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Friday, August 3, 2012

Oswaldo José Payá Sardiñas and Harold Cepero: Exemplars for Cubans everywhere

"Liberation is a task for the Cuban people – now with greater hope because we are definitely on the verge, on the threshold of truth and liberation. That is our hope." - Oswaldo Paya, March 29, 2012

Oswaldo José Payá Sardiñas died as he lived seeking the liberation of an island nation enslaved to communist totalitarianism for over 53 years. When asked in an interview whether Cuba was a dictatorship his response demonstrated his clear thinking. He said that Cuba was not a dictatorship but that there was a dictatorship in Cuba oppressing Cubans. He did not identify the Cuban nation or its identity with repression. He recognized the existence of the dictatorship but that it was also an aberration that needed to be overcome not a permanent part of the Cuban identity.

Harold Cepero was expelled from University for advocating and gathering signatures for the Varela Project. A citizen initiative that  was supposedly  legal according to the dictatorship's constitution. He began his activism as a youth leader of the Christian Liberation Movement.

They lived their lives resisting tyranny and advocating liberation and living the lives of a free men until the day they died. Oswaldo died at age 60 seeking nonviolent democratic change for over forty years. There is controversy surrounding the circumstances of his death and that of his young compatriot Harold Cepero in an accident that  may  have been a set up by Cuban State Security to murder these Cuban patriots.

We will join Oswaldo Paya's widow and all people of good will  in demanding that an international organization investigate with transparency the circumstances surrounding this accident and the deaths of these two great Cuban exemplars.

In the mean time we will not focus on how Oswaldo and Harold died but how they lived their lives to obtain the freedom of the Cuban people. We will honor their legacy by continuing the struggle for liberation.