Sen. Cruz Leads Push to Secure Senate Passage of Bill Renaming Street Outside Cuban Embassy After Dissident Oswaldo Payá
The bipartisan measure honors the Cuban dissident leader assassinated by the Cuban regime
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today applauded the Senate's passage of his bipartisan bill to rename the street outside of the Cuban embassy in Washington, D.C., ‘Oswaldo Payá Way,' after the Cuban dissident. Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), and Rick Scott (R-Fla.) cosponsored the bill upon introduction in June.
Upon passage, Sen. Cruz said:
"The bipartisan support we saw today in the Senate for renaming the street outside the Cuban embassy after Oswaldo Payá has been years in the making. Renaming this street ‘Oswaldo Payá Way' is a small but meaningful step that will force everyone visiting or writing to the embassy to remember not only Payá, but all those who have contested the cruelty and oppression of the communist Cuban government.
"Generations of Cuban people have been oppressed by their tyrannical communist government, including members of my own family, and no one represents their plight better than Oswaldo Payá. Payá courageously fought for freedom and democracy in the face of the Castro regime's brutal human rights abuses. Because of his fight, the Cuban regime desperately wants the world to forget about Oswaldo Payá. Rosa Maria Payá and I have fought for years to honor her father's memory properly, and I look forward to immortalizing his legacy for all the world to see that the United Stated stands squarely and unequivocally on the side of freedom. I believe that through the tireless fight of Cuban dissidents like Oswaldo Payá, the world will someday see a Cuba Libre."
Sen. Cardin said:
"The name of Oswaldo Paya, who died while peacefully working to promote constitutional democracy in Cuba, will never be forgotten in Cuba. This measure will ensure that Americans also will learn of Paya's courage and the sacrifice he made for the people of Cuba."
Sen. Rubio said:
"By renaming the street across from the Cuban Embassy as Oswaldo Payá Way, we are paying tribute to the life and legacy of one of the island's most important civic leaders who paid the ultimate price in defense of the island's democratic future. Following the historic protests led by Cuban Americans in front of the regime's Embassy in our nation's capital this past Monday, another symbol of the Cuban people's tenacity in their quest for freedom will be engraved for eternity. I thank my Senate colleagues for passing this bill."
Sen. Scott added:
"I'm honored my colleagues joined us today to commemorate Oswaldo Payá and stand with the freedom fighters in Cuba. Payá's legacy lives on through the unrelenting strength of his daughter, Rosa Maria Payá, and all those courageously working to liberate Cuba from Castro-Communism. ‘Oswaldo Payá Way' will serve as a tribute to the courageous Cuban people standing up to put an end to the atrocities and oppression of the Castro regime, and a reminder the United States will not abandon the people of Cuba in their fight for freedom, democracy, patria y vida."
An outspoken activist for free speech, democracy, and human rights, Payá died in a suspicious car crash on July 22, 2012. While the Castro regime maintains Payá's death was an accident, Payá's family and the driver involved in the crash claim another car forced them off the road. The Cuban government has steadfastly refused to allow an independent investigation of the troubling death of one of its noted citizens. In light of these suspicious circumstances, Sen. Cruz has served as an advocate calling for the Cuban government to release the truth of the circumstances surrounding Payá's death.
Sen. Cruz has long fought to honor the legacy of Oswaldo Payá and has led this bipartisan effort to rename the street in front of the Cuban Embassy since 2015. Sen. Cruz has worked closely with Payá's daughter, Rosa María, to continue her father's legacy and the fight for democracy for all freedom-loving Cubans oppressed by the Castro regime, and in November of 2019, met with her on National Victims of Communism Day to call for freedom and democracy to be restored to Cuba. Sen. Cruz also joined a bipartisan resolution, which passed the Senate in April of 2018, honoring the legacy of Oswaldo Payá and calling for an impartial investigation into the circumstances surrounding his death. In July, Sen. Cruz and a bipartisan group of his Senate colleagues sent a letter to Tania Reneaum Panszi, newly appointed Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. Together they urged the commission to advance its efforts on his case without further delay.