This morning, Senators Bill Nelson, Bob Menendez, and Marco Rubio have introduced a resolution (S. Res. 525) to honor the life, legacy, and exemplary leadership of Cuban dissident and activist Oswaldo Payá. Payá died in a car crash on Sunday, July 22, 2012 in Bayamo, Cuba. Payá was 60 years old and is survived by his wife and three children.
Payá devoted his life to peaceful opposition on the island. His Varela Project stood for civil and human rights, including free and fair elections. It was the largest petition drive in Cuban history, delivering thousands of verified signatures to the regime and calling for an end to one party rule, freedom for political prisoners, and support for private business. Payá bravely led this initiative at great risk to himself, his loved ones, and associates. For his incredible work, he received the European Parliament’s Sakarov Prive for Freedom of Thought in 2002 and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by former Czech President Václal Havel in 2005.
S. Res. 525 recognizes and honors Payá’s life and legacy. In memory of Oswaldo Payá, the resolution also calls on the Cuban government to provide its citizens with internationally accepted standards for civil and human rights, and it calls on the Cuban Government to allow an impartial, third party investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of Oswaldo Payá.
Honoring the life and legacy of Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas
S. RES. 525
Honoring the life and legacy of Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas;
Whereas on Sunday, July 22, 2012, 60-year-old Cuban dissident and activist Oswaldo Payá died in a car crash in Bayamo, Cuba;
Whereas at a young age, Oswaldo Payá criticized the communist government in Cuba, which led to his imprisonment at a work camp on Cuba’s Isle of Youth in 1969;
Whereas in 1988, Oswaldo Payá founded the Christian Liberation Movement as a non-denominational political organization to further civic and human rights in Cuba;
Whereas in 1992, Oswaldo Payá announced his intention to run as a candidate to be a representative of Cuba’s National Assembly of Popular Power and, two days before the election, was detained by police at his home and determined by Communist Party officials to be ineligible to run for office because he was not a member of the Cuban Communist Party;
Whereas in 1997, Oswaldo Payá collected hundreds of signatures to support his candidacy to the National Assembly of Popular Power, which was rejected by the Cuban electoral commission;
Whereas the Cuban Constitution supposedly guarantees the right to a national referendum on any proposal that achieves 10,000 signatures from Cuban citizens who are eligible to vote;
Whereas in 1998, Oswaldo Payá and other leaders of the Christian Liberation Movement created the Varela Project, a signature drive to secure a national referendum on “convert[ing] into law, the right of freedom of speech, the freedom of press and freedom of enterprise;”
Whereas in May, 2002, the Varela Project delivered 11,020 signatures from eligible Cuban citizens to the National Assembly, calling for an end to four decades of one-party rule, to which the Cuban government responded by beginning its own referendum that made the island’s socialist system “irrevocable,” even after an additional 14,000 signatures were added to the Varela Project petition;
Whereas the Varela Project is the largest civil society-led petition in Cuban history;
Whereas Oswaldo Payá bravely led this initiative at great risk to himself, his loved ones, and associates;
Whereas in March 2003, the Cuban government arrested 75 human rights activists, including 25 members of the Varela project, in the crackdown known as Cuba’s “Black Spring;”
Whereas Oswaldo Payá’s dedication to freedom and faith earned him the European Parliament’s Sakarov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 2002;
Whereas Oswaldo Payá received the W. Averell Harriman Democracy Award from the U.S. National Democratic Institute for International Affairs in 2003;
Whereas Oswaldo Payá was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by former Czech President Václav Havel in 2005:
Whereas President Barack Obama stated, “We continue to be inspired by [Oswaldo] Payá's vision and dedication to a better future for Cuba, and believe that his example and moral leadership will endure.”
Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Senate ---
(1) recognizes and honors the life and exemplary leadership of Oswaldo Payá;
(2) offers heartfelt condolences to the family, friends, and loved ones of Oswaldo Payá;
(3) praises the bravery of Oswaldo Payá and his colleagues for collecting over 11,000 verified signatures in support of the Varela Project;
(4) in memory of Oswaldo Payá, calls on the United States to continue policies that promote respect for the fundamental principles of religious freedom, democracy, and human rights in Cuba, in a manner consistent with the aspirations of the people of Cuba.
(5) in memory of Oswaldo Payá, calls on the Cuban government to provide its citizens with internationally accepted standards for civil and human rights, and the opportunity to vote in free and fair elections; and
(6) calls on the Cuban Government to allow an impartial, third party investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of Oswaldo Payá.
- ► 2013 (461)
07/22 - 07/29
- Cuban-American Wins 1st Gold for Team USA
- Will Carromero Become Spain's Alan Gross?
- Image of the Day
- Russia Seeks Navy Base in Cuba
- Senator Lugar Releases Paya Resolution
- Lugar's Paya Stunt Not Befitting of a Statesman
- Swedish Crash Survivor Detained in Havana
- Quote of the Day
- The Blah Blah on "Reforms"
- Cuban Activist Was an Inspiration to Many
- Oppenheimer Should "Heed" Paya's Words
- Pollan and Paya Will Not be Forgotten
- "L" Stands for Libertad
- White House Statement on Arrest of Activists in Cu...
- When Will The Castros’ Arms Tire?
- Update on the Paya Crash Survivors
- AI: Dozens Arrested at Paya Funeral
- Caught on Tape: Repression During Paya's Funeral
- FL Appeals Ruling Against Cuba/Syria Law
- Senate Resolution Honoring Oswaldo Paya
- More Castro Regime Visas (and Barbara Lee Fetes)
- Must Watch: "Libertad!" at Paya's Mass
- Image of the Day
- Romney Statement on Paya's Death
- Nelson Statement on Death of Oswaldo Paya
- Rubio Statement on Death of Oswaldo Paya
- White House Statement on Paya's Death
- Today on "From Washington al Mundo"
- Quote of the Day
- Embassies Must Protect Paya Crash Survivors
- Oswaldo Paya Killed in Accident
- Quote of the Week
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