Oswaldo and Harold Forever. by Regis Iglesias.

Regis Iglesias 80s

Author of the article in front of the house of Oswaldo Paya after an act of repudiation. “It was in the late eighties when I first met Paya – a young man who had already had first-hand experience with punishment for staying true to his beliefs and ideals.”

http://cubalog.eu/2013/07/oswaldo-and-harold-forever/

lready a year has passed since the attack on Oswaldo Paya and Harold Cepero carried out by a car of the Cuban State Security. It was just one of the cars that had been chasing them since the early hours of July 22 with the intent to stop them, trying to prevent history from taking its course, make it impossible for the powerless to regain their right to exercise freedom and pursue happiness.

The regime knew it. All of them had known it for long. They knew that Oswaldo Paya would not settle for the government’s make-believe changes, they knew that he would pursue his cause at all cost, that he would insist that all rights of all Cubans be recognized.

Oswaldo Paya wasn’t a bawler. He wasn’t a prophet. His value consisted in his serenity and consistency, qualities which had led him to become a martyr. Both his work and the way he resisted tyranny was in line with the legacy of the Cuban priest Felix Varela and the intellectual Jose Marti. Paya’s humanity was of the kind that was also inherent to his close friend Václav Havel as well as to Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi.

It was in the late eighties when I first met Paya – a young man who had already had first-hand experience with punishment for staying true to his beliefs and ideals. In 1969 he was sent to a forced labor camp on account of making a public protest against the invasion in Czechoslovakia carried out by Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact allies. However, the three long years suffered in the labor camp didn’t break Paya’s free spirit.

We got our own share of repression before we grew up just because of our music preferences. We listened to songs by Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Kiss or White Snake, groups popular with young people elsewhere in the world. In Cuba, however, this kind of music was considered “ideological deviation” and the regime spared no efforts to destroy our small groups of young, disobedient rebels, who dared to stand up to the repressive forces. We wanted to show that we are different from the generation that had succumbed to the official ideology and had become integrated in it. It was under these circumstances when I first met Oswaldo Paya.

We were a group of young people, for whom everything would change since then. The whole history changed. A civilian movement was established in order to begin a peaceful struggle to return sovereignty to the people. For the first time in history, there was a movement that didn’t intend to speak for those who weren’t heard but wanted to give floor to the individual. It sought to create space for opinions of the powerless. A movement that would constantly demand freedom and pave the road to a sincere and free dialogue that would reconcile the Cubans. After assessing its 25-year struggle, it can be concluded that the impact of the Christian Liberation Movement, an organization founded by Paya, his wife and a group of lay Catholics, is tangible and significant. Its authentic and consistent endeavor has not been paralyzed by any repressive acts against the leaders of the group of regime opponents led by Oswaldo Paya, nor by their imprisonment, expatriation or assassination. Thousands of Cubans are still committed to Paya’s cause and are determined to hold on until the end.

Nobody can ever assess the significance of the physical loss of Oswaldo Paya. If he had lived, he would have become an important figure in the future of Cuba because he, like thousands of other Cubans, had been working on it. His family has lost a good and caring father and a loving husband. We, his friends, have lost our leader, our dear brother. Cuba has lost its chance to accelerate the pursuit of freedom, its opportunity to finish with fraud and opportunism and prevent these evils from growing stronger, as we can see today.

Yet, the eye of the bully won’t find peace – the perpetrator will be troubled by its conscience, burdened by the guilt of the crime. The complicity of opportunists will not let them feel superior to the victim, neither will the silence of cowards make them feel freer. They will have to live with what they have done forever.

We will continue with the struggle initiated half a century ago. We can rely on brave men and women both from Cuba and abroad, who are committed to the legacy left by Oswaldo Paya and Harold Cepero. We will never cease trying to find the truth about the crime and we will always carry our friends in our grateful hearts.

Despite being in tears now, Cuba will be born again: a free country that will always honor its slain children.

Regis Iglesias - spokesman of the Christian Liberation Movement and a former prisoner of conscience, currently exiled in Spain.


Regis Iglesias is a spokesman of the Christian Liberation Movement and a former prisoner of conscience, currently exiled in Spain.

Oswaldo y Harold por siempre
Ya hace un año. Oswaldo Paya y Harold Cepero eran atacados por un automóvil de la Seguridad del Estado cubana. Un automóvil de los muchos que desde horas de la mañana del 22 de julio le perseguían con el objetivo de detenerles, de impedir que la historia continuara su curso y los sin poder recuperaran ese poder para ejercer su libertad, para buscar su felicidad.
El régimen lo sabía, sabía desde hacía mucho tiempo que Oswaldo Paya no pactaría el cambio fraude que él seguiría a cualquier costo la opción del pueblo, el camino del reconocimiento de todos los derechos para todos los cubanos.
Oswaldo nunca fue una persona estridente, no era un “iluminado” y su valor era un valor sereno, consecuente hasta el martirio.  Su trabajo y su estilo de enfrentar a una tiranía estaba arraigado en la tradición nacional del sacerdote Felix Varela y del intelectual Jose Marti. El pertenecía a esa estirpe humana que representó también Vaclav Havel, su entrañable amigo; Martin Luther King y Mahatma Gandhi.
Yo le conocí a finales de los años ochentas. El era un hombre joven que ya había sufrido en carne propia castigos por el precio de mantenerse fiel a su fe y sus ideas. En 1969 fue llevado a campamentos de trabajo forzado por protestar públicamente contra la invasión de Rusia y sus satélites del Pacto de Varsovia a la tierra Checoslovaca. El sufrió tres largos años de castigo que no quebrantaron su espíritu libre.
Nosotros a penas salíamos de la adolescencia pero ya teníamos nuestra propia cuota de represión solo por escuchar la música de Rolling Stones, Black Sabbath, Led Zepelin, Kiss  o White Snake. Aun en aquellos años estas simples  preferencias musicales, comunes a  cualquier joven del mundo, eran consideradas en Cuba como “desviación ideológica” y el régimen no escatimaba esfuerzos por acabar con nuestros pequeños grupos de jóvenes rebeldes e indóciles que peleando en la calle con las fuerzas represivas representábamos la diferencia entre una generación sometida e integrada a la línea ideológica oficialista. Fue en aquel contexto que conocimos a Oswaldo.
Éramos un grupo de jóvenes para los que todo iba a cambiar desde entonces.  La historia cambio desde entonces. Un movimiento civilista comenzaba a obrar para que la soberanía popular fuese devuelta  a los ciudadanos pacíficamente. Por primera vez la propuesta no era ser voz de quienes no la tenían sino darle voz al individuo, hacer que la opinión de los sin poder contara. El camino de la demanda de liberación ha sido constante,  el llamado al diálogo sincero, libre, para que los cubanos se reconciliaran esta trazado. El impacto en 25 años de luchas del Movimiento Cristiano Liberación, fundado por Paya, su esposa y un grupo de laicos católicos es tangible.  A sido una opción autentica y coherente que no ha paralizado ni la represión, ni la cárcel, el exilio y el asesinato de los líderes del grupo capitaneado por Oswaldo Paya. Miles de cubanos lo siguen aun, estamos comprometidos en llegar hasta el final.
Nadie podrá calcular jamás el significado de la perdida física de Oswaldo Paya. El hubiera tenido un rol fundamental en el futuro de Cuba porque él,  junto a miles de cubanos estaba gestando ese mañana.  Su familia ha perdido al padre bueno y velador, al esposo amoroso. Sus  amigos perdimos al guía, al hermano querido. Pero Cuba ha perdido hoy la oportunidad de acelerar la libertad,  de evitar que el fraude y el oportunismo se consoliden como vemos ya lo hace.
Pero el ojo del matón no tendrá sosiego, la conciencia delos gestores no podrán descansar sabiéndose culpables del crimen. La complicidad del oportunista no le dejara sentirse superior que la víctima, el silencio de los cobardes no les hará mas libres. Tendrán que llevar esto siempre consigo.
Nosotros seguiremos el trabajo que se inicio hace medio siglo. Contamos con hombres y mujeres valientes dentro y fuera de Cuba comprometidos con ese legado de Oswaldo Paya y Harold Cepero. Reclamaremos hasta el final se conozca la verdad sobre el crimen y llevaremos a nuestros amigos siempre en nuestro corazón agradecido.
Cuba que hoy llora, renacerá libre y honrara por siempre a sus hijos inmolados.
(Fin)
Regis Iglesias
Portavoz del Movimiento Cristiano Liberación, ex prisionero de conciencia, desterrado en España.

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