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Secretary General´s Statement on Oswaldo Paya Prize

  March 8, 2018

Freedom is idea and action, it is our essential human right without which the right to life has no meaning and completely loses its dignity.

Freedom gives us the possibility of political dissent, which is the very essence of the working of a society and a basic right for the construction of a political system. The Cuban regime has robbed its country, its society and its citizens of the basic principle of Martí: the greatness of peoples depends upon the independence of individuals.

Today, at the Oswaldo Payá Award ceremony, IDEA International has been recognized for its unceasing work for democracy in the region. It is a fair and deserved tribute to IDEA, who was going to be represented by the ex Presidents Andrés Pastrana and Jorge Quiroga; but more than that, much more, it is a tribute to a free Cuban, whose life was marked by opposition to totalitarianism and the search for a future of peace in which values that we take as guaranteed, like democracy and human rights, are a reality for the millions of Cubans who live in their country. This commitment to achieve freedom of conscience and the search for wellbeing for millions of Cubans was the reason for which he gave his life. Literally.

There is nothing mystical about hate, or the lack of freedoms, or imposed misery.

But there is a future for Cubans that they have been able to achieve in other countries where, due to their wonderful talent and ability, they have become the essence of the vigor and development of these societies. We are sure that all Cubans will be able to build this in their own country once they are free to decide their political, economic, and social destiny.

The worst kind of interventionism that exists in the international community is giving impunity to a dictatorship.

To silence the voice of the people, to stop them from deciding their own future is neither revolutionary nor leftist. Revolutionaries that our history has taught us - whether Artigas or Martí - fought to return to the sovereign its voice and power.

The left that is a point of reference, for me, is the one that faced dictatorships demanding the rights of the people.

Reference: S-007/18