Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart

Representing the 25th District of FLORIDA

On Eve of Ceremony to Give Oswaldo Paya Award, Castro Regime Attempts to Silence Dissent

Feb 21, 2017
Press Release

MIAMI – Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25) released the following statement one day before the “Liberty and Life” award is to be given to the Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS) Luis Alamgro, and posthumously to former Chilean President Patricio Aylwin.

“I commend the Secretary General of the OAS, the Honorable Luis Almagro, for agreeing to accept personally the first ‘Liberty and Life’ award in Havana on February 22, 2017.  The creation of this award by youth groups testifies to the vitality, determination, and ingenuity of Cuba’s pro-democracy movement. Oswaldo Paya left the Cuban people a remarkable legacy through his courageous daughter Rosa Maria Paya and the growing movement that continues in his name. The regime’s violent attempt to silence him and end his mission have only amplified his message and strengthened the determination of Cuba’s freedom advocates. 

“Reports indicate that the Castro regime will take drastic measures to prevent this pro-democracy event from taking place.  According to reports, former Chilean parliamentarian and former minister of foreign affairs Mariana Aylwin was prevented from entering Cuba to accept the award on behalf of her late father; former President of Mexico Felipe Calderon was also prevented from traveling to the island; and Cuban activists Julio Alvarez and Felix Fara were arrested.  The Castro regime’s malevolent totalitarianism, prohibiting all forms of dissent, has not changed.”