Remembering Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas: The Consistent Human Rights Defender“For the dead and the living, we must bear witness…” Elie Weisel
Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas spent his entire adult life defending the human rights of the Cuban people and demanding, using nonviolent means, that human rights be respected in Cuba and the need for a democratic transition on the island mobilizing thousands of Cubans in the process. However, he did not only focus on the human rights violations of the Castro regime and consistently defended human rights in stark contrast to the current government in Oswaldo’s homeland.
Two instances separated by a decade involving the United States and Iran demonstrate this courageous consistency in speaking truth to power.
On January 12, 2002 the Cuban Communist Party’s daily newspaper Granma offered the official position of the dictatorship on the prison camp in Guantanamo: “We will not create any obstacles to the development of the [U.S. military] operation, though the transfer of foreign prisoners of war by the U.S. government to the base—located on a space in our territory upon which we have been deprived of any jurisdiction—was not part of the agreement that the base was founded upon.”
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