Rosa María Payá Returns to Cuba to Honor Father’s Memory
Activist Defies Threats to Continue Oswaldo’s Struggle for Freedom
BELÉN MARTY MAY 11, 2015 AT 2:53 PM
After nearly two years of living in exile, Cuban political dissident
Rosa María Payá will return to Havana on Monday, May 11, to pay her
respects at the grave of her father, activist Oswaldo Payá.
Payá, who died in an alleged car crash in eastern Cuba on July 22,
2012, was a staunch defender of civil liberties in Cuba, and a fierce
opponent of the Castro regime.
Rosa María invited her followers to pay tribute to her father’s name by
using the hashtag #UnaFlorParaPayá (A flower for Payá) on social networks.
One of Oswaldo’s major initiatives was the Varela Project, which aimed
to incorporate freedom of political association, freedom of speech and
press, and amnesty for political prisoners in Cuban legislation. Prior
to his death, over 10,000 Cubans had signed the petition, calling for a
national referendum in support of these changes in the Caribbean island.
“Join me on my return to Havana. Please share this video, and use the
hashtag #UnaFlorParaPayá. My flower for dad.”
Today, his daughter continues his project through the Cuba
Decides campaign, which seeks to reestablish Cuban politics and
legislation through a national plebiscite.
“There will be no transition to democracy in Cuba if Cubans are excluded
again,” the project’s website reads, stating its goal as giving “the
Cuban people the ability to express themselves.”
“Cubans have no say, we have no democratic means to express ourselves,
while the government and some worldwide claim to speak for our people,”
“If you decide, Cuba decides. Lift up your hearts, Cubans! Your
signature counts for freedom.”
Rosa María announced her imminent return to Cuba on a video posted on
social networks, despite the harassment and threats that her family have
routinely suffered at the hands of the government.
“I have decided to return to Cuba to visit the grave of my father,” Rosa
María says, describing her father as someone who “devoted his life to
the dreams and hopes of all Cubans.”
Regarding her father’s death, she reports that Oswaldo “said he lived
and died in the hands of God.” She has no “hatred in her heart,” she
adds, but doesn’t want to “live in fear.”
“I return to Havana as a Cuban citizen, with all my documentation, but I
also go back exercising the right that entitles all Cubans — even if the
law recognizes it or not — to return to our country at our own
discretion,” Rosa María argues.
She then invites her supporters to join and support her return through
their prayers and messages.
“Let the flower for my dad be the flower of all, the flower of many, and
your flower to remember his legacy and honor his name,” she concludes.
In April, the activist participated in the Civil Society Forum of the
Seventh Summit of the Americas held in Panama. Shortly after she landed
on the Central American nation, Payá was faced with the threat of
deportation, as well as harassment by supporters of the Cuban regime.
Translated by Rebeca Morla. Edited by Laurie Blair
Source: Rosa María Payá Returns to Cuba to Honor Father’s Memory –