The late Cuban opposition leader Oswaldo Payá, whose death occurred ten years ago, since Thursday a street in Miami (Florida) has been named to honor the legacy of “a man who lived and died for the ideal of a free Cuba.”
The word “assassination” was used to refer to Payá’s death by all the speakers at the ceremony that preceded the placement of the plaque with the legend “Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas Way” on LeJeune Avenue, between 11th and 14th Streets in northwest Miami.
His daughter, Rosa María Payá, said that her father, founder of the Christian Liberation Movement and promoter of the Varela Project that sought to hold a referendum on the island, was assassinated by “a regime that in its weakness —she said — has no other resources than violence and terror.”
The daughter of the late opposition leader linked the peaceful protests that erupted in Cuba on July 11, 2021, with her father’s legacy. She said he “dedicated his life to change” the communist political system that has reigned on the island since 1959.
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“The system has not changed, but the Cuban people have,” she said about the protests and assured, paraphrasing his father, that the “night will not be eternal,” and Cubans will live their liberation.
The dedication of Payá’s name to a Miami street was an initiative of the Miami City Council and Miami-Dade County authorities that received the support of the Florida Congress.
The street naming ceremony was attended, among others, by Florida Republican Congresswoman Maria Elvira Salazar, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez, city and county officials, and the family of the late founder of the opposition Christian Liberation Movement and Promoter of the Varela Project, as well as leaders of exile groups.
Another attendee at the ceremony was the father of Harold Cepero, the young activist who died alongside Payá on July 22, 2012, in what Cuban authorities believe was a car accident.
The driver of the car, conservative Spanish politician Angel Carromero, was accused by the Cuban justice system of reckless driving and was imprisoned in Cuba. Still, due to an agreement between governments, he did not serve his entire sentence on the island.
“For me, they were martyrs,” Amilcar Cepero, Harold’s father and now a Missouri resident, told EFE having tears in his eyes.
Congresswoman Salazar presented the Payá family —which was represented by his widow, Ofelia Acevedo, and one of their sons—with a U.S. Congressional recognition of the opposition leader.
In addition, a letter from Senator Marco Rubio to the Payá family was read during the ceremony.