MADRID – Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya’s death last July in a car crash “was not an accident,” his daughter said on Thursday.
The Spaniard who was driving the car carrying her father confirmed that “a vehicle hit them from behind,” Rosa Maria Paya said at a press conference in Madrid.
Angel Carromero, a leader of the youth wing of Spain’s governing Popular Party, was at the wheel of the rental car on July 22 when it crashed near the eastern Cuban city of Bayamo.
Oswaldo Paya and fellow dissident Harold Cepero died, while Carromero and Swedish political activist Jens Aron Modig received minor injuries.
Modig was allowed to leave the island after giving a statement, but Cuban authorities held Carromero, alleging that he was speeding at the time of the accident.
The 27-year-old Spaniard was eventually convicted of negligent homicide and sentenced to four years in prison, but he returned to Madrid in December under a 1998 bilateral accord that allows convicts to serve their sentences in their homelands.
Within weeks of his return to Spain, Carromero was granted an open detention regime and he spends all but four nights a week at liberty.
Rosa Paya said Carromero told her earlier this month that the rental car was struck from behind by another vehicle and forced off the road.
“We have confirmed that there was no accident,” she said, reading from a prepared statement. “We have a right to know how they died and who is responsible for their deaths.”
Oswaldo Paya, who would have been 61 on Thursday, 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. EFE