To remember the first anniversary of the death of Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas, promoter of the Varela Project in Cuba and recipient of the Sajarov Award to Human Rights by the European Parliament, the Institute Václav Havel of CADAL, organized in the Legislature of the City of Buenos Aires a conference to honor him. The activity was sponsored by the Institute Lech Walesa (Poland), People in Need (Czech Republic), Christian Democrat International Center (Sweden), Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (Germany) and Latin American Network for Democracy in Cuba.
The Opening of the conference was led by Gabriel A. Salvia, General Director of The Center for the Opening and Development of Latin America and compiler of the book “Diplomacy and Human Rights: From the Black Spring to the liberation of political prisoners”.
Then, a video tribute to Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas produced by Zayra Alejandra Moisés was screened. It was based on images made a decade ago by the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, an interview in a media of Argentina and testimonies recorded by CADAL.
Also, it spread videos of Ofelia Acevedo and Rosa María Payá, Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas' widow and daughter respectively recorded specifically for this conference.
Subsequently, Cornelia Schmith-Liermann, Congresswoman of the Argentina, was invited to read a statement issued by "Parliamentarians for democracy in Cuba" that was subscribed with Patricio Walker, Senator of the Republic of Chile.
The jurist Ricardo Manuel Rojas participated as main speaker of the conference to analyze "The Cuban Legal System and the criminal persecution of the promoters of the Varela project". He is author of the book "Los Derechos Fundamentales y el orden jurídico e institucional de Cuba" and judge in the Oral Criminal Court No 18.
Oswaldo Payá was born February 29, 1952 in Cerro, La Habana. He is the fifth of 7 brothers. Oswaldo never belonged to communist youth, to Partido Comunista, was neither pioneer. His exile was the Catholic Church.
At age 16, he made the compulsory military service. Once completed the service, he returned to the life of parish. He is member of Grupo Juvenil, Catequista and member of Consejo Parroquial. He studied at the Universidad de La Habana (ISPJAE) and he graduated in Telecommunications Engineering. Since then, he works as specialist in medical equipment.
In 1987, and after several years in the ecclesial service, he founds the Movimiento Cristiano Liberación. Being national coordinator of MCL, Oswaldo makes a call to a national change and a Proclamation of MCL. For this reason, in 1990 the police stopped and threatened him that if he continues with his civic and peaceful fight, he will face several years in prison. Two years later, he would try to run as a Delegate to the National Assembly which was completely rejected by the authorities.
In 1995, he participates as one of the five organizers of Cuban Council and in 1999, he participates in drafting the manifesto Todos Unidos.
Between 1996 and 1997, he drafted along to others members of MCL the Varela Project. This project would be presented alongside 11.000 signatures of support to the National Assembly of Popular Power. The project promoted a plebiscite to ask for freedom of the press, freedom Association, Amnesty for Political prisoners and free elections. For this project, he has an interview in La Habana with the former President, who expressed his support to Varela Project in public.
He has been several times candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize and he has received a lot of international awards like the Andrei Sajarov Award to Human Rights awarded by the European Parliament.
In 2012, year in which he also was nominated to Nobel Peace Prize, he died on July 22 in a dubious car accident in the City of Granma.