|Activists remember Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero in Guatemala|
Five years ago on Sunday, July 22, 2012 near Bayamo in eastern Granma province of Cuba the incident provoked by State Security ended the lives of Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas and Harold Cepero Escalante. At 5:00pm, in a telephone call, Felix Rivero Cordoví from Bayamo reported"Oswaldo Payá has died in a collision with a police car." Later we learned that Harold Cepero had also died of his injuries. Five years later and Cuban officials have still not handed over the autopsies to the families. Instead the Castro regime engaged in a massive coverup blaming the driver of the car for the deaths while denying that a second vehicle was involved.
|Mass at Ermita de la Caridad celebrated lives of Oswaldo and Harold|
Message from Secretary General on Anniversary of the Death of Oswaldo Payá
July 22, 2017Message from Secretary General @Almagro_OEA2015 on Anniversary of the Death of Oswaldo Payá #Cuba pic.twitter.com/L5uC6QfCUI— OAS (@OAS_official) July 22, 2017
Five years ago, on July 22, 2012, Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero died when the vehicle they were riding in crashed into a tree in the eastern Cuban province of Bayamo. Ángel Carromero and Jens Aron Modig were also in the car.
Even today, series and well-founded doubts about the case persist. That is why on this new anniversary of the death of Oswaldo Payá, I join the call of the families of the victims and of all those who demand justice for a professional and impartial investigation.
Oswaldo Payá was perhaps the best-known activist in Cuba because of his tireless work in favor of democracy. Through the Varela Project he promoted the amendment of laws to respect the right to free expression, freedom of the press and freedom of association.
The Varela Project is based on the Constitution of Cuba itself, which under article 88 (g), grants legal initiative to citizens, among other powers.
The freedom to meet, associate and to speech are fundamental rights recognized in international human rights law and all democratic societies.
These principles must be respected. It is unacceptable that those who try to defend their rights are persecuted for their opinions and have their voices silenced.
From the OAS we must always promote respect for basic freedoms, that sovereignty lies in the people, and the most complete validity of human rights.
The struggle of Oswaldo Payá is absolutely inspiring for our defense of these principles and values.
Reference: S-022/17U.S. Senator Marco Rubio in a tweet sent by his office expressed clearly that what happened on that day was an extrajudicial killing.
Joining Senator Rubio in calling what happened on July 22, 2012 a murder are Senators Dick Durbin, Bill Nelson, Jeff Merkley, and Cuban Americans Bob Menéndez and Ted Cruz. They are demanding an independent and impartial investigation into what happened on that day.Five years ago #OswaldoPaya was murdered by the Castro regime. We remember his fight for freedom in #Cuba. pic.twitter.com/lhMDDtrNjb— Senator Rubio Press (@SenRubioPress) July 23, 2017
Activities were carried out across the Americas remembering the legacy of Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero with peaceful gatherings and masses held in Miami, Cuba, Guatemala, Spain. The solidarity of the shaken was on display when family members of Venezuelan political prisoner Mayor Antonio Ledezma sent messages of solidarity and support recognizing Oswaldo's legacy.
Hopefully the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights will do its job and complete its investigation into killings of Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero finally after five years. Currently we only have the report prepared by Human Rights Foundation that indicates that the official version put out by the Castro regime was a coverup and that this was most likely an extrajudicial killing.