On 17 September 2013, UN Watch, together with Liberal International and Directorio Democratico Cubano, hosted an event entitled “Cuba’s UPR: A Shadow Report.”
A view of the panelists
The panelists were:
- OFELIA PAYA ACEVEDO: Widow of the Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya, who died in a suspicious car crash a year ago, leader of the Christian Liberation Movement.
- YRIS TAMARA PEREZ AGUILERA: Human rights defender in Cuba, founder and leader of the Rosa Parks Feminine Civic Rights Movement, a women rights organization in Cuba.
- OSVALDO ALFONSO VALDES: Former prisoner of conscience, Director of Misceláneas de Cuba, published in Sweden in collaboration with independent journalists in Cuba, Vice-President of Union Liberal Cubana and representative of Liberal International.
During the event Susana Rivero Baughman of the Catalan Liberal Party, as well as John Suarez of Directorio Democratico Cubano took the floor.
The panelists described their experiences in fighting for democracy and freedom in Cuba, which often led to their arrest, beating and harassment by the police. The panelists also supported the petition for an International Inquiry into the death of Oswaldo Paya.
During the event, diplomats from Cuba, Venezuela, China, Russia and Ecuador, as well as two NGOs from Cuba took the floor, and tried to intimidate the speakers calling them liars and disputing their testimony. However, the panel answered all the questions convincingly, even when some of the people who asked the questions had left the room before their queries were answered.
The lively debate and the strong emotions during the parallel event only shows the importance of holding such events on human rights in Cuba, with the aim to improve the situation in the island nation.