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2003 Nobel Peace Prize nomination for Oswaldo Payá

2003-10-01 / Roisin Joyce

Cuban dissident Oswaldo Payá was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003 by ICDC member (and former Nobel Peace Prize nominee) Vaclav Havel for his outstanding dedication in the fight for human rights in Cuba.

Mr Payá is the founder of the Christian Liberation Movement and heads the Varela Project, a movement that aims to bring democratic change to Cuba by drawing on a provision in the Cuban constitution enabling citizens to introduce legislation when accompanied by 10,000 signatures. The Project calls for the right to freedom of speech and assembly, the right to form private enterprises, electoral reform and amnesty for political prisoners. The Cuban government rejected the petition drive and subsequently began cracking down on those involved – resulting in the fact that a large number of the 75 political prisoners arrested and sentenced in 2003 were involved with the Varela Project.

During his nomination, he received the full support of ICDC members and hundreds of presidents, politicians and intellectuals from America, Europe and Asia. In addition to recognizing the work of Mr Paya, the nomination also demonstrated support for the entire Varela Project and the Cuban democratic movement, and to raise international awareness of the situaiton in Cuba.

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