Rosa María Payá

Rosa María Payá

Founder, Cuba Decide

Rosa María Payá Acevedo is a Cuban democracy activist and human rights

defender. In 2015, she founded the citizen initiative Cuba Decide, a movement in

favor of changing the political and economic systems in Cuba towards democracy,

through a plebiscite. She is the daughter of the late Oswaldo Payá, the recipient of

the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize and two-time nominee of the Nobel

Peace Prize, who was killed by the regime in 2012. Rosa María is a graduate of

Physics at the University of Havana and of the Global Competitive Leadership

program at Georgetown University. She has been a lecturer and guest of honor at

various universities throughout the United States and Latin America, as well as at

the UN, the Concordia Summit of the Americas, the Freedom Forum, the US

Congress, and multiple parliaments in Europe and the Americas.


In 2020, she was the recipient of the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute

(CHLI) Ileana Ros-Lehtinen International Leadership Award for her global advocacy

and leadership. In 2019 she was the winner of the Morris Abram Human Rights

Award granted by UN Watch. She has also been granted the Casa Cuba Award in

Tampa, Florida, and with the Keys of the City of Miami, a city that has established

an annual day in honor of this Cuban activist and that, thanks to the work of Cuba

Decide platform, has declared July 22 as the Day of Victims of Communism in

America. In 2013, she was selected as one of the “25 most powerful women”

according to People en Español magazine.


She is the Honorary President of the Latin American Youth Network for Democracy,

an organization with which she established, in collaboration with the Pan American

Democracy Foundation, the Oswaldo Payá Prize “Libertad y Vida” that, since 2016,

seeks to recognize people and institutions that have made extraordinary

contributions to the defense of democracy.


Her work has made her part of the Global Americans New Generation of Public

Intellectuals initiative in 2018. In recent years, Payá Acevedo has been a

contributor to a number of periodical publications of global relevance, including The

Washington Post and CNN.


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