On Wednesday, July 22, 2020, for almost 12 hours, the Fundación para la Democracia Panamericana (FDP) and the Cuba Decide citizen initiative led by Rosa María Payá, held a day-long digital tribute, in real time, to honor the martyrs of Cuban democracy, Harold Cepero (1980-2012) and Oswaldo Payá (1952-2012), both assassinated on Cuba on Sunday, July 22, 2012, by State Security agents who were serving the criminal extrajudicial sentence of the Cuban government.
Throughout the day, among other activities of a solemn, religious nature, etc., several thematic panels were organized on the figure and work of Oswaldo Payá, such as “On the way of the hero” (with the former Spanish MP from Unión Progreso and Democracia, Rosa Diez); “Memory and identity: the victims of communism in Latin America and the role of today’s parliamentarians” (with Mexican, Colombian, Guatemalan and Uruguayan parliamentarians); “The root of evil in Latin America according to its leaders” (with the Secretary General of the Organization of American States Luis Almagro, the Spanish MEP Hermann Tertscht, and the former President of the Chilean Senate Patricio Walker); “Anatomy of an attack” (with the lawyer Álvaro Piaggio of the Human Rights Foundation); “The night will not be eternal” (with Asdrúbal Aguiar and the exiled Cuban writer Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo); and, in the English language, “The Legacy of Oswaldo Payá, a Cuban Martyr” (with the director of the National Endowment for Democracy Carl Gershman, the winner of the Pulitzer Prize David Hoffman, and the former Czech ambassador Martin Palaus).
The tribute culminated with a mass in the church of San Raymond de Peñafort in Miami; were all local health and safety guidelines were followed. In addition to physical attendance of the mass by close friends and family, which included the three children of Oswaldo Payá and his widow Ofelia Acevedo, the service was also broadcasted live.
Harold Cepero and Oswaldo Payá are examples of a life lived in truth, and that light of freedom is increasingly an inspiration for the new generations of Cubans, inside and outside the Island. They are the ones who will, sooner rather than later, inspire true changes through a transition to democracy, with full citizen participation and respect for the full dignity of the human person.