Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Rosa María Payá: "Don’t turn your backs on Cubans again"

Excerpt of Testimony by Rosa María Payá, Christian Liberation Movement and daughter of slain dissident Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas, before the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee 

Rosa María Payá testifies on Cuba in Washington, DC. Watch full hearing on US Foreign Relations Senate Committee website: 3 hours, 52 minutes, Payá from 2:19:40. (From Senate.gov)
 February 3, 2015

We Cubans want real changes, to design the prosperous country that we deserve and can build. The only violence here comes from the Cuban military against Cubans, that’s way the solution is a peaceful transition, not an appeasement.

The way that you can promote stability in the region is through supporting strategies that engage the popular will, to reach the end of totalitarianism with dignity for everyone. You have the opportunity to support the petition for a constitutional plebiscite in favor of multi-party and free elections, already signed by thousands of citizens in the Varela Project, as is allowed for the Cuban constitution.
There is an active campaign by Cubans from all over the globe, asking for rights for all Cubans and the Plebiscite, which is a first vote for the long-lasting changes that Cuba needs.

On 22 July 2012, Cuban State Security detained the car in which my father, Oswaldo Payá, and my friend Harold Cepero, along with two young European politicians, were traveling. All of them survived, but my father disappeared for hours only to reappear dead, in the hospital in which Harold would die without medical attention.

The Cuban government wouldn’t have dared to carry out its death threats against my father if the US government and the democratic world had been showing solidarity. If you turn your face, impunity rages. While you slept, the regime was conceiving their cleansing of the pro-democracy leaders to come. While you sleep, a second generation of dictators is planning with impunity their next crimes.

That is why we hope that this Congress demands that the petition for an independent investigation, regarding the attack against Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero, be included in the negotiations with the Cuban government, and that we hear publicly what response is given to this point. Knowing the whole truth is essential in any transition process, and to tolerate impunity is to endanger the lives of all Cubans wherever we live.

Don’t turn your backs on Cubans again; don’t earn the distrust of the new actors of our inevitably free future, in exchange for complicity with a gerontocracy who belongs to the Cold War era. 

Full testimony available here in PDF format and from Panam Post in html format.

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