Friday, August 10, 2012

Communiqué from the family of Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas

On August 1, 2012 the family of  Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas issued the following statement to the press. It was written by his widow Ofelia Acevedo.  Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero died on July 22, 2012 in a car accident under circumstances that have generated concern that it may have been a premeditated act by State Security. Below is an English translation.

Ofelia Acevedo and her late husband Oswaldo Payá

Havana, August 1, 2012

Communiqué from the family of Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas.

Today is 10 days past the event that killed my husband, Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas, National Coordinator of the Christian Liberation Movement and the young Harold Cepero Escalante, a member of that movement.
The event was explained over national television in Cuba, which is something unusual in that fatal traffic accidents happen every day and have never been given this television coverage.

I will not go into detail about the technical analysis done according to the official version. I'm not an expert, although one does not need to be one to question it. I want to clarify that I learned on television of how the event occurred because I had only had a very brief verbal version of the event given by a criminologist, Major Sanchez, when he turned over my husband's body. I expressed to him that I did not believe in that version and needed to interview the surviving witnesses. I was never informed by any authority of the death of my husband. Yesterday, July 31 at 8: 45 pm, 10 days after the death of Oswaldo and Harold, I was visited by two officers of the Centre for Criminal Investigation and Operations with a subpoena in my name for today at 11am, with the aim to "ventilate issues of civil liability derived from the accident."

Video statement by Ofelia Acevedo on July 27, 2012 (In Spanish)

I as the wife of Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas in representation of the family living inside and outside of Cuba, want to declare.

We do not accept the explanation of the event televised because:

1. It is presented by the same organs of State Security of the government that have threatened to kill him multiple times through their agents over the years in which they have defamed, insulted, watched, discredited with television campaigns inside and outside of Cuba, the same ones that have placed microphones over our bed in telephone boxes, the same ones knowing that her mother had cancer, visited to cowardly intimidate her, and did not allow their children who live outside of Cuba to visit, which forbade my oldest son , a 24 year old student from visiting his aunt on holiday in Spain last year.
They do not allow anyone from our family to exit or enter Cuba. They are the same ones who intimidate our neighbors, my husband’s co-workers, my brothers in the Christian community, and those who I need to hire to make repairs in my house. That go to the centers of study of my children to alert their peers to avoid relating to them. They are the same ones that break into hospitals, intimidate doctors every time my children have any health problems. They are the same ones that have attacked my house with mobs that they bring in from other places, painted the facade of my home with offensive slogans, and have stained my door with red paint simulating blood. They have surrounded the walls of the neighborhood with signs full of phrases of threats and hate.
They are the same ones who on several occasions have loosened the nuts on the wheels of our car while parked and knowing that the whole family and even friends were traveling. Only last June 2 while he and I were traveling in our car (1964 VW station wagon), to my mother's house in La Lisa traveling on the road of El Cerro and having practically surpassed the intersection of Rancho Boyeros Avenue were impacted by an old American car in the rear right wheel of our vehicle with such force that rocked our car, my husband could not control it and after sliding with only two wheels on the left side turned on the opposite path being trapped inside and covered with broken windshield glass. Oswaldo was wounded in the left arm by the elbow and nothing happened to me.

They are the same ones that have bullied and threatened to kill members of the Movement and their families. Today they have imprisoned Yosvany Melchior [the young son of Rosa María Rodríguez, a member of the Movement] , serving twelve years in prison for a crime he did not commit. All of this in order that they leave the Christian Liberation Movement.

I do not believe the official version:

1. Because my husband Oswaldo Payá was distinguished by his sense of responsibility without limit towards all people, especially those associated with him. He would never let the chauffeur driving the car that they were traveling in to be speeding. His friends and those who know him know that I speak the truth when I say this. He knew the risk to his life each day in Cuba.

2. Because I received the news from Madrid of the supposed car accident that my husband was traveling at three eighteen on the afternoon of Sunday, July 22 where they communicated with me, "carrying four people, only three in the hospital, we do not know about one. Two friends, one of them unconscious. They were hit and removed from the road. Do you know who the other two where? The whereabouts of one of them is unknown. "

3. Why was I not allowed to meet with the Swedish boy and still have not allowed me to meet with the Spaniard who were survivors of the event.

4. For all these antecedents and information that has come to us about what happened in Granma, my family requests to international institutions an investigation independent of the Cuban government on the facts about what happened.

5. I want to say that I'm very proud to have shared 26 years of life with an extraordinary man and of the family that we founded. He had the sorrow of not having been able to devote to his family all the time that he wanted but his dedication to service led him always to work for the common good. All his intelligence, intellectual ability was in constant search for ways for the people to ascend to their rights, he said: Neither the state nor the market can dominate society, or be above the people's decisions, or of the freedom and dignity of persons.

Now we must try to direct our life without the physical presence of Oswaldo. It will be very hard, but for those who live by the faith we know that he will continue to protect us, to always be in our midst.

Thanks for listening.

Take action by signing the petition requesting a transparent and independent international investigation into the deaths of Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero. The regime in Cuba has a long track record of this type of behavior. Others such as Lech Walesa have joined the call for getting at the truth of what happened.

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