A young Cuban woman was recently allowed to leave the island for travel overseas, carrying a powerful message about the reality that is Cuba today.
Her name is Rosa Maria Paya.
Not only is she carrying forth with her late father Oswaldo Paya's work for a free and democratic Cuba, she is taking the lead in trying to learn and reveal the truth about his death.
What she has learned and revealed so far confirms what many suspected all along: It was murder, mostly likely at the hands of agents of the Castro regime.
In Madrid this week, Rosa Maria Paya disclosed her findings:
Text of the Rosa Maria Payá press conference on February 28
Today my father would have turned 61 years old. Today my mother, my brothers and I will not have his always optimistic and hopeful physical presence. 221 days today that the parents of our friend Harold Cepero Escalante are living in the pain of never seeing their charismatic and young son.
My father and Harold found themselves immersed in the Peoples Path campaign that offers a way to move Cuba towards democracy, a path of reconciliation advocated by the majority of the Cuban opposition, a nonviolent option for freedom and prosperity of our people, given the lack of options of a government that has nothing to offer its citizens.
On July 22, 2012 after years of death threats against my father, that had become more frequent and intense in recent months and a dubious car accident in which my parents almost lost their lives, my mother received a phone call from Madrid that we will never forget. Regis Iglesias informed us that something had happened to our friends and their companions. A few minutes later we received a text message that told us that the car he was traveling in had been rammed off the road, there were three people in the hospital and the fourth was missing. A few hours later we learned that my father and Harold were dead. After hearing the testimonies of people who were in the hospital where the survivors transferred and heard the first reading of the minutes taken by the police of the witnesses, in the words of Captain Fulgencio Medina.
After reading the tweets published by Yohandry Fontana, a Cuban government website.
We learned that:
1. My father, Harold Cepero, Aron Modig and Angel Carromero were being followed and monitored by state security of the Cuban government from the time they began the trip in Havana.
2. There was at least one other car (a Red Lada model ) traveling nearly parallel with the car my father was riding in and the passengers of this Lada were on the scene even before the arrival of the first of the official witnesses.
3. My father did not receive any medical assistance before he died and was taken to the hospital only after his death.
4. Harold Cepero Escalante was never taken to an operating room or intensive care.
5. It has not been able to be demonstrated that Angel Carromero was driving at an excessive speed. After reading the text messages of the survivors foreign friends in Madrid and Stockholm, [They will be published].
After having talked to Angel Carromero, sole survivor with full memory of the events and of the communications that my family and the MCL has had with Aron Modig and the people who were the recipients of the messages and calls for help from both survivors, we confirmed that:
1. There was no accident.
2. The car in which my father, Harold, Aaron and Angel were riding was intentionally hit from behind by another car, but this did not cause the death of any of the passengers.
3. None of the survivors recalled that the car has gone around or crashed against any tree.
4. The two foreigners were immediately removed from the scene by men who arrived in another car. We do not know what happened to my father and my friend, but a few hours later they were both dead. Our families, the Christian Liberation Movement, our brothers in struggle and friends in and outside of Cuba have a right to know how they died and who is responsible for their deaths ....
The data we have exposed, the governmental persecution under which we live in Cuba and increased repression on the Cuban democracy movement makes me fear for the safety of all. For years state security directly threatened the life of my father and now pursues and threatensmembers of my family and of MCL. The Cuban government is responsible for the physical integrity of our two families and the activists of our movement.
My father and Harold spent and gave their lives for peaceful change to bring reconciliation, rights and welfare to our people. This reconciliation requires the recognition of all truth, forgiveness and good will of its actors. That is the truth that we are seeking and we will not stop looking until we find it. It is for that reason that we request the support of all institutions and individuals that can help to realize an international investigation into the probable murder of my father and Harold. They are already in the presence of God and will light our way from there.