From Miami Herald staff and wire reports
Angel Carromero, who was sentenced to prison in Havana for the death of two Cuban dissidents in a car accident, said in an interview published Sunday by Spain’s daily newspaper El Mundo, which was subsequently reported by the news service EFE, that Cuba’s secret service murdered Oswaldo Payá.
Meanwhile, Ofelia Acevedo, Payá’s widow, said she hopes Carromero’s interview “will add clarity about the attempt on my husband’s life.”
In an interview with El Nuevo Herald Sunday night, Acevedo said that she and the rest of her family never trusted the Cuban government’s version of the accident.
According to EFE and El Mundo, Carromero also said that he is convinced that Payá and another dissident leader who accompanied him survived the accident. “The nurses and a priest,” he was quoted as saying, “assured me that all four of us were admitted at the hospital.”
Carromero recalled that on July 22, 2012, the day of the accident, he was driving to Santiago with Payá, Harold Cepero and Swedish citizen Jens Aron Moding, when he realized that a blue vehicle was following them, the reports said.
“We were headed to Santiago and we had already been followed three times during the trip,” he was quoted as saying. “[Close to ] Bayamo, a blue vehicle began to follow us. We were annoyed because they were very close,” said the reports. Carromero was also quoted as saying that that he could see the driver’s eyes through the rear-view window, and that when Payá saw the car, he said that he could tell the car belonged to communists by the color of the license plate. “Angel, keep on going and don’t stop,” Carromero said Payá told him, the reports said.
Carromero said the car hit them from behind and threw them off the road. He said he became unconscious, according to the reports.
“What happened next, as I remember, was, like, men carrying me to a van with sliding doors like the ones used by Cuba’s State Security, and I screamed, ‘S–t, who are you and what the f–k have you done to us.’ Then I lost consciousness again. I think they hit me with a rifle butt because I had a gap on my head,” the news reports said.
Ofelia Acevedo, Payá’s widow, said Sunday that “We believe that State Security was behind it.”
“My husband drove very carefully and did not allow anybody else to speed because he knew his life was in danger,” she said.
She has requested an international investigation of the events that led to her husband’s death.
Payá’s widow also expressed her gratitude for Carromero’s statement to the Spanish daily.
El Nuevo Herald reporter Melissa Sánchez contributed to this story.