The Lantos Foundation joins countless others in mourning the tragic death of Oswaldo Paya, one of Cuba’s foremost human rights leaders. Paya, a devout Roman Catholic, drew strength from his faith as he relentlessly pressed for democratic change in his homeland for over three decades. He was one of the chief organizers of the Varela Project, a peaceful grass roots petition drive that was the single largest challenge to the repressive decades long rule of Fidel Castro. He was also an original founder of the Christian Liberation Movement which emphasized non-violent civic action. Congressman Lantos was a great admirer of Oswaldo Paya and considered him to be one of the true heroes of democracy in the Western hemisphere.
Questions have been raised about the death of Paya in a car accident in La Gavina, near the eastern city of Bayamo. There are allegations that his car may have been pushed off the road and there have been numerous calls for an independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding his death.
Katrina Lantos Swett, President of the Lantos Foundation said;
“The Lantos Foundation concurs with those who have asked that there be a free and independent accounting of the events that led to the untimely death of this great man. The world is poorer today for the loss of a man of such integrity, courage, and faith but no doubt heaven has been made richer by the arrival of Oswaldo Paya. May his work for a free, democratic and peaceful Cuba continue with renewed strength in honor of his memory”.