Pedazos de la Isla

"Pieces of the Island"-An English Translation

Category Archives: Harold Cepero

Oswaldo Paya and Harold Cepero honored on the streets of Cuba (Video)

Jorge Luis García Pérez ‘Antúnez’, former political prisoner and general secretary of the Orlando Zapata Tamayo National Resistance Front, has published a video on his YouTube account of a march carried out by members of the mentioned pro-freedom on Monday, July 22nd, in the city of Placetas, Villa Clara, on the first anniversary of the mysterious and unclear deaths of Oswaldo Paya and Harold Cepero.

In the video, Antunez publicly demands the dictatorship to say the truth about the deaths, supporting the call of Paya’s family who have not given up on their objective to carry out an independent investigation of the events which occurred that day in the city of Bayamo.

The dissidents also denounce “fraudulent-change”, a term coined by Paya in reference to the cosmetic measures carried out by the regime to make it seem as if their were real changes on the island in the eyes of the international media.

Meanwhile, ‘Hablemos Press’ published a video of the tribute which took place the same day in the Colon Cemetery of Havana, where the remains of Oswaldo lay.  Various people took part in the heartfelt event, and a note penned by the Christian Liberation Movement was read aloud.

A number of activities in honor of the fallen activists were reported in diverse regions of the island, from East to West.  They included but were not limited to marches, vigils, debates, fasts and Masses, and although many of them were violently repressed by the State, it was once again confirmed that the legacy of Paya and Cepero lives on.

Cuba: Increase in arbitrary robberies and arrests at the hands of the State

In the last couple of weeks in Cuba there has been an increase in the amount of arbitrary arrests and robberies of pro-democracy dissidents at the hands of the political police.

Various cases have been coming in from the Eastern region of the country.  The case of activist Yuniesky Dominguez Gonzalez and former political prisoner Dany Lopez de Moya, both member of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (UNPACU) in Palma Soriano, Santiago de Cuba, is one of them.

Yuniesky recounts that on Tuesday, July 23rd, as they both were leaving a meeting at the home of Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia, leader of UNPACU, when they were near the highway of Palma Soriano, members of the National Revolutionary Police and the political police intercepted them.  Agent Norberto was running the operation.

The agents intercepted the vehicle we were traveling in“, explained Dominguez to this blog, “then, the agents used forced to get us out, pulling our clothes and beating us.  They did the same thing with Dany’s son, 15 year old Frank Daniel Rodriguez“.

The first thing the agents did was to snatch all the belongings of the detainees.  “They took Frank Daniel’s phone and purposely spent the money he had on it as a form of blackmail.  They also robbed CDs, USBs and other things” which were never returned.  The discs were destroyed.

Yuniesky explains that the motive of breaking the CDs is to keep them from spreading throughout the population, considering that UNPACU members fill them with images of protests and activism not only of their movement, but of the opposition in general.

Similarly, on July 18th, the political police arrested youth activists Yoandri Montoya Aviles and Juannier Rodriguez in the city of Bayamo. Both dissidents are members of the Eastern Democratic Alliance (ADO) and were arrested while they filmed a documentary for PalenqueVision, the audio-visual project of this group.  The equipment they were using were robbed.

Juannier, who has been victim of expulsions and blackmail at his university due to his ties with the opposition, recounts that they were just “chatting with other young people in Bayamo, working on a video about their day-to-day reality when police agents suddenly arrived and took our cameras, breaking one of them“.

The agents accused the activists of being “delinquents” and were detained by force, shoved inside a bus and taken to a police unit.  Afterward, Juannier Rodriguez was deported to Guantanamo, his province of residence, but he defied the authorities and returned to Bayamo.

On Monday, July 22nd, the Cuban regime carried out a violent operation against a number of members of the Christian Liberation Movement (MCL) in the province of Las Tunas as they paid tribute to Oswaldo Paya and Harold Cepero on the first anniversary of their death.

Ezequiel Morales Carmenate, leader of the MCL in that area, denounced that paramilitary mobs, made up by members of the Communist Party, the Committee for the Defense of the Revolution and the political police “assaulted the home of Roger Curbelo, the headquarters of the MCL in the municipality of Puerto Padre“.  The agents penetrated the house, beating activists and robbing a Cuban flag as well as signs honoring Paya and Cepero, also accusing the dictatorship of having to do with the events which occurred on July 22nd 2012.

In the municipality of Majibacoa the home of Elber Perez (another leader of the MCL) was also the scene of excessive violence when the mobs assaulted the house during night hours, robbing countless documents, CDs and other work instruments.

On his part, Yuniesky Dominguez said that the upcoming anniversary of the assault of the Moncada Barracks on July 26th by the movement led by the Castros, who assumed power through violence on 1959, “has the regime very worried“. Why?

Because the activism of the peaceful opposition has put the regime in danger.  We are not fighting with weapons, nor do we carry out acts of sabotage as the July 26th Movement did.  However, our weapon is still lethal, and it is our words, and we work so that the people know what we do against the dictatorship and in favor of human rights and the population“.

That’s why, the activist explains, that in its desperation the dictatorship turns to physical aggressions and robbery of materials used by dissident to work towards freedom.  Materials which are obtained by activists with much difficulty, considering that the majority of these things are sent from abroad by people who have joined in solidarity, or in some cases, bought by the dissidents themselves, at a very elevated price.

What the dictatorship was never able to do to Oswaldo Paya and Harold Cepero

Countless Cubans and non-Cubans have changed their profile pictures on social networks in honor of them, there have been Masses and chats, independent libraries have been founded with their names, and their have been marches in their memory.

The Cuban dictatorship continues to not understand that with the disappearance (ordered by them) of Cuban dissidents, they cannot destroy their ideas.

It’s what has happened with Oswaldo Paya and Harold Cepero, who were both added to a long list of martyrs of democracy last July 22nd, 2012.

One year after their death, the Christian Liberation Movement (pro-freedom group which they headed) has only gotten stronger.  The young faces of the organization have risen with much more energy, their members have been promoting The Path of the People throughout the island, international organisms have shown solidarity with them and they have also made a project which Paya and Cepero worked for into a reality- the publication of the independent newspaper “Somos Liberacion” (‘We are Liberation’).

I refer to the dictatorship having to do with the death of the activists with certainty because, if they have nothing to hide then why do they flat-out refuse to carry out an independent investigation of the events which occurred that Sunday in the Eastern city Bayamo?  They have completely ignored the demands of the Paya family, and they have repeated the same exact threats against Oswaldo towards them.  The system has put itself up against the wall.

The response of the family has been to not stop.  They have not given up in demanding an investigation, not for a moment, not in the international scene and certainly not in Cuba.

Oswaldo Paya lived under persecution, but he lived free, just like Harold did. Expulsions from work or educational centers, acts of repudiation, constant vigilance, threats, defamation and censorship were just a few of the tactics utilized by a desperate regime, which managed to disappear them physically.  But that was the only “achievement” of the State.

Now, the message of Oswaldo and Harold is heard with much more strength in all of the island, standing up against fraudulent changes and demanding real freedom.  On this first anniversary, in Cuba and in other parts of the world there have been, and will be, activities in honor of these brave men.

The truth is that the dictatorship fears the truth.  And part of this truth is that they were not successful in extinguishing the legacy of Oswaldo Paya Sardinas and Harold Cepero Escalante.  They live.

Oswaldo Paya and Harold Cepero to be honored in Cuba and Miami on 1st anniversary of their death

The Christian Liberation Movement (MCL) has announced that there will be various activities to honor Oswaldo Paya Sardiñas and Harold Cepero Escalante this upcoming 22nd of July of 2013 in Cuba and in Miami, on the first anniversary of the death of these pro-freedom activists.

On their website, the MCL explains that there will be a Mass at 3 PM on the 22nd in the Chapel of the Colon Cemetery, in Havana.  The organizers of this event ask all participants to take flowers to later march silently to the place where Oswaldo Paya reposes.

At 8 PM on the same day, there will also be a Mass the Ermita de la Caridad in Miami, Florida, which will be presided by Juan Rumin, current rector of this historic and symbolic sanctuary.

Also, on Friday July 19th there will be a colloquium “about the legacy of Oswaldo Paya” at 8 PM in the Sacred Family Salon of La Inmaculada Church in Hialeah, Florida, located on 4497 West 1st Avenue, just minutes from the heart of Miami.

Rosa Maria Paya, daughter of the deceased opposition leader, wrote on her Twitter account (@RosaMariaPaya) that there will also be a tribute to Harold Cepero on Wednesday, July 17th, in Washington DC.

For further details check out MCL’s website.

Young MCL activist threatened with death by State Security

Manuel Robles, young member of the Christian Liberation Movement (MCL) in Havana recently wrote on his Twitter account (@manue_rv) that he had received a call from inside of Cuba which he could not respond to at that moment.  When he called back, an unknown voice asked if his number belonged “to the dead person”.

Robles said the number which called him was +72-053-912.

This Monday, June 3rd, Rosa Maria Paya, daughter of the fallen leader of MCL, Oswaldo Paya, denounced on her Twitter account (@RosaMariaPaya) the situation confronting Robles, explaining that they are calling “his cell phone with death threats”.  Paya added that “State Security continues with their threats”.

These threats are common against members of the Movement.  Ofelia Acevedo, widow of Oswaldo Paya, has received similar calls, while Rosa Maria and an aunt have also received them.  Other dissidents from different pro-freedom groups face similar situations.  Oswaldo would frequently receive them as well.

The Paya family has not stopped denouncing this reality, as they have also not stopped demanding an independent investigation of the events which led to the death of Oswaldo Paya and Harold Cepero.

This July will mark one year since their mysterious deaths in the Eastern Cuban city of Bayamo.

Photo published by @RosaMariaPaya in May of a police agent watching her family as they visit her father’s grave in Havana

Carromero: Paya’s family has the truth in regards to his death last year

“ABC.es” reports that Angel Carromero, Spanish politician who was in the vehicle where Oswaldo Paya and Harold Cepero died under strange circumstances in July of last year in Cuba, has reaffirmed Paya’s version of the events, which state that the death of the dissident leader was no accident.  Carromero also says that an international investigation of the incidents will take place.  My translation: 

Carromero reaffirms the version of Paya’s family in regards to the dissident’s death

The Vice-Secretary of Madrid’s “Nuevas Generaciones”, Angel Carromero, has reaffirmed the information which Oswaldo Paya’s family has in reference to the incident where the Cuban dissident lost his life and where he was involved.  The reaffirmation came after he was asked for his version of the events.

The declarations were made during Carromero’s first interview with the Spanish media after returning to the country after he was sentenced in Cuba for Paya’s death and have also coincided with a tribute to Paya carried out by the Popular Party of Rivas Vaciamadrid in the Council of the mentioned city, with the presence of various relatives of the dissident as well as the president of Madrid’s PP, Esperanza Aguirre.

When asked how he was doing, the Spaniard said “very well”, and in regards to his thoughts while seeing images of Oswaldo Paya during the event he pointed out that he felt “much emotion” because “he was a significant figure for Cuba and all the Cuban people”.

“He was hope…and what I want is that the Cuban people may have many people like Oswaldo Paya who only wanted freedom for all those people and for all those families”, he signaled.

In regards to his opinion on what happened on the day of the accident where Paya lost his life, he limited himself to say that he “reaffirms” the information which the dissident’s family has.  They have precisely been denouncing this for months, saying that since the very beginning they are sure that the incident was no casual accident.  “I continue supporting what the family has said”, he explains.  As for if he believes there will be justice, he replies “an international investigation will go underway”.

The original report, in Spanish, here.

“We are fighting for real changes in Cuba”: Interview with Rosa Maria Paya in English

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In a recent video-interview published by The Washington Post, journalist Brook Silva-Braga chats with Rosa Maria Paya, in English, about her mission to find the truth about her father’s death and about the struggle for a free Cuba.

After Oswaldo Paya and Harold Cepero, founders and members of the Christian Liberation Movement, died in July of 2012, the Paya family has not accepted the government’s version of a simple car accident, considering that Oswaldo would constantly receive calls from State Security saying that they would kill him.  In addition, relatives and friends in Cuba and abroad had received text messages minutes before the incident, where the passengers alerted that they were being followed by a State Security vehicle.

Rosa Maria Paya recently returned to Cuba after a two month long trip to different countries in search of international support for an independent investigation to find the truth about her father’s death.  She has said that the struggle for the truth continues from inside of Cuba and has been denouncing the continuation of death threats against her family by State Security.

In this interview, Paya expands on the importance of having an independent investigation about her father’s death and dismisses the supposed reforms that the Cuban regime has undertaken, affirming that allowing some Cubans to travel does not provide the necessary human rights for all citizens.

“We are fighting for real changes in Cuba”, says the young activist, “we are calling for a real transition, not these reforms which do not bring rights to my people”.

This video is a must-see:

“Rosa Maria Paya lives”: Must-read article by Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

Photo by: Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

Cuban blogger, writer and photographer Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo in “Marti Noticias”. An article about Rosa Maria Paya and her return to Cuba after two months searching for support for an investigation to find the truth about her father’s death. (My translation):

Rosa Maria Paya lives

Tomorrow, at dawn, Rosa Maria Paya returns to Cuba, just as she promised at the Havana airport two months ago. Her word, contrary to what is common in Cuba, is honest.

Rosa Maria will return without bodyguards and without a media scandal, vulnerable and smiling, caressing her tireless cross, back to her already classic humble home on Penon street, near ManilaPark, where her father Oswaldo Paya Sardinas (1952-2012) will never return, nor her good friend Harold Cepero Escalante (1980-2012). Both were leaders of the Christian Liberation Movement, both died on a tragic Sunday of last July, passed onto the hands of strangers and in a place in Cuba that is still uncertain, given that the official version has become unsustainable after all the evidence and testimonies exposed to the world by Rosa Maria Paya, without even having to raise her voice. Before the grotesque screaming of all forms of State Totalitarianism, the voice of a Cuban, an orphan of friendship and love.

Rosa Maria Paya will return to the land where the mortal remains of the martyred leaders of the Christian Liberation Movement rot. She will return alive and with a wish to resuscitate the sacred desires of living in truth in a socialist society, so panic-stricken and full of hypocrisy. Rosa returns and will sprout in Cuba without any accomplice disease of our octogenarian regime. She will return without any pretensions of violating travel laws or declaring herself on hunger strike. She returns inflamed with life and freedom. She returns, with an L (for ‘Liberty’), just like she left on a Friday this past February.

Cuban State Security did not care, at all, about her 24 years of resistance, to horrify the Paya-Acevedo family. A family that still receives anonymous threats of “before the Revolution ends, we are going to kill you”. And, in effect, there is lots of that in the rheumatic rhetoric of the Revolution: anonymity, fear of having a face beyond Fidel and Raul (our Nuremburg trial will be in a minimal format).

The Paya-Acevedo family is a family that still receives anonymous threats of “before the Revolution ends, we are going to kill you”. And, in effect, there is lots of that in the rheumatic rhetoric of the Revolution: anonymity, fear of having a face beyond Fidel and Raul (our Nuremburg trial will be in a minimal format).

Tomorrow morning Rosa Maria Paya will step out of media’s hands, out of the hands of f Human Rights organizations and parliaments, NGOs and democratic governments that have joined in solidarity. Because in Cuba, only bodies count, and the new face of the Christian Liberation Movement, without vocations of sacrifice, will return to a perverted nation which possibly may not let her travel again. It’s possible that we may never see her paused gesticulation, without the improbable arrogance of our caudillos. We may never again hear the vehement tenderness of her valor. In this sense, we should bid a soulful farewell to Rosa Maria Paya.

The main thing here lies, of course, not in her virtuoso image, but in the legacy of a work that is still powerful and possible in the citizen initiatives of the Varela Project, the Heredia Project, and the Path of the People, and many other concrete propositions which reduce the impunity of the Cuban government, as it forces it to comply with its own legality to transform itself according to popular will. An effort of dozens of thousands of citizens which continues to be ignored by our inoperative National Parliament, governmental organ which apparently prefers to opt for its own suicide instead of facing a future transition.

It is precisely this intimidating silence, that insulting impunity on the margin of morality, it is the malicious muteness of lies and death, that’s the welcome with which the authorities of Havana will now spy on Rosa Maria Paya. The CubanState continues to be deaf, up to the point of insolence. Their operational logic is in no means institutional. Instead, it is like a secret sect.

Consequently, any abuse of power is expected against her and her family, both in and out of the island, now or in the survival of a decade in which they tortured her own father in her childhood eyes. Nothing is insignificant in that criminal boiler where the most ‘problematic’ activists of the Cuban opposition have been, are, and will be converted from bodies to corpse.

World, take a better look.

Rosa Maria Paya is alive today.

Rosa Maria Paya to offer public event in Miami this Friday

Rosa Maria Paya will take part in a “Chat about Democratic Thought“, organized by the Christian Liberation Movement (MCL), in Miami this Friday, April 12th. The event will be open to the public and will take place at 9:00 PM in the Parish Salon of the Immaculate Conception Church, located at 4497 West 1st Avenue, Hialeah, FL 33012.

According to MCL’s page (oswaldopaya.org), “it will be an encounter between Rosa Maria Paya with exiled organizations and all those who are interested to hear the testimony of real changes and a reaffirmation to say NO to fraudulent change which the Cuban regime is trying to depict”.

In addition, the young Cuban will let the public know about all she’s done in her trip abroad to obtain an international and independent investigation to find the truth about the death of her father, Oswaldo Paya and fellow youth activist Harold Cepero.

Welcome to Miami, Rosa Maria! Here in Miami we also support the independent investigation.

Lights of Freedom light up New York in honor of Oswaldo Paya and Harold Cepero

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The image of Oswaldo Paya and Harold Cepero lit up the New York night on Saturday April 6th, thanks to the creativity of exiled Cuban artist Geandy Pavon, as part of a heartfelt tribute to the deceased dissidents, members of the Christian Liberation Movement left dead last July after a mysterious ‘car accident’ which fellow dissidents and relatives denounce as an assassination organized by the regime’s State Security apparatus.

In the presence of Rosa Maria Paya, her brother Oswaldo Paya Acevedo (children of the dissident leader) and former political prisoner Regis Iglesias (representative of the Movement in exile), Pavon projected a photo of Oswaldo and Harold on the Cuban UN Missions building, located on Lexington Avenue.

The exposition is part of Project Nemesis which in the past has paid tribute to other activists disappeared by the Cuban regime, like Orlando Zapata Tamayo (projected in Washington DC, New York and Madrid) and Laura Pollan (projected in Ottawa, Canada).

“It was a gesture of solidarity and also a gesture which is completely in tune with what we are demanding”, said Rosa Maria Paya about the tribute, “we are asking for the truth so that, just like this light is lighting up the walls of the Cuban consulate, the truth illuminates the hearts of Cubans and so that we can all- together- go down the path of reconciliation to achieve the peace, happiness and democracy we are seeking”.

The reflection of an “L” for Liberty was also projected over the image of Paya and Ceper. This hand gesture was popularized by the Christian Liberation Movement to demand freedom for Cuba within the opposition.

See the video below:

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