News and Facts about Cuba

Cuban dissident’s daughter calls for investigation

Posted on Friday, 04.12.13

Cuban 's daughter calls for investigation


Associated Press

MIAMI — The daughter of a Cuban dissident who led one of the most

significant campaigns for political change on the island said Friday

there is enough evidence to warrant an international investigation into

her father's death.

Rosa Maria Paya said witness accounts, text messages and statements made

after a July car crash involving her father raise questions about the

Cuban government's official account. The crash killed and

youth activist Harold Cepero.

The two dissidents and another passenger were in a car driven by

Spaniard Angel Carromero in Bayamo, Cuba, when he lost control and

struck a tree, according to government authorities. Carromero was

convicted in Cuba of vehicular homicide and returned to to serve

out a four-year sentence.

In an interview published last month in The Washington Post, Carromero

said he was being followed by a car before the crash. Paya and Cepero

told him the car must be from "la Comunista" because it had blue

licenses plates like those used by the government. Carromero said the

last time he looked in his rearview mirror he realized the car behind

them had gotten too close "and suddenly I felt a thunderous impact from


Carromero said he was threatened by government officials when he said

he'd been struck from behind. An officer provided him with a different

version of events and said if he went along with it, nothing would

happen to him, Carromero said. He said he was heavily drugged at the time.

"They gave me another statement to sign – one that in no way resembled

the truth," Carromero said.

Speaking at the of Miami on Friday, Paya's daughter said

Carromero's statement confirmed the evidence she had already gathered,

which included text messages and statements from people at the

after the crash. Those accounts included mentions of another vehicle at

the scene of the crash, though she did not go into detail.

"I'm asking for help so that this investigation is realized," Rosa Maria

Paya said. "I want to know the truth."

Eight U.S. senators have written a letter to the Inter-American

Commission on of the Organization of American States last

month calling for an investigation.

Oswaldo Paya was the lead organizer of the Project, a

signature-gathering drive asking authorities for a referendum on

guaranteeing rights such as of speech and assembly in Cuba. The

initiative is regarded as the largest nonviolent campaign to change the

system established.

Rosa Maria Paya is one of several prominent Cuban dissidents recently

allowed to leave the island after Cuba eliminated the exit permit that

had been required of islanders for five decades. Cuban authorities can

still deny in cases of "national security" and not all dissidents

have been allowed to leave.

Paya's calls for an international investigation are unlikely to be

received by the Cuban government.

Arturo Lopez-Levy, a lecturer at the University of Denver who once

worked for the Cuban government, said he could not recall any case in

which an international commission had gone to Cuba to investigate a

situation similar to the one Paya's daughter is requesting.

He said Oswaldo Paya probably was followed, as the Cuban security

apparatus has long been known to do with opposition leaders. He doubted

there was a purposeful attempt to kill Paya.

"It would be the type of thing that would bring a lot of condemnation

against the Cuban government," Lopez-Levy said. "And they didn't need it

because the movement of Mr. Paya was in decline."

Paya said she is not counting on Cuban government's cooperation. She

said her family has been threatened and harassed as they've pushed for

answers in her father's death.

"I fear for the life of my family," she said.

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