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2012-7

Resolution on Death of Cuban Dissident and Activist Oswaldo Paya Sadinas

REPRESENTATIVE MARILINDA GARCIA (NH) & SENATOR RENE GARCIA (FL) INTRODUCED AUG. 2012 MEETING (RATIFIED)

WHEREAS on Sunday, July 22, 2012, 60-year-old Cuban dissident and activist Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas died in a car crash in Bayamo, Cuba; and

WHEREAS Mr. Payá Sardiñas was a critic of the communist government and proponent of democracy, which led to his imprisonment at a work camp;

WHEREAS Mr. Payá Sardiñas was the founder of the Christian Liberation Movement, a nondenominational religious and civil rights organization; and

WHEREAS in 1992 Mr. Payá Sardiñas announced his candidacy to be a representative on the National Assembly of Popular Power of Cuba and only 2 days before the election was arrested and deemed ineligible to run for office because he was not a member of the Communist Party; and

WHEREAS Mr. Payá Sardiñas collected hundreds of signatures to support his candidacy to the National Assembly in 1997, which was rejected by the electoral commission of Cuba; and

WHEREAS in 1998, Mr. Payá Sardiñas and others created the Varela Project, a signature drive to secure a national referendum to codify into law the right of free speech, the freedom of press and freedom of enterprise, as authorized under the Constitution of Cuba, which requires a national referendum on any proposal that achieves 10,000 or more signatures; and

WHEREAS the Varela Project delivered 11,020 signatures in 2002 to the National Assembly, therefore calling for democratic reforms; and

WHEREAS the Government of Cuba responded by replacing the Varela Project with a referendum that made Cuba's socialist system ``irrevocable'', even after an additional 14,000 signatures were added to the Varela Project petition; and

WHEREAS Mr. Payá Sardiñas bravely advocated for the freedom and rights of his fellow Cubans at great risk to himself, his loved ones, and his associates; and

WHEREAS in March 2003, the Government of Cuba arrested 75 human rights activists, including 25 members of the Varela Project, in the crackdown known as Cuba's ``Black Spring''; and

WHEREAS Mr. Payá Sardiñas's dedication to freedom and faith earned him the Sakarov Prize for Freedom of Thought from the European Parliament in 2002; and

WHEREAS Mr. Payá Sardiñas was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Václav Havel, the noted writer, statesman and former president of the Czech Republic, in 2005; and

WHEREAS President Barack Obama stated about Mr. Payá Sardiñas, ``We continue to be inspired by Payá's vision and dedication to a better future for Cuba, and believe that his example and moral leadership will endure.''

WHEREAS forty prodemocracy activists were arrested and some were severely beaten after Paya's funeral for shouting ``libertad'' (freedom) during the ceremony;

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that NHCSL will recognizes the life and exemplary leadership of Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that NHCSL offers heartfelt condolences to the family, friends, and loved ones of Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that NHCSL condemns the government of Cuba for its ongoing repression of the rights and freedoms of its citizens, and the organization will communicate this condemnation in writing to the Special Interest Office of the Cuban Government in the United States; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, a copy of this Resolution will be transmitted to leadership of the Committees of jurisdiction in Congress, the Department of State, White House, and organizations that advocate similar views.

THIS RESOLUTION WAS ADOPTED ON AUGUST 25, 2012, AT THE NHCSL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETING HELD IN ATLANTA, GEORGIA AND RATIFIED AT THE NHCSL 2012 ANNUAL MEETING HELD IN ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO ON NOVEMBER 17, 2012.

Sponsored by: Representative Marilinda Garcia (NH) & Senator Rene Garcia (FL)