Monday, April 22, 2013

Rosa María Payá Acevedo: Nine months after her father's and Harold's deaths

"Today marks 9 months without my father and Harold!" - Rosa María Payá Acevedo, over twitter today

Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero
"The Christian Liberation Movement and the Payá Acevedo family filed a complaint with the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights for due process irregularities in case that occurred on July 22." -Rosa María Payá Acevedo

 Today marks nine months since Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero died in a suspicious car crash that appears to have been provoked by state security. It also marks six days since  Rosa María Payá Acevedo returned home to her home and family in Havana, Cuba on April 16, 2013. She'd finally been able to travel outside of Cuba, after having been refused the opportunity to study in Chile in January of 2013, on February 16, 2013. It was not her first time outside of Cuba; she had been permitted to visit family in Spain and also visited Rome, and Poland back in 2008.

Waiting to catch flight out of Cuba in Havana at the airport
 Over the course of two months she traveled through Europe and the United States to pursue justice for her father and Harold. In the meantime back home the death threats began to arrive at her family's home as had also been done against her father when he was alive. On the same day that she spoke for the first time at the Geneva Summit for Human Rights on February 19, 2013 another member of the Christian Liberation Movement, Antonio Rodríguez,  died in another car crash was it just a coincidence or a message?

Speaking at the Geneva Summit for Human Rights on February 19

People of good will inside and outside of Cuba need to keep an eye on the plight of the Payá family and support their call for an international investigation into the deaths of these two courageous activists.

In the meantime let us also pray for the safety of Rosa Maria, her mother Ofelia and her younger brother Reinaldo Isaías as well as the members of the Christian Liberation Movement who remain in Cuba speaking truth to power and seeking justice for Oswaldo and Harold.

Rosa María Payá returns to Cuba on April 16, 2013

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