Remarks on Capitol Hill today August 2, 2012
Alex Sutton is right when he says that there is no free speech in Cuba and this also applies to the international press based there that know if they reported the news accurately they would be kicked out of the country by the regime as many international reporters have already been. If you want to have an idea of what is actually going on you are better off reading the tweets of independent journalists and human rights defenders on the island.
Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas interview in January of 2003 (in Spanish)
Oswaldo Payá left Cuba in late 2002 to collect the Sakharov Prize awarded to him by the European Union where he gave an important speech on December 17, 2002 in which he outlined an important first victory of the opposition:
“The first victory we can claim is that our hearts are free of hatred. Hence we say to those who persecute us and who try to dominate us: ‘You are my brother. I do not hate you, but you are not going to dominate me by fear. I do not wish to impose my truth, nor do I wish you to impose yours on me. We are going to seek the truth together.’”Laura Pollán became a dissident when her husband was imprisoned during the Black Cuban Spring of 2003 along with more than 75 others. She was one of the founders of the Ladies in White and challenged the dictatorship on the streets of Cuba. Following brutal repression in an effort to prevent them from marching through the streets of Havana Laura Pollan demonstrated states: "We will never give up our protest. The authorities have three options — free our husbands, imprison us or kill us.
|Laura Pollán wearing a cast product of attacks received by regime agents|
This combined with a reduction in concerted international solidarity efforts over the past four years has led to a new and disturbing pattern. The regime is now able to act on its hatred of high profile activists.
Beginning on February 23, 2010 higher profile figures such as prisoner of conscience Orlando Zapata Tamayo tortured and denied water while on hunger strike died. On January 31, 2011 Mercedez Talavera López died after being run over by a car in the city of Cárdenas in Matanzas. This was followed by the death of human rights defender Juan Wilfredo Soto Garcia on May 8, 2011 just three days after a brutal beating by regime agents. The suspicious deaths of Laura Pollan on October 14, 2011 by a mysterious illness combined with what an independent doctor described as "purposeful medical neglect", of prisoner of conscience Wilman Villar Mendoza on January 20, 2012 while on hunger strike and now Oswaldo Payá on July 22, 2012 in a "car accident" less than two weeks after another car was launched at him points to a new and troubling trend of high profile victims.
The nonviolent end of communism in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union was carefully studied by the Castro regime. It appears that their strategy is to eliminate the Cuban Vaclav Havel's and Aung San Suu Kyi's in order to preserve power or guarantee a bloody finish to their system.
Laura and Oswaldo were both inspired by Mohandas Gandhi who advocated using truth as an anvil and nonviolence as a hammer to see if it stands the test. Ofelia Acevedo, the widow of Oswaldo Payá, founder and new leader of the Christian Liberation Movement demands the opening of a transparent investigation conducted by an international organization whose sole purpose is the pursuit of truth.
Achieving this objective and getting at the truth of what happened will break the culture of impunity practiced by the Castro regime that has all too often gotten away with murder in Cuba. This will also hasten the establishment of a new pattern of liberation and the respect for human rights that both Laura Pollan, Oswaldo Payá and these other activists struggled and died for.