The Castro dictatorship’s assassination of Oswaldo Paya may have silenced his physical voice, but his legacy, his ideas, and the cause of freedom in Cuba is stronger than ever.
Via the Center for a FREE Cuba:
Oswaldo Payá’s struggle for a free Cuba profiled
Today in The Washington Post, Contributing Editor David E. Hoffman wrote an essay, adapted from his upcoming biography of Oswaldo Payá, “Give Me Liberty,” that will be released on June 21, 2022 by Simon & Schuster, on how Cuban activist Oswaldo Payá, together with the Christian Liberation Movement that he co-founded in 1988, nonviolently and openly challenged Fidel Castro’s dictatorship, and paid for it with his life on July 22, 2012. Hoffman writes:
“Oswaldo Payá fought long and hard for democracy and respect for basic human rights. His dreams were not achieved in his lifetime; the Castro dictatorship remains entrenched. But an important legacy of Oswaldo’s quest was that gradually, painstakingly, despite the obstacles, Cubans began to raise their voices against despotism. And on one sultry summer afternoon, they became the protagonists of their own history. On July 11, 2021, a crowd gathered in San Antonio de los Baños, a small town southwest of Havana. Through their pandemic face masks, they chanted “¡Patria y Vida!,” homeland and life, the title of a hugely popular protest song that had become an anthem of discontent, a play on Fidel’s old war cry of “patria o muerte,” homeland or death… A Facebook video of the protest went viral, sparking the largest spontaneous anti-government demonstration since Fidel took power in 1959…”
He concludes on an optimistically realistic note.
“A totalitarian state does not simply flutter and faint. The Cuban regime still commands an army and vast security forces; it controls the airwaves, the border and the economy, and it monopolizes all politics. But Oswaldo Payá showed — and the events of July 11, 2021, proved again — that no state, no matter how dictatorial, can imprison an idea forever. The quest for liberty runs free.”
There are four important documentaries where you can hear the voice of Oswaldo Payá. Two are Czech based productions: Voces de la Isla de la Libertad (2000), La Primavera de Cuba The Cuban Spring, one is U.S. based: Dissident: Oswaldo Payá and the Varela Project, and one is produced by the Cuban diaspora: The truth about the murder of Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero (2022).
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