Rosa Maria Paya: ‘About Me’ – Part III
About Rosa Maria Payá: Part Three
I BELIEVE IN THE RIGHTS OF ALL
My struggle is civic. It is for the rights of all Cubans, a human issue rather than politics. The message of the Christian Liberation Movement, which is mine, is born of dialogue with people. Our proposals have the support of thousands of citizens, but there are many who disagree and it is good that they not be: variety is a source of wealth and we struggle for everyone to be able to express themselves. The ideal of liberation we advocate is not only economic and social, it encompasses all human dimensions.
We live on an island, not a spaceship. Cubans are human beings and, for decades, we could not get in and out of our territory freely. Nor can we now with this recent immigration reform, because in practice the government continues to reserve the right to decide who travels and who does not. It is true that it broadens the time of residence abroad for Cubans and increases the number of travelers, but transfers the difficulty to passport issuance. There are still Cubans who are captives, people segregated: Doctors, professionals, youth of military service age, and others. For them there will be no passport. We will not advance in Cuba while all Cubans cannot leave and enter freely. It is a human right and I fight for it. On the island there are many women involved in the struggle for rights and many others who suffer their deprivation. They and more than 25,000 people have signed their support for the Varela Project, which postulates enshrining into law our right to freedom of speech, press and association, non-existent in this country. The number of signatories is an important success because in Cuba the culture of fear prevails. We are beyond ideologies: our requests are universal; they are not of the right or of the left.
I think the efforts made on the island are echoed outside. This year we learned that Uruguayan parliamentarians and also of Norway are officially nominating the Christian Liberation Movement to the Nobel Peace Prize. My father, Oswaldo Payá, was nominated five times before he died and was always said that it would be more just for the nomination to fall on the movement he founded. Receiving this honor would be a great recognition to the cause of freedom and the defense of human rights. The Nobel would help, but our freedom is a problem that we must address ourselves in Cuba, with the tools of personal effort and, above all, determination.
"I have seen evil up close, but if I didn’t have faith, my fight for the rights and values of my father, would be more bitter".
"My dad died in a car crash. (...) He’d spent a long time receiving threats, "says Rosa.
"I lament that I could not go to Chile. They are a people that I admire. We Cubans can learn from their reconciliation.”