March 18 marks the seventh anniversary of the beginning of the Black Spring where 75 Cuban dissidents were arrested for their struggle for human rights.
Dagrun Eriksen, deputy leader of the Norwegian Christian Democrats (KrF), has nominated Oswaldo Payá, the most prominent leader of this struggle, for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.
“The Nobel Prize to Payá would be a significant contribution to a peaceful transition to democracy in Cuba”, says deputy leader of KrF Dagrun Eriksen.
Cuba has a long history of violent regime changes. Today’s regime is getting more and more unpopular, and many fear that it might end in a bloody rebellion. Oswaldo Payá has, with a clear message of non-violence, through many years been Cuba’s most prominent dissident in a peaceful struggle for human rights.
Oswaldo Payá has succeeded in gathering different groups off dissidents in dialogue and peaceful resistance. He has consistently tried to work within the frames of Cuban law. From 1996 he has led the work on petitions in support of fundamental human rights, with reference to the Cuban constitution that guarantees that 10 000 signatures should set off a referendum. In spite of strong resistance from the government, they succeeded in this work. The government’s response however, was to arrest 75 oppositional leaders in what became known as the Black Spring of 2003.
Payá has taken the initiative to a “National Dialogue” in which over 12 000 Cubans have participated in discussion groups on visions for the future of Cuba. The suggestions were gathered in a “Program for All Cubans”, which Payá presented in 2006 as a basis for a peaceful transition to democracy. In January 2010 Payá released the ALL CUBANS FORUM, inviting all the Cuban society, within Cuba and abroad, to present proposals for a peaceful change towards democracy.
The Nobel Peace Prize to Oswaldo Payá will be a strong contribution to peace and democracy in a country where the people has been denied their fundamental human rights for far too long. Oswaldo Payá represents all Cubans who want a peaceful change based on reconciliation and dialogue. Such a prize will also give inspiration to peaceful human rights defenders all over the world, says Dagrun Eriksen.