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Saturday, May 3, 2014

Democratic Thought of Oswaldo Payá Teach-In: Is Cuba Changing?

 If what we do for Cuba, we do not do for love, better not do it.- Bishop Agustín Román

Rosa Maria Payá Acevedo, Sayli Navarro & Henry Constantin in La Ermita

Is Cuba Changing? Yes (Cubans) and No (Dictatorship)

The portrait of Bishop Agustín Román alongside the Virgin of Charity accompanied three young Cubans who have and continue to sacrifice much for Cuba's freedom. Friday night they took part in the “Peña del Pensamiento Democrático de Oswaldo Payá” that loosely translates into the "Democratic Thought of Oswaldo Payá Teach-In" held at the Bishop Agustín Román Salon. Eleven years ago Bishop Agustín Román had accompanied Oswaldo Payá in a gathering with the community in the same building in the Salon Varela.

Both have been called home and are no longer with us physically but last night they were there with us in spirit.

The three youths Rosa Maria Payá Acevedo, Sayli Navarro and Henry Constantin each gave their vision of the current situation on the island and prospects for real change in short presentations. The rest of the evening was spent in a question, comment and answer session that went on later into the night.

The conclusion that one arrives at after listening to the presentations and the exchange with the audience is that the Cuban people are changing but the Castro regime is not. The Castro brothers are doing what they've always done since 1959 adapt to changing circumstances in order to hang on to power by any means necessary.

After 54 years, Cubans are tired and want to be free, but the last free elections held in Cuba were in 1950. Imagine for a moment - 64 years without exercising the right to vote.

The legacy of Bishop Agustín Román and Oswaldo Payá is one of love and resistance to injustice. If Cuba is to achieve a lasting and positive change it will require their spirit of nonviolence and resistance to be embraced by a majority of Cubans along with the knowledge of how to carry it out using elements that are constructive and when need be obstructionist.

In that spirit we make a public request that in the future a series of  "teach-ins" on Oswaldo's nonviolent political thought along with a more profound examination of how to apply it in the present.

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