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anglophone North Americans have little insight into the disturbing repression of Castroist Cuba. The information isnt generally available in English. We know the party island with the colorful revolutionary past, and don't see the cynicism of the Cuban oligarchy who.live comforably while 80% of the counyry is disenfranchised, hungry and oppressed. This biography takes a Western reader into the moral reality of daily existence in a system whose citizens have few rights & few alternatives. It is for this reason Paya's courage is remarkable, and it is for this reason he was killed. The events of his life and death are a case study in the necessity of resisting totalitarianism in order simply to live with integrity and authenticity. Oswaldo Paya's name is not known outside of Cuba, but his life is an expression of the human thirst for freedom.and self-determination. In Cuba today, Paya's murder marked the end of hope for social improvement and the end of organized opposition. And yet...as the July 11th demonsrations showed, courage is a Cuban virtue that sprputs anew inneach generation. Psya's legacy continues.
David E. Hoffman's book on Cuban dissident and human-rights activist Oswaldo Payá is outstanding. The title of the book "Give Me Liberty" fits perfectly the famous quote from Patrick Henry: "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death." The Communist regime in Cuba has oppressed Cubans for over sixty years, and it continues to rely on the empty slogan of "Patria o Muerte" or "Homeland or Death." Payá invoked a clause from the 1940 and 1976 Cuban Constitutions to bring about a peaceful transition via dialogue with all parties involved. His error was in thinking that communist rulers believed in democratic negotiations to cede power. To them, what matters is the perpetuity of communism. Constitutions are only useful to them when they help to enslave the citizens and silence their voices! We saw this when Fidel ceded power to Raul in 2008, and when Raul did the same with Miguel Diaz-Canel in 2018. The only thing that changed in these transitions were the players. While Payá recognized that his initiatives lacked the support of most Cuban-Americans, history has proved that they were right. The majority of Cuban-Americans believe in a famous quote by American abolitionist Frederick Douglass: "“Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground.” I think that it was a brilliant idea by author Hoffman to provide a history of republican Cuba in the first chapters of this book. His 30,000-foot view was helpful to those wanting to know more about the short republican period of Cuba from 1902 to 1959 -- a shorter period than the one where Cuba has been under the communist yoke for the last 63 years! While I highly respect Payá's initiatives to restore democracy to Communist Cuba, Communist Cuba gave him death! The Spanish Government authorities failed to launch an investigation of his death even after the driver of the car was a Spaniard (Carromero) and revealed that the car was pushed off the main road by a Cuban Security squad-car. The book was great! Now, we need an investigation of his death and that of Lady in White leader Laura Pollán.
Give me liberty es la biografía de Oswaldo Payá, el opositor cubano laureado con el Premio Sajarov y nominado al Nobel de la Paz en varias ocasiones. David E Hoffman hace una profunda investigación sobre su vida y los antecedentes de la historia de Cuba que llevaron a Oswaldo a enfrentar una dictadura feroz en busca de la libertad de los cubanos, lo cual pagó con su vida. El libro que, en el decir de Vargas Llosa, se lee como una novela (y es cierto), presenta la historia cubana en la etapa de la República, como surgió la Constitución del 40, una de las más avanzadas de su época, el devenir de Fidel Castro y su llegada al poder, traicionando todo lo traicionable y convirtiéndose en un tirano que llevó al país a la miseria y la falta de libertad absoluta. Y cómo este hombre sencillo, católico, de ideas claras y firmes, lo enfrentó. Creo que es un muy buen libro, recomendable para todos los que quieran acercarse a estos hechos. Sólo haría una petición: creo que merece ser traducido y publicado en español para que pueda llegar al mayor número de cubanos e iberoamericanos, que no dominen el inglés. Porque Oswaldo Payá es una figura iluminadora para la realidad de lo que sigue siendo Cuba e Iberoamérica, y este libro es un magnífico acercamiento a su persona y su vida.
It's said that the moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice. If so, Cuba has been the outlier. Poorly governed since 1492, the island has been dystopian since the 1959 Revolution.
Fidel Castro was Cuba's Henry VIII. Instead of Rome, he cut Cuba off from the United States, but instead that being a blow for sovereignty, like in Henry's case, it was simply a means to take and keep total power as the undisputed dictator of the island. Mr. Hoffman has done a terrific job of summarizing Cuba's post 1898 history and then profiling the story's David (Oswaldo Paya) and Goliath (F. Castro).
The Catholic Church does not come well with a near Quisling-like Archbishop Jaime Ortega toadying up to the regime, as sadly Pope Francis does today.
If demography is destiny, Cuba is losing the future as its young people rightfully despair and leave the island whatever the risks. After all, look at what courage got Mr. Paya.
The contents of this beautiful book should be a lesson to learn for those who think that the small group in control of Cuba is not a dictatorship. Definitely they hate the cuban people because of their silent resistance!!