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English/ Español: Rubio Joins Senate Colleagues in Reintroducing Bipartisan Legislation Honoring the Legacy of Cuban Dissident Oswaldo Payá

Jul 22, 2020 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. — On the eighth anniversary of the violent death of Cuban dissident Oswaldo Payá by the Castro regime in Cuba, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Dick Durbin (D-IL) in reintroducing legislation to rename the street outside of the Cuban Embassy in Washington, D.C. as “Oswaldo Payá Way.”

An early critic of the Castro regime, Payá founded the Christian Liberation Movement (Movimiento Cristiano Liberación, or MLC for its initials in Spanish) in 1988 to promote democracy and civil liberties through non-violent resistance. A decade later, the organization established the Varela Project, which sought to advance democratic reforms by exploiting a provision in the Cuban Constitution allowing the public to introduce legislation.

“Oswaldo Payá paid the ultimate price for having the courage to defend democratic principles and speak out against the communist dictatorship in his beloved Cuba,” Rubio said. “As we commemorate the eighth anniversary of Payá’s assassination, I’m proud to join my colleagues and reintroduce this important bill. By renaming the street in front of the Cuban embassy in our nation’s capital as Oswaldo Payá Way,’ Americans will honor this martyr’s life, and also remind those who seek freedom and oppose democratic values in Washington, D.C. of Payá’s everlasting legacy.”

“Oswaldo Payá dedicated his life to fighting for the Cuban people against the evils of communism that have for too long stood in the way of freedom and democracy in Cuba,” Cruz said. “On many occasions, I have had the honor of meeting with Oswaldo Payá’s daughter, Rosa María Payá. As an outspoken dissident, Rosa María – like so many freedom-loving Cubans – continues to live out her father’s legacy of courage and conviction by unapologetically denouncing communism and calling for freedom to be restored in Cuba. I’m proud to honor Oswaldo Payá today by reintroducing this bipartisan measure and will continue to stand strong with the people of Cuba as they continue to combat the violence and oppression under the Communist rule of Raúl Castro and his successor, Miguel Díaz Canel.” 

“As we continue demanding answers and justice for Oswaldo Payá’s tragic and suspicious murder, I am proud to join my colleagues in honoring the memory of one of the most visible faces and leaders of Cuba’s peaceful opposition movement,” Menendez said. “As I told Oswaldo Payá’s daughter, Rosa Maria, I am committed to using the power of my voice and office to ensure the world does not forget the legacy of her father. His dream will one day become a reality and there will be freedom and democracy in Cuba. Until then, we will continue to honor and support the courageous dissidents fighting the good fight for real, honest, and political change free from the yoke of the Cuban regime.”

“Oswaldo Payá was a courageous voice for justice and democracy in Cuba, and his suspicious death was a tragic blow to progress on the island. I have long called for an impartial investigation into his death and this resolution honors his life and legacy,” Durbin said. “I continue to stand with the Payá family and the people of Cuba in demanding peaceful democratic reform and the release of all political prisoners.”


  • July 19, 2017: Rubio, colleagues introduce resolution honoring late Cuban dissident Oswaldo Payá.
  • March 8, 2017: Cruz, Rubio, Menendez introduce bill renaming street in front of Cuban Embassy in honor of murdered dissident.
  • January 19, 2015: Rubio announces Rosa María Payá, daughter of slain Cuban democracy leader Oswaldo Payá, as his guest for the State of the Union.
  • July 22, 2014: ICYMI: Rubio remembers Castro regime victims Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero
  • April 10, 2013: Senators meet with Rosa Maria Payá to discuss democracy in Cuba.
  • March 25, 2013: Rubio & colleagues urge Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to investigate death of Cuban activist Oswaldo Payá.
  • August 2, 2012: Rubio discusses Oswaldo Payá’s death with Telemundo Miami.
  • August 1, 2012: U.S. Senate passes Rubio resolution (S.Res.525) honoring the life of Cuban dissident Oswaldo Payá, calling for an impartial third party investigation into death 
  • July 23, 2012: Senator Rubio mourns the loss of Cuban dissident Oswaldo Payá.

Rubio is the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Western Hemisphere, Transnational Crime, Civilian Security, Democracy, Human Rights, and Global Women’s Issues. 


Washington, D.C. — En el octavo aniversario de la muerte violenta del disidente cubano Oswaldo Payá a manos del régimen de los Castro en Cuba, el senador estadounidense Marco Rubio (R-FL) se unió a los senadores Ted Cruz (R-TX), Bob Menéndez (D-NJ) y Dick Durbin (D-IL) volviendo a presentar una legislación para cambiar el nombre de la calle al frente de la Embajada de Cuba en Washington, D.C. como la Oswaldo Payá Way.

Uno de los primeros críticos del régimen de los Castro, en 1988 Payá fundó el Movimiento Cristiano de Liberación (MCL, por sus siglas en español) para promover la democracia y las libertades civiles a través de la resistencia pacífica. Una década después, la organización creó el Proyecto Varela, que buscaba avanzar en las reformas democráticas bajo una disposición de la Constitución cubana que permitía al público introducir legislación.

“Oswaldo Payá pagó con su vida el tener el coraje de defender los principios democráticos y denunciar a la dictadura comunista en su amada Cuba”, Rubio dijo. “Al conmemorar el octavo aniversario del asesinato de Payá, me enorgullece unirme a mis colegas y volver a presentar este importante proyecto de ley. Al nombrar la calle frente a la embajada de Cuba en nuestra capital como la ‘Oswaldo Payá Way’, los estadounidenses honrarán la vida de este mártir y también les recordarán a quienes buscan la libertad y se oponen a los valores democráticos en Washington, DC, el legado eterno de Payá”.


  • 19 de julio del 2017: Rubio y colegas presentan una resolución en honor al difunto disidente cubano Oswaldo Payá.
  • 8 de marzo del 2017: Cruz, Rubio, Menéndez presentan un proyecto de ley para nombrar la calle al frente de la embajada de Cuba en honor a disidente asesinado.
  • 19 de enero del 2015: Rubio anuncia que Rosa María Payá, hija del asesinado líder Oswaldo Payá, será su invitada al discurso del Estado de la Unión.
  • 22 de julio del 2014: Rubio honra a las víctimas del régimen de los Castro, Oswaldo Payá y Harold Cepero.
  • 10 de abril del 2013: Senadores se reúnen con Rosa María Payá para discutir la democracia en Cuba.
  • 25 de marzo del 2013: Rubio y sus colegas instan a la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CIDH) a investigar la muerte del activista cubano Oswaldo Payá.
  • 2 de agosto del 2012: Rubio habla sobre la muerte de Oswaldo Payá con Telemundo Miami.
  • 1ero de agosto del 2012: Senado aprueba resolución de Rubio (S.Res.525) que honra la vida del disidente cubano Oswaldo Payá, y pide una investigación imparcial sobre su muerte.
  • 23 de julio del 2012: Rubio lamenta la muerte del disidente cubano Oswaldo Payá.

Rubio es el presidente del Subcomité de Relaciones Exteriores para el Hemisferio Occidental, Delincuencia Transnacional, Seguridad Civil, Democracia, Derechos Humanos y Asuntos Globales de la Mujer.