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Latino Daily News

Monday August 19, 2013

Cuban Dissident’s Family Says Gov’t Vehicle Caused his Death

Cuban Dissident’s Family Says Gov’t Vehicle Caused his Death

Photo: Cuban Dissident's Family Says Gov't Vehicle Caused his Death

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A criminal complaint filed Monday before Spain’s National Court by the family of Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya, who died in July 2012 in a traffic accident, says the crash was deliberately caused by agents of the Havana government.

The family brought the case in Spain because the late dissident was a dual Cuban-Spanish citizen.

The lawsuit, to which Efe had access, accuses two officers of Cuban State Security of a crime against humanity.

Paya, the 60-year-old founder of the Christian Liberation Movement, died on July 22, 2012, while traveling by car from Havana to the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba.

He was accompanied by colleague Harold Cepeda, Swedish political activist Jens Aron Modig and Angel Carromero, a leader of the youth wing of Spain’s governing conservative Popular Party.

Carromero was at the wheel of the rental car at the time of the accident.

A state vehicle charged at the car “in a premeditated and deliberate way,” forcing it off the road, according to the criminal complaint filed by Paya’s family.

Paya and Cepeda were killed, while the two foreign nationals suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

The Cuban government, which “knew beforehand” of the visit by Carromero and Modig, decided “at a certain time to organize a plan to end the lives” of the four occupants of the rental car, the complaint says.

The day of the accident, the four realized they were being followed by a white car and then by a red one, which then dropped out of sight.

Farther on they detected another vehicle that they identified as official because its license plate was blue and because, according to the complaint, it was “driven without a doubt by agents of the Cuban government.”

Paya’s family said the authorities then decided to “make the attack look like an accident, creating an ad hoc court case that had nothing to do with the reality,” for which Carromero was convicted of vehicular manslaughter, spending a few months behind bars in Cuba before he was sent home to Spain last December.

Carromero confessed on the island that he lost control of the vehicle through carelessness, but, according to the complaint, his words were wrung from him under pressure by the Cuban authorities.

Paya emerged as a leading opposition figure in 2002 when he delivered to Cuba’s parliament more than 10,000 signed petitions calling for a referendum on democratization.

The European Parliament honored the Cuban dissident with its Sakharov Prize.