HAVANA, Cuba, May, www.cubanet.org.- Rosa María Payá, daughter of the late leader of the Christian Liberation Movement, returned to Cuba after finishing a tour with the main objective of promoting an international investigation to clarify the circumstances that led to the tragedy on July 22, 2012 that killed Oswaldo Paya and Harold Cepero.
The daughter of Oswaldo Paya and Ofelia Acevedo agreed to an interview for Cubanet. Having captivated the public through the media, she insists that neither his undisputed leadership nor she herself that is the most important thing. To discover whether or not there was government responsibility in the events of July 22, 2012, would end with a cycle of violence and impunity for State Security, and the alleged immunity of the authorities to the consequences of the systematic violation of the human rights of all Cubans.
Lilianne Ruiz: What is the situation of the demand to international organizations that they investigate the Payá case?
Rosa María Payá: In the Universal Periodic Review report, there was a statement on the matter. We presented the case to the Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Crimes of the United Nations Human Rights Council, headed by the High Commissioner Navi Pillay. A few days later, the Special Rapporteur answered us saying that they accepted the case and are in contact with the parties. In fact, I think the words that they used in contact with the families of the victims, which implies a judgment about what happened. Beyond that, the United Nations has its mechanisms of action, directly with the government of the country, of sending a request for information or of sending emergency measures, not all of which are public. What we do know is that they are working on the case.
I asked Mrs. Navy this question directly because after the speech to the Human Rights Council — in that two minute speech, I was interrupted by seven countries with “human rights standards,” including Cuba, Russia, Belarus — after that there was a plenum with the High Commissioner, and I was able to directly ask her the question of whether she knew about the case (i.e., the request for an international investigation) and she gave me her condolences, told me they knew about the case and put me in touch with the Rapporteur on Extrajudicial crimes; and that’s when we presented demand, and a few days later they responded by saying that they have the case. It is a process. I’m not saying they are doing an international investigation, I’m just saying what they said: they are working on the case with the United Nations mechanisms, not all of which are public.
How did your speech before the United Nations Human Rights Council go?
RMP: During the Human Rights Council there are some weeks when NGOs can speak. There was an NGO called U.N. Watch who gave their time to me. I had two minutes at the Human Rights Council, and when it came time for my speech I hadn’t been speaking for thirty seconds when “Cuba” started to make noise and demand the floor. The president, of course, stopped me, and gave the floor to the representative from the Cuban mission to the U.N. I can’t find the exact words, but the tone was the same threats as always, “How is it that this mercenary can come before the United Nations Human Rights Council?” They asked that I not be allowed to speak, that I not be allowed to finish the two minutes.
I believe that later the United States got up and said something like, “Fine, in any event, we all have the right to speak. We are going to listen to what she has to say.” The United States sat down and the following began to stand up consecutively: China, Russia, Belarus, Pakistan, Nicaragua, I don’t remember which other countries who say they are “standard bearers of Human Rights,” standing up to support “Cuba,” to say, “just to support Cuba’s motion.” But fine, after the last one sat down, the president turned to give me the floor and I could finish.
At this Council they listen to all kinds of things, every day that it lasts — from the slaves of Mauritania, to torture in Iran, and most of the countries don’t react against the Human Rights activists who are talking there. This reaction, apparently planned — because they would have had to talk with China, Pakistan, Russia, Belarus, Nicaragua, because they jumped up at this moment and supported “Cuba” — also indicated their arrogance, their inability to deal with the truth. What we were asking for there was an investigation, we were asking for a plebiscite. We were not accusing anyone, on the contrary, we were proposing a dialogue.
What can you tell us about your interview with Angel Carromero?
RMP: Well, I talked with him upon arriving from the airport. I arrived from the airport — I was very tired, I was going to go to sleep — and he was at my house. My cousin’s house. He was very close, very coherent, very rational; he explained everything to me. He wanted to explain everything to me step by step, what had happened. He was angry at how he had been treated in Cuba, at how he had been treated in Spain, about the things that they continued doing, the attitude of the press. I say angry because he was frustrated that what had come out was not the truth, and with regards to his own situation, he was being treated as guilty though he was innocent. Continue reading