Saturday, January 24, 2015

A question for Roberta Jacobson

A question for Roberta Jacobson / 14ymedio, Clive Rudd Fernandez
Posted on January 23, 2015

14ymedio, Clive Rudd Fernandez, 22 January 2015 — In July of last year,
when I talked to some of the victims of the "Marzo de 13" Tugboat
massacre in the Bay of Havana, I found a list of horrifying statistics.

Two of them would make any halfway decent human being shudder: the
bodies recovered from the sea as a result of the sinking of the boat
were never returned to the families, and there was never an independent
investigation into the massacre in which 41 Cubans lost their lives. Ten
of them were minors.

What was so shocking about these events was not just the impunity of
those who perpetrated the atrocity on Cuban soil, but that what happened
on 13 July 1994 is a pattern that has been repeated almost since the
Revolutionary government took power in 1959.

The violent deaths, on 22 July 2012, of Oswaldo Payá, winner of the
European Parliament's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Throught, and Harold
Cepero, young leader of the Christian Liberation Movement, followed the
same path of an absence of justice and the utter helplessness of the
affected families. Although in this case the bodies were handed over to
the families, neither Payá nor Harold were given an autopsy or an
independent investigation.

With the policy changes of the Obama administration and the Havana
dictatorship, some voices have begun to ask for independent
investigations of the violent deaths, especially where it is known that
the authorities had some participation.

Other think that these kinds of "problems" have to full potential to
point the accusing finger at the face of the government in Havana and
that "this is not the opportune moment to talk about accusations, but
rather the issues that bring both nations closer," like an independent
blogger on the Island told me.

The international media ignores the issue to the same extent. The
saddest thing isn't that they don't emphasize these presumed
assassinations, but rather that the majority of us, Cubans inside and
outside the country, don't consider it one of the most important issues
to address. An independent investigation into the deaths of Osvaldo Payá
and Harold Cepero protects all of us Cubans.

The alleged "accidents" and "careless doctors" who caused the deaths of
Laura Pollán, Oswaldo Payá, Harold Cepero and many other Cubans are the
extrajudicial executioners that hang like the Sword of Damocles over the
heads of all Cubans living on the Island.

Those who dare to dissent and openly criticize the Government have felt
the danger much more closely. Many of them have received death threats
from members of State Security, who act with total impunity, as they
themselves know, without legal consequences.

Last night I heard that Rosa María Payá met Robert Jacobson on a plane,
when the daughter of the Cuban dissident was returning from a short trip
to Washington, where she had the privilege of being the guest of Senator
Marco Rubio at the State of the Union. The Assistant Secretary of State
for Western Hemisphere Affairs was on her way to Havana to meet with
officials from the Cuban Government in one of the meetings between the
two nations at the highest level since the Jimmy Carter administration.

In this short encounter, Rosa María Payá asked whether the investigation
into the death of her father would be on the negotiating table. The
answer, as politically correct as it was evasive, was, "This is always a
point that we can raise*," this is always an issue we can touch on.

Maybe I'm wrong, but judging by the response, the issue of the
unexplained deaths of opponents like Oswaldo Payá and Laura Pollán will
remain unaddressed (for now) and, with them, the fear every Cuban has of
being murdered at any moment, without consequences for the executioners,
nor for those who give the orders.

*In English in the original

Source: A question for Roberta Jacobson / 14ymedio, Clive Rudd Fernandez
| Translating Cuba -

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