Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Amnesty International's factual error on the deaths of Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero

Setting the record straight on the killings of Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero on July 22, 2012

Setting the record straight on Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas and Harold Cepero Escalante

The good news that Amnesty International has declared Eduardo Cardet, the national coordinator of the Christian Liberation Movement a prisoner of conscience may sadly be overshadowed by a factual error. Failing to mention the suspicious circumstances surrounding the killings of Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas and Harold Cepero Escalante on July 22, 2012 and repeating talking points of the Castro regime's coverup

First, the urgent action twice misspelled the martyred Cuban dissident's first name, but more troubling is that the Urgent Action is repeating propaganda of the Castro regime that "Osvaldo Payá died in a car crash in 2012" referring to it as a "car accident" that has been exposed as false by international human rights organizations such as the Human Rights Foundation that has revealed that it was a premeditated attack. Furthermore international figures such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former Polish President and dissident leader Lech Walesa have demanded an international investigation. 

Aron 1 translation: "Angel says a car pushed us off the road"
Worse yet Amnesty failed to provide context to the plight of Ángel Francisco Carromero Barrios who was subjected a political show trial where Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas's children were barred from attending by soldiers of the Castro regime . Furthermore there was no mention of another survivor who corroborated Carromero's testimony and contradicted the official version.

Police block Oswaldo Paya's children from attending Carromero's show trial. (AP)
Unfortunately the Castro regime has an effective propaganda apparatus and knows how to manipulate, pressure, influence and infiltrate media outlets, organizations and government agencies to advance their narrative and omit past crimes in order to normalize the dictatorship. When Fidel Castro died the reports on the history of human rights violations during the Castro regime failed to mention some of the worst and best documented crimes such as the July 13, 1994 "13 de Marzo" tugboat massacre and the Brothers to the Rescue shoot down on February 24, 1996 . Not to mention machete attacks against nonviolent activists, deaths of hunger strikers in 2010, 2011 and the July 2012 killings of Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas and Harold Cepero Escalante.

I hope that the good people in Amnesty International seeking to maintain the human rights legacy of this prestigious organization review these cases, and especially the killings of Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas and Harold Cepero Escalante.

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