UNPACU (Unión Patriótica de Cuba)
UNPACU, or Patriotic Union of Cuba is a civic organization born from the bosom of the existing political repression in Cuba. UNPACU struggles peacefully but firmly against all kinds of repressions of civil liberties in the island of Cuba. It is considered to be the largest dissident organization in Cuba and is one of the most active promoters of freedom. They represent roughly around 9 thousand activists and their major number of followers comes from Eastern part of the island: Santiago de Cuba, Guantánamo, Holguín.
To peacefully but firmly against all kinds of repressions of civil liberties in the island of Cuba. UNPACU also aims to unify the Cuban peaceful opposition.
HOW THE OBJECTIVES WERE ACHIEVED
Without seeking protagonism, José Daniel Ferrer García has managed to make UNPACU grow at a impressive pace. At the beginning of 2013 UNPACU was formed by five thousand activists while now they are almost 10 thousand and counting.
There are mainly two big challenges in Cuba, the first one being the lack of confidence and trust among the citizens. This makes it really difficult to organize any kind of civic organization that is considered illegal by the government. UNPACU, has not only been able to create such an organization but also it has managed to get together different organizations in one Patriotic Union with one leader but a lot of voices. This is the second challenge in an Island where repression is an everyday thing, where everyone knows that being close to UNPACU is a fast track to harassment by authorities, arbitrary detentions, and prison.
People are getting to know more and more UNPACU and they are now working on training future political candidates for a future democratic Cuba. The greatest impact they identify is the fact that they now do not need to seek for new members but people look for them and want to be part of this great dissident organization. This is also proof that people are beginning to loose fear, the first step in the road to democracy.
Many of the challenges where already mentioned, such us the lack of trust and fragmentation of Cuban society. Harassment is always another challenge. It is important to note that one of UNPACU’s member Wilman Villar Mendoza died in prison during a hunger strike to denounce the inhumane conditions in prison and to demand a fair trial.
More importantly Jose Daniel Ferrer García learned that if you try you can make it. That it is a long and tiring road, full of obstacles and difficulties but that it is worth trying. They also learned the importance of tolerance, of trust and most importantly the importance of dialogue within an organization and with the society as a whole.