Rosa Maria Payá and other victims of communism from Cuban, Venezuelan and Nicaraguan background gathered at the Florida State Legislature to support HB 1553 which recognizes November 7 as “Victims of Communism Day.” The bill also requires high school students to receive at least 45 minutes of instruction on topics such as Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution, or other communist regimes, and how victims suffered under these regimes through suppression of speech, poverty, starvation, migration, and systemic lethal violence against civilians. About the bill, Payá states: “young people in the [United States] must know. Communism abolishes rights and opportunities and is the creator of the most ruthless of poverties.”
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This article was originally published by Débora Alatriste in The Epoch Times en Español
*Please note this is an unofficial, independent translation not associated with The Epoch Times.*
Cuban activist Rosa María Payá states it is important that young people in the United States and Latin America know the consequences that communism has brought to the different countries where it has been implemented.
Payá—along with other opponents of the regimes of Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua—have backed a bill in Florida that would make it mandatory to teach about the negative effects of communism in public schools, and declare November 7 a day to remember their victims.
“It is very important that the new generations know the terrible consequences of communism, especially young people who were not alive during the existence of the socialist bloc or who have not heard the reality about the horrors—those who have been shot, political prisoners, hunger in Cuba,” said Rosa María Payá, a renowned Cuban activist on human rights and democracy, in an interview with NTD, an associate media member of The Epoch Times.
The bill was the initiative of the Victims of Communism Foundation (VOC) and presented by Representative Ardian Zika (R-Fla.) to create a video library of “patriotism portraits” that collect the testimonies of individuals who are examples for the civic education of students, including people who have come to this country in search of democracy and freedom.
“I hope that soon all Schools in Florida will teach about the reality of these events, about the deadly consequences of these last 100 years of communism’s existence for the whole world, and that this knowledge of history will also serve to strengthen democratic culture in the U.S. and the rest of the Americas,” Payá added.
The project was presented on March 3 in the Florida state legislature and its sponsors are Rep. Chris Sprowls and Senator Anna Maria Rodriguez. The Cuban activist said the proposal was already unanimously approved on the first committee after hearing testimonies, and now she hopes it will also be approved in the second committee and in the Senate.
Payá, who is also president of the Latin American Youth Network for Democracy, explained that in countries where dictatorships govern, young people have been subjected to propaganda; however, younger generations of other nations are not exempt from this influence.
“[Regimes] have turned Cuban killers, as in the case of Mr. Che Guevara, into idols of world youth.”
“Youth that are unaware of the horrors that people like Ernesto Guevara and others who are in charge —right now the Cuban Communist Party and at that time the 26th of July Movement—have committed within the island,” he added.
Payá warned that communism is being “sold” to youth as “an emancipating phenomenon.”
“The reality is that where communism is in power, totalitarian power has always been made, abolishing all freedoms and transforming most societies into extreme poverty [as well as] those who are not part of that totalitarian power ”, he added.
The favorable view of the term “socialism” in Americans of generation Z (between the age of 11 and 27) increased from 40% in 2019, to 49% in 2020. While 35% of millennials and 31% of generation Z support the gradual elimination of the capitalist system in favor of a more socialist system, according to an October 2020 VOC report.
The activist stressed that young people would benefit greatly from knowing the reality of communism, which is “fact-based.”
“These facts are the only ones that can strengthen the choices we make as a people, and so not just (…) to preserve our freedom in the United States, but also in the rest of the Americas.”
Source: The Epoch Times in Spanish