Oswaldo Jose Paya Sardinas

From SourceWatch
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Oswaldo José Payá Sardiñas, "born on 29th of July 1952 in Havana, in a catholic family, as fifth boy of seven children. Oswaldo's family has never been related to any Cuban government. It was rather repressed due to their catholic beliefs and their criticism of the Cuban regime. His father was often put in jail due to his open disapproval of Castro's socialism.

"Oswaldo Payá expressed his opinions and independence during his school times. He was the only one that did not belong to the organization of pioneers (communist children organization) and officially criticized the Soviet invasion to Czechoslovakia in 1968. In 1969, as a 17-years -old boy, was sent to a labor camp for 3 years, without any trial. He worked in a stone mine, and later he in sugar cane plantations.

"He entered the University of Havana in 1972. He studied physics, electronic engineering, but he was released from the university due to the open expressions of his catholic beliefs and his disagreement with the official party ideology. Also his family got problems in their jobs. He worked as a carpenter and presently is working as a specialist of the electronics of medical equipment. He received a proposal to immigrate to the USA in 1980, but he decided to remain in the island. He lives in Havana with his wife Ofelia and their three children.

"He is followed and harassed by the secret service in all places – his home, work, and in the church. One o the main reasons if his arrests, interrogations and imprisonment are his catholic beliefs. In spite of it, he started to criticize the government openly. He defended the freedom of religion in 1986 and asked the church to condemn social injustices. A year later, helped to found the Circle of Cuban Opinions and released his first publication "People of God" (Pueblo de Dios) related to the freedom of beliefs and freedom of all Cuban citizens. Unfortunately, the publication was closed and the Circle was dissolved.

"In 1988 Paya founded the Christian Liberation Movement. (Movimiento Cristiano de Liberación) http://www.mclpaya.org/ , and is still leading it. It is a pacific, dissident movement demanding political and economical reforms and the respect of human rights. He demands the introduction of peaceful democratic changes.

"He organized the collection of signatures demanding dialog among all Cubans in 1991, but without effect. Cuban authorities accused him at that time of being a CIA agent.

"He presented his candidature to the Cuban National Assembly in 1992. He was arrested and publicly condemned.

"In 1995, Paya started to criticize the government of the United States for its policy towards Cuba, and demanded the elimination of the embargo for food and medicines. Paya was one of the organizers of the Cuban Council, a coalition that unites over 100 organizations that promote peaceful and democratic transformation of the country and that would work in the future for the respect of human rights and civil rights. Paya is arrested again and its home searched by the secret service in order to interrupt meetings of the council." [1]

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch