Tuesday, July 30, 2019

A Rebuttal of Dean Dettloff's "The Catholic Case for Communism" Part Two.

"It is necessary — secretly and urgently to prepare the terror." - Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, 1918

The toll in lives.
 This is the second in a series of blog entries rebutting a "Catholic" defense of communism authored by Dean Dettloff in the Jesuit magazine America on July 23, 2019 that downplayed the crimes of communism much like the perpetrators.  Counter-intuitively, the counter-argument began at the end and now work its way to the start.

At the beginning of his essay, Dettloff quoted Catholic convert and social activist Dorothy Day's observation that “[i]t is when the Communists are good that they are dangerous.” 

There is nothing more dangerous than being principled, honest, true believing, consistent, persistent, and hardworking in the service of a murderous ideology.

At the conclusion of the essay Dettloff stated that "[i]t is when the communists are dangerous that they are good."

Years ago in a television studio in Lima, Peru a Maoist Shining Path movement spokesman interviewed on a television talk show denounced Fidel Castro for betraying communism Cuba. This true believing, consistent, and honest communist denounced the Cuban dictator for not executing two million Cubans in 1959.

Communist writings and ideology demands the use of revolutionary terror to take power and transform society believing they could create a paradise on Earth, but that it would require sacrificing large numbers of people to arrive at their utopia. 

Khmer Rouge victims photographed and numbered prior to execution
 2017 marked the 100th anniversary of the founding of the first communist dictatorship that murdered the Russian royal family, plunged Russia into what would be a bloody century of war, repression, manufactured famines and terror that claimed tens of millions of lives. Children were not spared

Think of it, over a 100 million lives over the span of a century. One million state engineered violent deaths a year for one hundred years. The death toll of communism can clearly be seen today rising in places like Venezuela, North Korea, and China but the killings although lower profile also happen in other communist regimes.

Despite the high body count the utopia was not achieved. Karl Marx wrote plainly: "We are ruthless and ask no quarter from you.  When our turn comes we shall not disguise our terrorism."

German Nazi and Russian Communist soldiers greet one another in Poland (1939)
 Marx's prediction came true. Communists are ruthless and do not give quarter to advance their goals. They starved millions of farmers, engaged in revolutionary terror campaigns. They allied with Nazi Germany and started WW2 with the joint invasion of Poland in 1939. 

The Khmer Rouge, led by Pol Pot, killed two million Cambodians from overwork, starvation and mass executions over the course of three years and two months in power in the 1970s. They were also guilty of targeting ethnic Vietnamese and Cham Muslim minority groups.

Watch the documentary S-21 and witness how dangerous a good communist is.

Friday, July 26, 2019

A Rebuttal of Dean Dettloff's "The Catholic Case for Communism" Part One.

 Recovering some facts from the memory hole.

Cuban revolutionary Carlos Franqui (middle of the picture) was flushed down the memory hole.
This is the first in a series of blog entries rebutting a "Catholic" defense of communism authored by Dean Dettloff in the Jesuit magazine America on July 23, 2019 that downplays the crimes of communism much like the perpetrators.  Counter-intuitively, the counter-argument will begin at the end and work its way to the start.

Others have outlined the theological problems with Mr. Dettloff's argument, the horrors committed against Catholics, the large scale loss of life over the past 100 years, the communist alliance with the Nazis, and they should be widely shared.

The point of this rebuttal is to set the record straight on the facts, and reject the propaganda.

This blog focuses on Cuba, the last portion of Dettlofff's essay is a whitewash of the Castro regime, referencing Dorothy Day's observations on the Cuban Revolution in 1961 without exposing the horrendous record of the past six decades. It has left the Castro family multi-millionaires living lifestyles of  the 1% while the majority of Cubans live in extreme poverty, and are punished when they protest savage capitalism in Cuba.

Fidel Castro's son Antonio Castro visited Greece in this 160 foot yacht with five suites.

The war on Christianity
Fidel Castro on January 1, 1959, praised the support of the Catholic Church and declared, “Catholics in Cuba have given their most determined collaboration to the cause of freedom.”

Six years earlier, Archbishop Enrique Pérez Serantes of Santiago saved Castro’s life after the attack on the Moncada barracks on July 26, 1953. Batista's military massacred many involved in the attack. Castro fled to the mountains with other assailants. Fearing for their lives and under pressure from the families, Archbishop Pérez Serantes went into the hills, looking for Castro and the others and brought them safely home. Despite this, the Archbishop was imprisoned along with many other priests.

When Dorothy Day wrote in "About Cuba" for The Catholic Worker in July-August 1961 that "Fidel Castro says he is not persecuting Christ, but Churchmen who have betrayed him." The systematic effort to end Catholicism in Cuba was already underway, but Castro, lied both about what he was doing and his intentions. 

In May 1961 the Cuban revolution confiscated all Catholic private schools and most seminaries to eliminate religion. 
Arnaldo Socorro Sánchez
 On September 10, 1961 a catholic youth, Arnaldo Socorro, age 20 , was shot in the back by a member of the communist militia in front of the Church of Our Lady of Charity of Cobre in Havana as he carried an image of the Virgin of Charity. But in order to fool public opinion at the time, the regime buried him with the honors of a communist militant.

On September 17, 1961 the communists at gun point collected 131 priests, brothers and a bishop, placing them on board the Spanish ship Covadonga and deported them from Cuba. 

Priests were taken at gun point and forced out of Cuba in 1961
 The US State Department 2003 International Religious Freedom Report described how the Cuban revolution turned against religious believers in the mid-1960s following the forced expulsion of hundreds of religious leaders:
From 1965-67 the Government forced many priests, pastors, and others "who made religion a way of life" into forced labor camps called Military Units to Aid Production (UMAPS), alongside homosexuals, vagrants, and others considered by the regime to be "social scum." The UMAP system ended in 1967. However, over the following 30 years, the Government and the Communist Party systematically discriminated against and marginalized persons who openly professed their faith by excluding them from certain jobs (such as teaching). Although the Government abandoned its official atheism in the early 1990s, most churches had been weakened seriously, and active participation in religious services fell drastically.
Among the jailed priests was a future Cardinal of Cuba, Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino.  
Sociology professor Juan Clark outlined the mechanisms used by the Castro regime to degrade and destroy religious life in Cuba in his 1998 report on Religious Repression in Cuba.

"The 1960s also saw the dawn of a more subtle, but very effective, indirect repression. This less visible form of repression used education and the work place as its main vehicles. It begun as early as grammar school with simple questions posed to schoolchildren practicing their faith, in an attempt to ridicule them in front of their classmates. Students have a Cumulative Academic Record that supervises "ideological integration" and the religious involvement of students and their parents. This involvement would constitute a "demerit" on their record and would be used to deny access to the university or to careers with social impact to those who had that blotch in their record. This indirect repression followed Castro's religious policy of "making apostates not martyrs," and thus began the slow process of gradually attempting to choke off the religious community."
Fidel Castro canceled Christmas in 1969 under the pretext to prevent work shortages for the 1970 ten million ton sugar harvest but continued the ban until 1997, and sent mobs to intimidate Cubans who attended religious services. Three Kings Day and Easter were also abolished. Priests who stayed behind often paid a terrible price.

In 1976 the Castro dictatorship adopted a constitution which turned Cuba into an atheist state

Today, the Office of Religious Affairs (ORA), an arm of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party, still oversees religious affairs in Cuba, and exists to monitor, hinder and restrict religious activities. 

The Catholic Church was not clinging to Batista regime in the 1950s, as some communists claim. It was a Catholic priest who saved Fidel Castro's life following the disastrous July 26, 1953 assault on the Moncada barracks. Castro portrayed himself as a Jeffersonian democrat who would restore the preexisting democratic order.

Communist morality
Fidel Castro at the time was repeatedly claiming that he was not a communist because he knew that speaking the truth would lead Cubans to abandon him. On December 2, 1961 he explained his reasoning.

"If we had paused to tell the people that we were Marxist-Leninists while we were on Pico Turquino and not yet strong, it is possible that we would never have been able to descend to the plains."

Years later on March 26, 1964, after announcing that he had always been a Marxist Leninist, Fidel Castro explained: "I conceive the truth in terms of a just and noble end, and that is when the truth is truly true. If it does not serve a just, noble and positive end, truth, as an abstract entity, philosophical category, in my opinion, does not exist." Jose Ignacio Rasco, who knew Fidel Castro from school and afterwards concluded that the Cuban revolutionary had been a committed communist by 1950.

Castro is copying Lenin. The first leader of the Soviet Union, Vladimir Lenin on October 2, 1920 in a speech to Russian communist youth stated:  "The class struggle is continuing and it is our task to subordinate all interests to that struggle. Our communist morality is also subordinated to that task. We say: morality is what serves to destroy the old exploiting society and to unite all the working people around the proletariat, which is building up a new, communist society." He also addressed the necessity of the lie observing: "'To speak the truth is a petit-bourgeois habit. To lie, on the contrary, is often justified by the lie's aim."

These lies in the service of maintaining and consolidating power in Cuba can be seen in the contortions around human rights.  In the 1950s and early in 1959 the Cuban revolutionary spoke of restoring human rights and civil liberties. He did this at the same time that he was unleashing a campaign of revolutionary terror in 1959 and threatening, then shuttering newspapers. In the midst of this on July 17, 1959 Fidel Castro announced, "I am not a communist and neither is the revolutionary movement, but we do not have to say that we are anticommunists just to fawn on foreign powers." 

Twenty seven years later Castro, in a 1986 interview in Havana, claimed that universal human rights were alien to the Cuban experience dividing them between revolutionary liberties and bourgeois liberties. 

This rejects the Latin American tradition, which was best expounded in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that there are basic human rights that are universal and not separated by politics or ideologies.  It also ignores prior Cuban constitutions and the critical role that Cuban diplomats, from the democratic era, played in the drafting of the declaration. Not to worry. History is rewritten and all has been airbrushed out of existence.

Preserving the Castro dynasty in power is the "just and noble end" that turns a lie into a "truth that is truly true" according to the communist mindset.

Antonio Castro, Cuban dictatorship's point man for baseball business
To preserve the elite communist's lavish lifestyle does not come cheap. The Castro regime exports workers abroad and gets billions of dollars a year with this practice. In 2014 the Cuban dictatorship forecast "$8.2 billion from sending doctors and nurses abroad." In order to achieve these results the health workers are paid miserable wages and as a result some defect, and are denounced as traitors.  Worse yet some of the workers have sued for being victims of human trafficking or worse yet subjected to conditions of forced labor without pay.

This also leads to questions about Cuba's healthcare system. A subsidiary of the World Health Organization (WHO), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) was being paid off by the Cuban government using Cuban health care workers in what amounted to human trafficking.  These are the organizations that report Cuban government health statistics as legitimate. 

Totalitarian regimes often times make outlandish claims of great successes in particular areas in order to justify or rationalize repression and political terror elsewhere. It is true of North Korea and it is also true of Cuba. The only difference being that Cuba has a much more effective propaganda apparatus than their counterparts in Pyongyang and they have invested heavily in their education and healthcare claims.
Katherine Hirschfeld, an anthropologist, who wrote the book:  Health, Politics, and Revolution in Cuba Since 1898 described in it how her idealistic preconceptions about the Cuban healthcare system were dashed by 'discrepancies between rhetoric and reality,' she observed a repressive, bureaucratized and secretive system, long on 'militarization' and short on patients' rightsThere is a health care system in Cuba which is decent for regime elites in good favor and tourists with hard currency and another one for everyday Cubans that is a disaster. With regards to the public health system the priority is the good image of the dictatorship not the well being of Cubans or visitors. 

In 1997 when a Dengue epidemic broke out in Cuba the dictatorship tried to cover it up. When a courageous doctor spoke out he was locked up on June 25, 1997 and later sentenced to 8 years in prisonAmnesty International recognized Dr. Desi Mendoza Rivero as a prisoner of conscience. He was released from prison under condition he go into exile in December of 1998. The regime eventually had to recognize that there had been a dengue epidemic.

The same pattern repeated itself in 2012 with a cholera outbreak, but this time it was an independent journalist jailed for breaking the story on mishandling of medical aide by Cuban officials. Calixto Ramón Martínez Arias was recognized by Amnesty International as a prisoner of conscience and the organization described how: 
"He had been investigating allegations that medicine provided by the World Health Organization to fight the cholera outbreak (which began in mid-2012) was being kept at the airport instead of being distributed. Since then, he has been detained in various detention centres. He has been held at Combinado del Este prison since November 2012." 
If you have to lock up journalists and doctors to cover up problems in your healthcare system then its probably not a great healthcare system and outsiders should be a little more skeptical with official claims. Medical neglect led to scores of psychiatric patients dying of exposure and hypothermia in Cuba in 2010. There are also consequences to believing the lies of the Castro regime for foreigners visiting Cuba.
The publication New Scientist reported on January 8, 2019 in an exclusive report that "thousands of Zika virus cases went unreported in Cuba in 2017, according to an analysis of data on travelers to the Caribbean island. Veiling them may have led to many other cases that year." This was reconfirmed in another study involving Spanish travelers returning home from Cuba with Zika in 2017 that was reported in the press on July 21, 2019.
Massacred by the Castro regime on July 13, 1994
The body count in Cuba
Glenn Garvin wrote an important essay in the Miami Herald on December 1, 2016 titled "Red Ink: The high human cost of the Cuban Revolution" and in it addresses the question of how many extrajudicial executions have taken place in Cuba and cites an authoritative source.
"University of Hawaii historian R. J. Rummel, who made a career out of studying what he termed “democide,” the killing of people by their own government, reported in 1987 that credible estimates of the Castro regime’s death toll ran from 35,000 to 141,000, with a median of 73,000."
Extrajudicially executed on July 22, 2012
On October 31, 2003 in a letter to former Czech president Vaclav Havel, the late Cuban Catholic layman and founder of the  the Christian Liberation Movement, Oswaldo Payá addressed the existing reality of communism in Cuba.

Oswaldo Payá spoke out against the fraudulent change that sought to perpetuate the rule of the Castro family. Some believe that this was a contributing factor to why he and Harold Cepero, the youth leader of his movement, were killed on July 22, 2012.
Communism is an exclusionary regime. This is not theory. It is the living experience of these regimes from the moment of their inception to their demise. When communism comes to an end, it leaves a dispossessed majority without property, money, resources, labor unions, parties, or social organizations capable of protecting anyone. It leaves behind a corrupt legal system that negates the basic principles of the rule of law, it kills off the work ethic, and it institutionalizes corruption, turning the economy into a hybrid of a collectivist concentration camp and savage capitalism. This is “savage communism.” To describe it fully would take too long, but let us note that in the European countries where communism once held sway, it has left behind a few big capitalists who, until just the day before, had been officeholders or otherwise very powerful figures within the communist regime. These “new rich” had previously been the “only rich,” as under communism there can be only one of everything: one party, one doctrine, one opinion, one union, and one governing individual. In Cuba, where people are told “Socialism or death,” these powerful regime figures will also become the “only” capitalists, the future business class. 
The extreme violence against those who peacefully dissent has been well documented as recently as the 2015 machete attack against Sirley Avila Leon, a dissident who had been purged from her government post trying to keep a school open and later joined the opposition.

The late Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas in his autobiography, Before Night Falls, observed: “The difference between the communist and capitalist systems is that, although both give you a kick in the ass, in the communist system you have to applaud, while in the capitalist system you can scream." 

One final anecdote. Years ago in a television studio in Lima, Peru I heard a spokesman for the Maoist Shining Path movement on a television panel denounce Fidel Castro for betraying communism Cuba. This true believing communist denounced him for not executing two million Cubans at the start of the revolution.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Remembering Cuban dissident leaders, Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero, both extrajudicially executed on July 22, 2012

 "Those who remove and crush freedom are the real slaves." - Harold Cepero Escalante (January 29, 1980 - July 22, 2012)

"They have told me that they will kill me before this regime ends, but I will not flee." - Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas (February 29, 1952 - July 22, 2012) 

Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas and Harold Cepero Escalante
There are a few moments that are burned into my memory: the moment on January 28, 1986 when the Challenger blew up, the February 24, 1996 shoot down of two Brothers to the Rescue planes by Cuban MiGs, the attack on the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001 and the murders of Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas and Harold Cepero Escalante on July 22, 2012.

On Sunday, July 22, 2012 at 1:50pm near Bayamo in eastern Granma province of Cuba the incident provoked by State Security that ended the lives of Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas and Harold Cepero Escalante was underway. Hundreds of miles away in Miami I was watching the coming attractions in a movie theater in Kendall. 

Funeral of Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas following July 22, 2012 killing
Oswaldo Payá was the founding leader of the Christian Liberation Movement and author of numerous nonviolent initiatives, including the Varela Project that made the Castro regime tremble and change their own constitution to hang on to power. Oswaldo Payá, like Liu Xiaobo in China, offered a peaceful way out of a totalitarian dictatorship. Both would die under suspicious circumstances in their respective countries. 

Learned later that in addition to Oswaldo Payá, another and much younger member of the Christian Liberation Movement had also been killed. First learned of Harold Cepero when he was expelled from university in 2002 for gathering signatures for Project Varela, a legal citizen initiative that sought to reform Cuba's legal code to bring it in line with international human rights standards and saw him in a grainy video interviewed with other expelled university students. Harold Cepero was the youth leader of the Christian Liberation Movement and was just 32 years old when he was murdered by Cuban state security.

Seven years later and friends and family of Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero continue to demand truth and justice for their dear departed and continue the work to see the day that Cuba is free. All evidence points to an extra-judicial killing engineered by the Castro regime. 

Four years ago on July 22, 2015 Javier El-Hage, and Roberto González of the Human Rights Foundation released a 147 page report titled The Case of Oswaldo Payá that concluded.
"Information that emerged in the months that followed and that was not at all considered by the Cuban court that convicted Carromero – consisting of witness statements, physical evidence and expert reports – suggest direct government responsibility in the deaths of Payá and Cepero. Specifically, the evidence deliberately ignored by the Cuban State strongly suggests that the events of July 22, 2012 were not an accident – as was quickly claimed by authorities in the state-owned media monopoly and later rubber – stamped by Cuba’s totalitarian court system – but instead the result of a car crash directly caused by agents of the State, acting (1) with the intent to kill Oswaldo Payá and the passengers in the vehicle he was riding, (2) with the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm to them, or (3) with reckless or depraved indifference to an unjustifiably high risk to the life of the most prominent Cuban activist in the last twenty-five years and the passengers riding with him in the car."
Meanwhile seven years later we continue to remember their example, their writings that still inspire, the continuing need for justice and the terrible day they were taken away from us.

"The first victory we can claim is that our hearts are free of hatred. Hence we say to those who persecute us and who try to dominate us: ‘You are my brother. I do not hate you, but you are not going to dominate me by fear. I do not wish to impose my truth, nor do I wish you to impose yours on me. We are going to seek the truth together’." - Oswaldo Paya, December 17, 2002 

"Christians and non-Christians who have the courage and the freedom to consider the peaceful political option for their lives, know they are exposing themselves to slightly less than absolute solitude, to work exclusion, to persecution, to prison or death. "- Harold Cepero, Havana 2012


Sunday, July 21, 2019

World Tribute to the Martyrs of Latin American Democracy: The price of ignoring the Castro regime

"The greatest incitement to guilt is the hope of sinning with impunity."- Cicero 

On Sunday, July 21, 2019 on the eve of the seventh anniversary of the extrajudicial killings of Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas and Harold Cepero Escalante Latin American youth will gather to pay homage to the martyrs of Latin American democracy.

The above discount, although quite conservative, reflect thousands who have died in Latin America because of totalitarian regimes that have copied the Cuban model.

Paying homage to Oswaldo and Harold
This is the price of ignoring the crimes of the Castro regime, and allowing impunity to reign in the region for decades. Rosa María Payá Acevedo reminds us of her dad's struggle over Twitter. "No more one party. No more single candidates. No more one family that are the only capitalists. No more. #Not1More. That the people decide #OswaldoPaya 7 years since his murder. #NoMoreImpunity #CubaDecide to prosper in freedom."
 Not holding the Castro regime accountable for its past bad acts has condemned new generations to suffer repression, torture, and extrajudicial killings at the hands of thugs trained by Cuban intelligence agents and members of the military of the Castro regime.

Castro agents involved in torture and killings, and those in the immediate family of a repressor, should at least not obtain a Visa to the United States. They should be subjected to Magnitsky sanctions.

On Sunday the "World Tribute to the Martyrs of Latin American Democracy on the 7th Anniversary of the attacks against Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero" will be held in Miami at the Cuban Memorial Boulevard Park located at 999 SW 13th Ave Miami, FL Sunday, July 21 4:00-5:00 PM

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Thanksgiving Masses for the lives of Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas and Harold Cepero Escalante.

Remembering and giving thanks for the lives of Oswaldo and Harold.

In Alajuela, Costa Rica; Havana, Cuba; Hialeah, FL; Miami, FL; Madrid, Spain; and Paris, France there will be Masses given to give thanks for the lives of Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas, and Harold Cepero Escalante marking the day six years ago that their lives were cruelly taken by agents of the Castro regime. The families of Oswaldo and Harold have chosen to celebrate their lives and their example for all of us. At the same time the call for an international investigation into their deaths continues.

In Miami, Florida the Mass will be held at La Ermita de la Caridad (Our Lady of Charity) located on 3609 South Miami Ave, Miami, FL 33133 on July 22, 2018 at 6:00pm.

 In Alajuela, Costa Rica, in La Ermita de El Roble, July 21, 2019 at 11:30am.
In Hialeah, FL Saint Benedict Parish, 701 W 77th St, Hialeah 33014 July 22nd at 5:30pm.

In Madrid, Spain the Mass will be held at Parroquia San Fermin de los Navarros (Parish of San Fermin de los Navarros) located on Paseo de Eduardo Dato 10, Madrid  Metro Ruben Dario on July 22, 2018 at 8:00pm.

 In París, France in Saint-Germain l’Auxerrois, Le Marais, July 22, 2019 at 6:00pm. 

In celebrating, and remembering the lives of  Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas and Harold Cepero Escalante let us revisit some of their powerful ideas.
"The first victory we can claim is that our hearts are free of hatred. Hence we say to those who persecute us and who try to dominate us: 'You are my brother. I do not hate you, but you are not going to dominate me by fear. I do not wish to impose my truth, nor do I wish you to impose yours on me. We are going to seek the truth together.' This is the liberation which we are proclaiming."
Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas, Strasbourg France, December 17, 2002
"Expelling us is not the solution neither for them or for us, it would be better to ask yourself why are there young people who are filled with concern and worry for the welfare of the country. It would be good that they explain to the students and to the people what the Varela Project is, what does it ask, and so give everyone the right to think and choose." 
Harold Cepero Escalante, November 3, 2002

"How close you and "Solidarity" have been to us in these years. Receive our fraternal greetings. I write on behalf of the Christian "Liberation" Movement. We are a Christian and patriotic movement that by peaceful means are working for freedom and democracy in our nation. ... I hope this gets to you and that the Poles might know of our struggle inspired by the Gospel. I cannot conclude without expressing our gratitude to you, the Movement "Solidarity" and all the Polish people that knew how to open the path of freedom for subject peoples. As Catholics we feel that we are in communion with you and that overcomes the difficulties of communication." 
- Oswaldo Payá, October 1, 1990   

"Today we are kicked out of the university for this. Tomorrow it could be one of you for just being different, for permitting yourself to think."
Harold Cepero Escalante, November 3, 2002
 "A few days ago, bombs exploded in two hotels in Havana. Neither the perpetrators nor the objectives of these terrorist acts have identified themselves. But in any case, such acts are reprehensible. We reject them and they should not serve to confuse Cubans. When defending their human rights, proclaiming the truth and proposing a peaceful transition to democracy, many of our fellow countrymen have endured threats, discrimination, acts of harassment, arbitrary incarcerations, beatings and cruel treatment by repressive agents, and political and judicial authorities. However, neither we nor any of our brothers have renounced a peaceful transition through civic means." 
- Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas, July 22, 1997

"They are wanting to perpetuate something that it is not even known if it is fair, and in this manner they are denying the progress of a society that wants something new, something that really guarantees a dignified place for every Cuban. They are pressuring people or preventing them from expressing their true feelings, they are cultivating fear in the nation." 
Harold Cepero Escalante, November 3, 2002

 "Furthermore, those who in the prisons receive serious mistreatment have not voiced words of hatred against their abusers, because for us the peaceful approach is not a tactic but something that arises out of a spirit of reconciliation and liberation which has prompted us to begin our struggle. No one can justify terroristic violence and attacks on defenseless human beings with any kind of reasoning, and much less by pretending to defend freedom and justice. Anyone who hides cynically to make attempts against human life violates the dignity of the human being and conspires against freedom and justice. The end does not justify the means. Lies and terror lead to death and fear. Truth and love produce freedom and life." 
- Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas, July 22, 1997  
"Under the pretext of defending freedom they are attacking it. Martí would say it like this: "The knife that is stabbed in the name of freedom is plunged into the chest of freedom". They should think if at the bottom of this attitude there is a real respect for freedom, because to say freedom, to be free, is not to snatch the freedom of others. I therefore ask that before they expel us ask themselves how long can they keep silent the mourning and the reality of Cuba, and remind them that the damage they can do to us is damage that they do to themselves. And more: it is a direct threat to every Cuban."
Harold Cepero Escalante, November 3, 2002
"The cause of human rights is a single cause, just as the people of the world are a single people. The talk today is of globalization, but we must state that unless there is global solidarity, not only human rights but also the right to remain human will be jeopardized." 
- Oswaldo Paya, December 17, 2002

"Those who steal the rights of others steal from themselves. Those who remove and crush freedom are the true slaves." 
Harold Cepero Escalante, November 3, 2002