the end of all civic
and political action, banishing spurious interests.We consider that the
meaning and purpose of our ethical commitment to Cuba is to build a
peaceful, fruitful and prosperous coexistence in our country, rather
than a simple coexistence with those who are different or adversarial.
4. We opt for peaceful methods and for seeking nonviolent solutions to
both national and international conflicts and our interpersonal
relationships. We opt for the absolute respect for human life and
declare ourselves against all violence and the death penalty.
5. The discrepancy of opinions and political debate should leave no room
for personal or group attacks, insults or denigrating exclusions, or
6. We believe that property, knowledge, and power are to serve and that
without agile and honest institutions there is no possible governance.
We believe that without civil sovereignty there is no progress,
articulation, or primacy of the governance of civil society as a valid
participant. Corruption, lies and excessive material interest are the
main enemies of civility in the world today, so, as part of the
independent Cuban civil society, we reject these evils and opt for
transparency, favor truth and the primacy of spiritual values.
7. We seek a modicum of ethics agreed to through a consensus building
process. We differentiate the processes of dialogue and negotiation.
Therefore, we believe that an ethical minimum must surface from a
dialogue leading to consensus agreements, while specific covenants
should surface from negotiations, which must be observed and followed by
8. A civic ethic of minimums agreed to by consensus is an achievement of
pluralist humanity. Its basis is the full and utmost dignity of the
human person, achieved through acknowledgment, education and defense of
all rights for everyone, proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights resolved by the U.N. in 1948, which we fully embrace as our
inspiration and ethics program.
9. We adhere to the three fundamental values summarized by the best
aspirations of humanity: freedom, equality, fraternity and their
corresponding rights. First generation rights extol the value of
freedom, they are civil and political rights. Second generation rights
commend the value of equality, they are economic, social and cultural
rights. Third generation rights endorse the value of universal
brotherhood as ecological rights for a healthy environmental balance and
the right to a peaceful world.
10 Consequently, we wish to opt for inclusion and democratic
participation; moral authority, not authoritarianism; proposals, not
prescriptions; what ideas are expressed, rather than who speaks them;
programs and not just leaders. Unity in diversity, not uniformity.
Rational convictions, not fanaticism. The decriminalization of
differences, not intolerance. Decentralization and subsidiarity should
replace centralism and totalitarianism. Ethics must take precedence over
technique and science. Commitment must win over indifference. We opt for
the ethics of politics and economics, of national coexistence and of
11. This ethical commitment should translate into attitudes and
proactive actions to heal the anthropological damage and overcome civic
and political illiteracy with the systematic labor of citizen
empowerment. Since we reject any moral imposition, we believe that
education is the only valid way. So we direct our efforts towards an
education liberating of ourselves and of all alienation, in order to be
able to contribute to the ethical and civic education of all Cuban
people, inspired by Human Rights and their corresponding Civic Duties.
Civic and political activists or intellectuals should not be society’s
moralizers. Being chosen to represent does not confer moral authority,
but political commitment, subject to scrutiny and public willpower. We
believe in representation as a service to society. This representation
must be the product of popular choice, limited by time and succession.
12. Civic ethics is forged by each person, and it is the community’s
responsibility to establish, educate, promote and safeguard the humus of
the ethics of the nation open to the world, based on the great values of
truth and freedom, justice and love.
By adopting this ethical pathway, we want to identify its roots in the
ethics of our founding fathers. The teaching of the Apostle José Martí
reminds us that: “For love we see, with love we see, it is love that
sees.” We believe in civic friendship and in the reconciliation where
that righteousness should flow, which Maestro José de la Luz y Caballero
called the “sun of the moral world.” Finally, we share Father Félix
Varela’s philosophy that taught us that “There is no Motherland without
virtue or virtue without piety”.
162nd anniversary of the death of Father Félix Varela
Translated by Norma Whiting
Source: An Ethical Roadway for Civil Society / Cubanet, Miriam Celaya |
Translating Cuba –