|Harold Cepero Escalante and Mario Manuel de la Peña|
December 28 is the Day of the Holy Innocents and is a religious holiday named in honor of the young children slaughtered by order of King Herod around the time of Jesus’ birth. These young victims were called“Holy Innocents” because they were too young and innocent to have committed any sins.
Tomorrow we will pray for two young men whose lives were taken before their time who dedicated themselves to serve others and make the world a better place dedicated to defending human rights and saving the lives of others.
On Friday, December 28, 2012 Mario Manuel de la Peña, who was born in the United States in the township of Weehawken, New Jersey in 1971, should have been 41 years old.
One month and a day later on January 29, 2013 Harold Cepero Escalante, who was born in Cuba in the municipality of Chambas in the province of Ciego de Ávila in 1980, should be celebrating his 33rd birthday.
Sadly, neither young man will have the opportunity to do so.
Mario Manuel de la Peña was one of four men shot down by Cuban MiGs on February 24, 1996 while searching for Cuban rafters in the Florida Straits in international airspace. Mario was 24 years old when he was killed.
Harold Cepero Escalante was a youth leader in the Christian Liberation Movement and died under suspicious circumstanceswith its founding leader Oswaldo Paya Sardiñas on July 22, 2012. Harold was 32 years old at the time of his untimely death. Family members are demanding an international investigation into the deaths of Harold and Oswaldo.
Although the Free Cuba Foundation is not organizing this event, it does call on members to attend and honor these two young men who gave their last full measure in the defense of human rights and dignity.