One by one, the Castro regime is eliminating the leaders of Cuba’s opposition.
Payá’s death leaves leadership gap in Cuba dissident movement that’s hard to fill
Oswaldo Payá, unquestionably the most centrist of Cuba’s opposition leaders, was also one of the movement’s giants.
The death of Oswaldo Payá has left a gap in the moderate heart of the Cuban dissident movement, which has tried for decades to figure out the most effective way to confront the communist system and push for democracy.
Payá was unquestionably the most centrist of Cuba’s opposition leaders, a profoundly Catholic activist who believed in reconciliation and dialogue, tried to change the system with its own rules and rejected both Fidel Castro and the U.S. embargo.
He was also the first opposition figure to try to mobilize the Cuban streets for change, while others focused on seeking political freedoms, establishing civil society groups or recording and denouncing human rights abuses.
“His death was truly an irreparable loss, because he was the most notable figure of the internal resistance,” Havana human rights activist Elizardo Sánchez Santa Cruz said of the 60-year-old Payá, killed Sunday in a disputed car crash.
The death also recalled the struggles of a man whose victories and failures as he tried to nurture the seeds of democracy in Cuba, peacefully and patiently, can provide lessons to the dissidents who survive him.
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