EspañolThe inaugural Ibero-American Youth Parliament began on Wednesday in Zaragoza, Spain. Three Latin-American ex-presidents offered their presence, to support the debates of “los pinos nuevos” (today’s generation, as characterized by José Martí). The discourse addressed the many challenges of our region, blessed with a diversity of natural and cultural riches but unjustly punished with insecurity, inequality, and, for the past 15 years, a treacherous expansion of antidemocratic thought.
I had the opportunity to address the parliament’s young representatives, and reflect with them on their role: are we young political leaders of Ibero-America supporting democracy in our region; are we actively working to preserve our liberties, and to establish those we lack? Or is our language and solidarity with those who suffer under the oppression of totalitarianism, the injustices of dictators, cut short by our positions on the political spectrum, and therefore do we fail to be more than symbolic?
My father, Oswaldo Payá, used to say that “rights are not a matter of political ideology, nor do dictatorships have a political ideology.”
Effective international solidarity, from governments and legislatures, is critical — not only to promote a transition to democracy in our region’s most critical cases, but to aid freedom and common progress for all Ibero-America. If anything has demonstrated the capacity for Cuban totalitarianism to pervert and damage the rule of law in her sister nations, Venezuela is a sad example.
I invite you to support the right of Cubans to decide, through their civil-society and government organizations, to execute a plebiscite — for the realization of free and plural elections on the island, for the first time in more than 60 years. Let us also work for the liberation of political prisoners in Cuba and Venezuela, and an end to violence against our allies who speak out against totalitarian systems and are labelled as dissidents.
Each act of repression must face consequences from a united international community. For this reason, we are conducting an investigation into the attack that took the lives of my father and the young Harold Cepero. We must put a stop to the impunity.
May the Lord be with these young people and all Ibero-American politicians, that their work be a service for the citizens and for the progress of us all.