Thursday, March 1, 2018

Celebrating the legacy of Cuban dissident Oswaldo Payá: honoring a courageous man

Oswaldo Payá honored by Miami, a documentary short premiered, and award announced.

City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez reads proclamation for Oswaldo Payá Day
On the evening of what would have been Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas's 66th birthday, if he had not been murdered on July 22, 2012, family, friends, and community leaders gathered to celebrate his legacy. City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez presented a proclamation declaring February 28, 2018 Oswaldo Payá Day in the city.

Hawk Jensen, of Smock Media and the director and lead editor of the documentary short, Witness Project: Rosa María Payá, who explained that the film sought to present the situation in Cuba through a human lens that can be better understood by a wider audience without bombarding them with mountains of statistics and data that they would not be able to absorb. 

Director and lead editor Hawk Jensen, of Smock Media, introduces documentary
 On the same evening the Latin American Network of Youth for Democracy Red Latinoamericana de Jóvenes por la Democracia (RLJD) awarded the Oswaldo Payá Prize: Life and Liberty to Democratic Initiative of Spain and the Americas Iniciativa Democrática de España y las Américas (IDEA) during the same event. Former Caracas mayor, now exiled, Antonio Ledezma was awarded an honorable mention.

A day earlier in Washington, D.C. the plaza in front of the Russian Embassy was renamed after murdered Russian dissident, Boris Nemtsov, and remembered the effort by a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators to rename the street in front of the Cuban Embassy after Oswaldo Payá can move forward tweeted the following.

Oswaldo Payá was murdered by a regime that feared his civic and nonviolent message that spoke truth to power and endangered their plans for a fraudulent transition that is now underway that seeks to entrench another generation of the Castro dynasty in absolute power in Cuba. The least that one can do is bear witness, demand justice, call for the street in front of the Cuban Embassy to bear his name, and demonstrate solidarity with Cubans seeking to live in freedom.

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