Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart

Representing the 25th District of FLORIDA

Diaz-Balart Remembers Oswaldo Payá and Herold Cepero

Jul 22, 2015
Press Release

WASHINGTON— Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) released the following statement on the third anniversary of the deaths of Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas and Harold Cepero Escalante, who died at the hands of the Castro regime.

“Today, we remember Cuban pro-democracy activists Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas and Harold Cepero Escalante who died at the hands of Castros’ thugs three years ago today. 

“Prior to their deaths, Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero, both of the Christian Liberation Movement, were repeatedly threatened for daring to oppose the repression of the Castro regime.  The eye witness testimony of Spaniard Ángel Carromero, who was driving the car involved in the fatal crash, affirms the Castro regime’s culpability.  The pattern of pro-democracy activist deaths in Cuba during the Obama Administration alone – Orlando Zapata Tamayo (d. Feb. 23, 2010), Juan Wilfredo Soto García (d. May 8, 2011), Laura Pollán (d. October 14, 2011), and Wilman Villar Mendoza (d. January 19, 2012) – is alarming.

“The Payá and Cepero families need answers.  Oswaldo Payá‘s daughter, Rosa Maria Payá Acevedo, bravely asked the UN Human Rights Council for an investigation into the death of her father.  Despite threats against her and her family, she continues the struggle for the Cuban people’s freedom and demands an objective investigation into her father’s death.  However, at Monday’s press conference with representatives of the very regime that killed her father, the U.S. State Department informed Rosa Maria Payá that if she did not stay quiet, she would be escorted from the conference.  Shamefully, the Obama Administration adopted a tactic from the Castro regime’s playbook and became complicit in attempting to silence a pro-democracy activist.  Rosa Maria Payá suffered great personal loss due to the Castro regime’s oppression and brutality.  She deserves better from the Obama Administration and the U.S. State Department.  

“Despite the Obama Administration’s shunning of Cuban pro-democracy activists such as Rosa Maria Payá, my colleagues and I continue to stand with them in their struggle for human rights and democracy.  The Cuban people will win their freedom thanks to their persistence and courage.

“On this solemn day, we remember the sacrifice of activists such as Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero.  My thoughts and prayers are with their families.”