Rosa Maria Paya is a Cuban pro-democracy activist and daughter of assassinated Cuban civic leader Oswaldo Paya.
Founder of the Christian Liberation Movement, recipient of the European Parliament’s prestigious Sakharov Prize and a five-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee, Oswaldo Paya was a leading member of the Cuban opposition and a democracy dissident. Shortly after leading the internationally acclaimed Valera Project – a petition that sought to compel the regime to institute more freedoms and a multi-party democratic system – he was murdered in 2012 alongside his associate in a car accident suspectedly orchestrated by the Castro regime.
Following her father’s murder, Rosa Maria began international advocacy efforts to seek justice and hold the Cuban government accountable for their crimes against her father and the Cuban people at large.
Already a democracy activist since 2009, Rosa Maria was part of the Coordination Team of the Christian Liberation Movement (MCL) and worked as a member of the Redaction Council of Somos Liberación, an MCL publication. In 2015, she founded the international campaign Cuba Decide (Cuba Decides), a citizen initiative that aims to reform Cuba’s political system and rule of law. That same year, she was elected President of the Latin American Network of Young People for Democracy.
Throughout her activism, Paya has appeared before many important international forums, including the United Nations Human Rights Council, the European Parliament, the US Senate, the Organization of American States, the Summit of the Americas and several national parliaments.
In face of the Cuban government’s continued denial of Oswaldo Paya’s murder, Rosa Maria repeatedly called for an independent investigation into her father’s death. In June 2023, the International Human Rights Agency concluded their investigation into the matter, which rendered the Cuban government fully responsible for the murder.