A subject we always include
Rosa María Payá
I have only been in Washington DC 12 hours. Time enough to take up Senator Marco Rubio’s kind invitation to go to President Obama’s State of the Union Address.
It’s winter in DC, but as it gets late, the monumental silhouettes are turned on, giving the capital a warm appearance. In the Capitol I was able to talk to various Democrat and Republican senators, all of them wanting to hear about Cuba. The points in question continue to be fundamental ones:
1) The United States is having high level conversations with a government which has never been chosen by its citizens. And therefore we hope they will put on the table some support for the constitutional petition put up by thousands of Cubans in favour of a referendum for free and multi-party elections.
2) The United States authorities have, on various occasions supported the need for an independent investigation into the violent deaths on 22 July 2012 of my father Oswaldo Payá, European Union Andrei Sakharov prize-winner, and Harold Cepero, young leader of the Christian Liberation Movement. To be consistent, this matter should be discussed now with the Cuban government, as there is the opportunity to address it directly via the new official channels.
Flying back, I bumped into Roberta Jacobson, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere. I went up to her immediately and she got up to greet me. I was pleased she did that.
“Going back home or just to Miami?” she asked me in an innocent way. “I’m going to Miami,” I told her and it struck me that I had not gone back to my home in Havana for more than a year. The last time I was there, State Security chased my brothers in the street, by Parque Manila in El Cerro, and phoned them to say, “Bastards, we’re going to kill you.”
Mrs. Jacobson was going to Havana to some meetings with Cuban government officials. One of them is the well-known State Security functionary Gustavo Machín. Not by coincidence, it was he who had the responsibility for the press conference circus given by the Swede Aron Modig in Cuba, while he was kept in solitary confinement without charges, just before he was deported from the country without being allowed to meet my family, as we had requested as he was a friend and we would be the ones most affected.
Aron was in the car with my father the day of the long-expected attack on our family (nearly always with witnesses, to terrorize them, like an exemplary measure) and was captured by the State Security immediately after the car was run off the road.
I asked the Assistant Secretary whether the independent investigation we have been demanding into the death of Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero would form a part of the dialogue with the Cuban government. “This is always a point that we raise,” she answered in agreement.
She also explained that they were planning to discuss human rights, without saying when. She was speaking in the normal way officials do, as if they weren’t travelling to the heart of the longest-running dictatorship on the planet to meet criminal functionaries, some of whom worked as spies in her own United States.
The Cuban government has lied to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extra-judicial Crimes, when he had asked them for information about my father’s death. More than two years later, the Cuban authorities continue to deny us the autopsy report, which the family has the right to see under current laws in the island.
This Friday January 21st, I am going to meet Ricardo Zúñiga in the White House. I hope that by then he will have news about the Cuban government’s response to Roberta Jacobson, about the investigation into the attack against Harold and my father that cruel day which my family feared but never were able to understand.
The United States and every other country in the world ought to know that, unless all the truth comes out about this and so many other atrocities that have been mythified as a “Revolution”, there will be no real democracy or stability in Cuba. It is possible that before Friday the accredited international press in the island will already have a reply to both parts of this inescapable question in such a high-level dialogue.
Translated by GH
22 January 2015