March 7, 2013

Regarding the March 6 editorial “A dissident’s death in Cuba”:

I had the honor of seeing Oswaldo Payá several times during my three-year tour at the U.S. Interests Section in Havana. More than most, he understood the need for pluralism and tolerance in a democracy. His faith sustained him through constant harassment and surveillance; he made me proud to be a Catholic.

I often thought it was a shame that Mr. Payá never received the kind of worldwide attention that Nelson Mandela or Vaclav Havel got, for he was their spiritual heir and sacrificed so much for the good of his country. I commend The Post for shining a light on a true hero of democratic ideals.

Chris Sibilla, Reston

The writer was the human rights officer at the U.S. Interests Section in Cuba from 1991 to 1994.