Paya's curious refusal of Cuban govt. letter

Walter Lippmann walterlx at
Thu Jul 17 16:05:12 MDT 2003

(This message came from a subscriber
to the CubaNews list. It describes some
of what she saw and heard at a meeting
Wednesday in Washington, DC which
was promoting the Varela Project, and
was sponsored by Amnesty International.)

From: "Sue A." <zero at>
To: <CubaNews at>
Sent: Thursday, July 17, 2003 10:25 AM
Subject: Paya's curious refusal of Cuban govt. letter


Interestingly, yesterday on my lunch hour, I and two other
members of the No War on Cuba Movement here in Washington,
DC, attended a screening of the "documentary" called
"Dissident", featuring Oswaldo Paya, hosted by Amnesty

A long commentary by Francisco de Armas, who claimed
to be Paya's Puerto Rican cousin (and an "International
Representative for the Citizens Committee for the Promotion
of the Varela Project,") followed the film.  De Armas is a
person who does not let facts get in the way, as he
repeatedly insisted that the "dissidents" were convicted and
sentenced to prison on the basis of no evidence whatsoever.

But your readers may be interested to know that De Armas
also openly spoke of Paya's elaborate dodges of the
certified letter sent to him by the Cuban government, in
response to the petition.  I had meant to ask why someone
would go to such trouble to avoid receiving a letter, but
confined my remarks to questions about the op-ed attributed
to Paya, which was published Monday in the Los Angeles
Times. The vernacular is firmly in the style of American
op-ed production, with a strong Miami slant, and seems to be
written in the third person, which of course I believe it
was.  The disparity is impossible not to notice when you
compare it side by side with Paya's own style of
presentation, manifest in the film.

The Varela Project clearly has a well-organized
international p.r. machine behind it, and it would be
interesting to know the actual figures of its budget which
de Armas characterized as "very small".  (He still has not
responded to my request for Paya's original op-ed
submission - Paya does not speak English, and no translator
was credited in Monday's op-ed, though de Armas claimed at
yesterday's meeting to have translated it personally. As the
op-ed was a virtual mirror of his own talking points, I have
no doubt that he was involved one way or another.)

De Armas made the representation that the Cuban government
tried repeatedly to deliver its response to Paya via a
certified letter, which Paya refused to receive.  Next, he
said, the government tried to deliver the letter when Paya
was not home, finding instead his 14 year old daughter, who
also refused to sign for it.  Finally, according to de
Armas, the letter was slipped under the door and under the
doors of his neighbors, many copies of it, many different
times, so Paya could not credibly claim not to have seen it.

Of course we all know what happens to people who fail to
retrieve their certified OFAC letters.


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