Thank you, Mr. President.
My name is Rosa Maria Payá, member of the Christian Liberation Movement and daughter of its national coordinator, Oswaldo Payá, opposition leader and Sakharov Prize laureate of the European Parliament.
My father dedicated his life to working for legal and nonviolent change for Cubans to enjoy all basic human rights.
He promoted the Varela Project, a referendum supported by over 25,000 citizens, who have defied repression to demand legal reforms that guarantee freedom of expression, freedom of association, free elections, freedom of nonviolent political prisoners and the right to own private enterprises.
The government has so far refused to allow this plebiscite, and it imprisoned the majority of its leaders.
Yosvani Melchor Rodríguez is 30 years old, and has spent three years in prison as a punishment for his mother being a member of our movement.
Cuban authorities said that my father and Harold Cepero, a youth activist, died in a traffic accident. But after interviewing the survivors, we confirmed that their deaths were not accidental.
[Cuban delegate Juan Quintanilla starts banging on his desk.]
President of the Session (UNHRC Vice President Luis Gallegos Chiriboga, ambassador of Ecuador):
There is a point of order from the delegation of Cuba.
Cuba (Juan Quintanilla):
Thank you, Mr. President. I apologize for the noise in the room but it was necessary to interrupt the statement by the mercenary who has dared to come to this room. We would like to ask, Mr. President, if this debate on Item 4 refers to general questions that may show a pattern of violations of human rights, or whether it is also to be used to address specific issues such as what is being done now by the mercenary, who has been taking the floor at this juncture. We have this concern, Mr. President, and we would be very grateful if you could clarify things for us and if you could show this to the mercenary who is delivering a statement. Thank you.
Thank you Mr. President. We highlight that the US firmly believes that NGOs must be permitted to speak in the Council. The member states, including the United States, may occasionally disagree with the content of a NGO statement. It is essential that civil society voices be heard here in an atmosphere of open expression. Without addressing the substance of what the speaker was saying, we are of the opinion that what we have heard of the intervention so far is addressed to the subject matter at hand before this Council under item 4. Mr. President, we respectfully ask that you rule that the speaker be allowed to finish her presentation. Thank you.
China: Thank you, Mr. President. The Chinese delegation believes that the concern of the Cuban delegation is valid. I hope, Mr. President, that you will seriously consider the request by the Cuban delegation. Thank you.
Russia: Thank you, Mr. President. Our delegation would like to support what is being said by the delegation of Cuba, objecting to the procedure being used for conducting the meeting. We would like to ask you to appeal to the representative of the NGO which is speaking to adhere to the established rules of procedure for the Council and the agenda as established. Thank you very much.
Pakistan: We support the point of order raised by the Cuban delegation. Thank you.
Nicaragua: My delegation is asking for the floor to support the request put forward by Cuba in its point of order. Thank you very much.
Belarus: Mr. President, the delegation of Belarus joins the well-founded statement on the point of order and procedural issues as raised by the delegation of Cuba. Thank you.
President: I would like to remind the organizations that are speaking that we are on Agenda Item 4, the human rights situations which require attention in the Council, and that they confine to that subject matter in their statements.
[Paya then resumed her statement.]
Thank you, Mr. President.
The driver of the car told the Washington Post that they were intentionally rammed from behind. The text messages from the survivors on the day of the event confirm this.
The Cuban government’s state security calls my family home in Havana, saying: “We’re going to kill you.” These are the same death threats that were made to my father. I want to be clear: The physical integrity of all members of my family is the responsibility of the Cuban government.
Today I wish to present this appeal, signed by 46 political leaders and activists from around the world. We urge the United Nations to launch an independent investigation into the death of my father.
The truth is essential to the process of reconciliation that is necessary for a transition to democracy in Cuba. We do not seek revenge. But we have a right to know:
Who is responsible for the death of my father?
When will the people of Cuba finally enjoy basic democracy and fundamental freedoms?
Thank you, Mr. President.
At the end of the general debate, Cuba took the floor again to exercise a right of reply.
Cuba, exercising right of reply:
An anti-Cuban mercenary addressed the Council today to try to blame the Cuban government for the death of her father, who died last year in a car accident. This mercenary was accredited by United Nations Watch, a reactionary NGO without any credibility. Nobody takes it seriously and it only works for the service of the United States.
Rosa Maria Paya is a created, invented individual — financed and promoted by the US government. She has close relations with the US Interests Office in Havana, which she has visited on many occasions.
As regards to the alleged facts, nobody in their right mind would believe them during the oral and public hearing. And on the basis of abundant proof, including expert proof, it was shown that Angel Carromero was driving at well above 120 kilometers an hour, and it was his lack of attention and care, the fact that he was driving too fast, and a wrong decision to step on the brakes too hard on a slippery surface that caused this tragic accident which cost the life of two individuals. Angel Carromero in fact recognized this.
Both Rosa Maria Paya and Regis Iglesias — speaking on behalf of another phony NGO — are vulgar agents, paid, educated and trained by the US government in order to bring about a regime change in Cuba. They both work for those who are in favor of the blockade and aggression against their own people.