Rosa Maria Paya’s Remarks at 2013 Democracy Award

Receiving the 2013 Democracy Award for Harold Cepero.

It’s my greatest honor to receive this prize on behalf of Harold Cepero, especially because I know that I shouldn’t be here. The one who should be here is Harold, receiving all your smiles and all these honors. Harold lived with the peace of a man who acted accordingly with the commands that he heard and trusted in God. He gave his life doing what he decided to do, and he decided to pursue his happiness and the happiness of the people around him by trying to give the people human rights and an environment of peace and freedom.

I would like that this recognition could be used to channel all this solidarity not just to remember Harold, but also to act in favor of the things that Harold was working for: to act in favor of democracy in Cuba, in favor of the demands of the Cuban people that are very clear, in favor of the demand for a plebiscite in my country, and also in favor of the implementation of an international investigation to really know what happened with my father and with Harold. Not just because Harold’s family, my family, and our friends deserve the truth, but also because we want to stop these kinds of acts that are taking place in Cuba. We need to stop this repression.

I’m sure that Harold would also receive this prize as a recognition of the rights of all Cubans to live in a free country. I’m sure that Harold Cepero would receive this prize on behalf of his partners in the opposition movement. Not just the youngest ones, but especially the young people because he was always the one who delivered his complete time to speak and to explain to young people why they should be pursuing freedom and happiness in a way that they could choose.

So I’m pleased to receive this prize on behalf of Harold Cepero, as a recognition of his life, a recognition of his bravery, and as a recognition of the rights that the Cuban people have. Thank you very much.