From Email received by Mr. Paya’s organization.
Once again, the Cuban government has violated my right to leave and return to Cuba . I was invited, along with my wife Ofelia, by the President of the European Parliament Mr. Hans-Gert Pöttering to participate in the commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of the Sakharov Prize from December 16-17 in Strasbourg France.
All of the documents, including Cuban passports, visas and others required by government regulations to authorize the visit, as well as the flight reservations, were arranged as stipulated by the Cuban government.
Again, the Cuban government has not wanted to accept the invitation or to grant us the “Carte Blanche” (exit permit), through which they control citizens’ right to travel outside of Cuba . Last year, on December 20th, we presented the People’s Assembly with a petition from the citizens, called the LAW OF NATIONAL REUNION, in which we demanded, and now we reiterate, the right for Cubans to travel freely.
As your servant, I, along with my wife Ofelia, thank the members of the European Parliament for this invitation in deference to the prize awarded to me and which we accepted in the name of the Cuban people in 2002. We regret not being able to accompany you on such a special occasion.
We also wanted to congratulate my fellow activist Hu Jia, winner of the Sakharov Prize 2008, and to manifest our solidarity with other laureates, such as Aung San Suu Kyi and my compatriots the Ladies in White, who are also prohibited from travel. If the European Union and its Member Governments, led by the Spanish government, continue to reduce the demands for respect for human rights in Cuba and, under the cover of dialogue, continue to distance themselves from those who defend human rights, this will only serve to cover up and justify successive violations of the rights of the Cuban people. Violations which have increased in the past few months with a fierce persecution against Varela Project activists, other members of the opposition, and the ongoing scandal of not freeing the prisoners of conscience.
MAY ALL OF THE SAKHAROV LAUREATES WORK TOWARDS FREEDOM OF CONSCIENCE AND TOWARDS RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS AROUND THE WORLD.
Oswaldo J. Paya Sardinas
Sakharov Prize Winner 2002
Havana . December 13, 2008
Christian Liberation Movement