Friday, March 1, 2013

Rosa Maria Payá Acevedo: Death threats have now extended to all my family

"Reconciliation and peace require the recognition of the whole truth." - Rosa Maria Payá Acevedo, February 28, 2013 over twitter

Stop the Impunity
by Rosa Maria Payá Acevedo 

I arrived in Europe just a little over a week ago. The Madrid cold chilled me to the bone but was soon overtaken by the wave of sensations and warmth of meeting with my family, my uncles, my cousins and friends who have so long been away. It had been ten years that I hadn’t seen, for example, Regis Iglesias, who went out one day in the spring of 2003 from our home in the Cerro to be kidnapped by the Cuban government for more than seven years. He was then deported to Spain without even the right to visit friends before leaving. I remember my father said farewell to him from a fence. How could anyone imagine that this would be the last time they would see these two inseparable friends and comrades in struggle. 

When two months ago the Cuban government told me through its military officials in the offices of emigration that I could not travel and when that changed that they would tell me, I decided I would not ask permission. On that occasion I met all the ominous legal requirements to leave the country, and with the change in the law followed I continued to meet them. The difference was that now they could reject me at customs, but they did not. In no way do I think I escaped, I left because the government allowed it. In Cuba, with and without immigration reform, who goes in and out is whom the government decides. The proof is that Regis Iglesias cannot enter Cuba and that several have already been warned that they cannot leave. 

The reason for my trip in the first place was to address a summit on human rights and democracy in Geneva. There, we discussed our concerns about the unstable situation of our country and the oppression to which its citizens are subjected. We explained the common initiative of the Peoples Path that is the option validated by most of the opposition which lays the foundation and the basic steps we must take as a people in the transition to democracy. We recalled that more than 25,000 citizens for the past 10 years have been demanding the government lawfully conduct a plebiscite, when the constitution only asks for 10,000 petitioners and explained what makes up the Heredia Project

At the summit in Geneva, I met many people from diverse and conflicting realities moved to solidarity with their neighbors and risked their welfare for the well-being of others. I discovered that despite our different religions, cultures and traditions we were all advocating for similar goals: respect for human rights and recognition of these unfair and difficult realities by the international community. 

There, as in Madrid, we have been reminded that the death threats received by my father were made concrete on July 22, 2012 and requested support to investigate his death and the death of my friend Harold Cepero. We left behind a statement being signed by those attending the summit explicitly requesting support for an investigation to clarify what happened. The truth is essential, for justice, as a way for true reconciliation, but also as a warning, because death threats have now extended to all my family and the repression increases against members of the MCL and the entire opposition.

For our people, for our future and for the safety of an entire nation, the international community's message to those in power in Cuba must also be: STOP THE IMPUNITY. 

Original text in Spanish published on February 28, 2013:

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