Washington Times OP/ED: Exposing a Shady Cover-up in Cuba 3

The truth about dissidents’ killings confronts the U.N.

By Jose R. Cardenas

More than 60 dignitaries and pro-democracy advocates from around the world have signed an open letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon requesting that the world body conduct an investigation into the tragic deaths of Cuban dissidents Osvaldo Paya and Harold Cepero in an automobile accident in July 2012. It’s the least anyone can do.

The letter was prompted by a tour of European capitals by Paya’s daughter, Rosa Maria, and the blockbuster revelations by Spanish political activist Angel Carrameo, who was with Paya and Cepero at the time of the accident. Now out of Cuba, Mr. Carrameo went public with the truth that the accident was caused by a Cuban state security vehicle that rammed the car in which they were riding, forcing it off the road into a tree. The two Europeans survived, but Paya and Cepero, sitting in the back of the car, were killed.

Since Paya’s death, his family has maintained the Castro regime was behind his death, which is hardly surprising to anyone with a sober understanding of the nature of that government. However, the regime moved quickly to silence Mr. Carrameo and another European activist who was present, Aron Modig, by setting up a kangaroo court, in which they were held responsible for Paya and Cepero’s deaths.

The regime’s machinations fooled no one, except the legions of Castro regime apologists who have aped the party line from the get-go: that unprompted by anything, the car that Mr. Carrameo was driving spun out of control on a lonely country road.

Mr. Carrameo was convicted by a Cuban court of “vehicular homicide” and sentenced to four years in prison, but the quiescent Spanish government, playing along with the farce, nevertheless managed to persuade the Cubans after several months to allow him to serve out his sentence under house arrest in Spain. Both sides underestimated the power of human nature to want to speak the truth.

After witnessing the abuse heaped on Paya’s daughter in Europe by pro-Castro mobs, Mr. Carrameo said he finally decided to speak out, despite death threats and the “nightmare” that his life had become. He said he “could not hide the truth any more” because “the most important thing for me is that the Paya family always has defended my innocence, when they are the most injured by this tragedy.”

Mr. Carrameo’s testimony once on free soil is a dismal reminder of the Cold War, in which he recounts a Kafkaesque nightmare of druggings and intimidation by Cuban authorities to ensure his complicity in this Big Lie that he was responsible for the deaths of Paya and Cepero. He was held incommunicado in a dark, roach-infested prison cell without a working toilet. He said he was subjected to constant threats and was told that his account of what happened on that lonely road had not happened and “that I should be careful, that depending on what I said, things could go very well or very badly for me.” He was then presented a statement for him to sign admitting his culpability, saying his “speeding” caused the accident.

Mr. Carrameo, who said he still suffers from memory lapses owing to the unknown drugs he was given by the Cuban authorities, said he thought going along with the charade was his best chance of getting out of Cuba — which, ultimately, proved to be the case.

Given the United Nations‘ historical indulgence of the Castro regime, it is not likely that it would ever conduct any investigation of the Paya affair, which is a tragedy in itself. Individuals like Osvaldo Paya represented the future of Cuba, and only a few of them come along every generation. He was independent, beholden to no one, and rock-sure of his principles. He found an unusual strength in the rightness of his cause that allowed him to be unintimidated by the Castros’ thuggish ways.

Sadly, it is more likely that the deaths of Paya and Cepero at the hands of Cuban state security will be quietly swept under the carpet. That’s because their deaths are mortal threats to the current propaganda campaign that Cuba under Raul Castro is “reforming,” and that the United States should normalize relations with the country as a result. The killings of dissidents thus present most inconvenient facts to those dogged policy critics who will stop at nothing to have the United States recognize that brutal dictatorship. That’s why it is up to decent people to keep Osvaldo Paya’s and Harold Cepero’s memories alive for the sake of Cuba’s future.

Jose R. Cardenas was acting assistant administrator for Latin America at the U.S. Agency for International Development in the George W. Bush administration and is an associate with Vision Americas.

Washington Post OP/ED: Who Will Stand up for Oswaldo Payá? 4

By Jackson Diehl, Deputy Editorial Page Editor

Two weeks ago a brave young leader of Spain’s ruling Popular Party stepped forward to offer a sensational, firsthand account of how one of Cuba’s leading dissidents, Oswaldo Payá, was killed last summer. Ángel Carromero said a car that he was driving in which Payá was a passenger was rammed from behind by a vehicle bearing official Cuban license plates. He said he was then jailed in inhuman conditions, drugged and threatened by Cuban authorities with death if he did not tell a false story about what happened.

Naturally, Spanish journalists quickly approached Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margello, Mr. Carromero’s comrade in the Popular Party, to ask for his reaction. One might have expected an expression of shock at the revelation that the Castro regime might have deliberately killed one of the world’s best-known advocates of peaceful democratic change, a winner of the European Union’s Sakharov Prize, and then abused and framed a prominent Spanish citizen.

Nope: Garcia-Margello didn’t hesitate to throw the leader of his party’s youth wing under a bus. The foreign ministry, he primly told the reporters, “didn’t have evidence” of Carromero’s account. “The only evidence” it had, he added, was an agreement between the Cuban government and Spain allowing the repatriation of Carromero, which “recognized . . . the legitimacy of the verdict” of a Cuban court that found him guilty of negligent homicide.

In other words, the Spanish foreign minister was saying he thought the Cuban state security service was more credible than a 27-year-old leader of his own party who spoke out, at the risk of his career and his conditional release from prison, because, as he put it in an interview with The Post, “I could not live, being complicit through my silence.”

It’s worth considering why the Spanish government, like the Obama administration and Latin America’s democracies, ignored Carromero’s allegations. If legendary dissident Andrei Sakharov himself had died in a suspicious car accident in the Soviet Union, and a credible Western witness had then offered testimony like Carromero’s, it’s hard to imagine that Ronald Reagan and former Spanish prime minister Felipe Gonzalez would have remained silent.

But first let’s examine the supposed lack of evidence. Carromero, Payá, Cuban Harold Cepero and Swedish politician Jens Aron Modig were driving down a rural road in eastern Cuba last July 22 when the crash occurred. The two Cubans riding in the back seat died, while Carromero and Modig in the front survived.

Carromero says the car was followed from the moment it left Havana; as anyone familiar with Cuba and its secret police knows, that is routine for dissidents such as Payá. Here’s a question for the Spanish foreign ministry: Is it credible that a vehicle bearing dissidents and two Western politicians would not be followed on a road trip? Right. So where are the occupants of the two cars, one with official plates, described by Carromero?

The Cuban version says Carromero’s car struck a tree. But the photo authorities released shows a sedan clearly smashed from behind. Unless the Spaniard somehow accelerated backward into the tree, the picture belies the official story. Then there are the texts: Payá’s family say they have SMS messages that Carromero and Modig sent to friends in Europe soon after the crash, saying they had been hit from behind and run off the road. And there is Modig himself: The young Swede, who was also detained for a time in Cuba, told Swedish radio last week that he did send the reported texts, and that while he did not remember the accident, “I don’t have any doubts about what is now revealed.”

Finally there is this: The crash marked the second time Payá had been in an accident in two months. In Havana, a car he was driving was also struck by a suspicious vehicle, injuring him slightly. His family says he regularly received telephone calls with death threats.

Perhaps the Spanish foreign minister disrespects Carromero enough to conclude that he is lying in spite of all the indications that he is not. Or perhaps he feels compelled to bow to political considerations: the Spanish government’s cultivation of the Castro regime, its gratitude for the release to Spain of several score Cuban political prisoners, its hopes that four Spaniards in Cuban custody will, like Carromero, be freed. Other Western governments desperately want to believe that Raul Castro is a reformer who is slowly liberalizing Cuba.

All these calculations assume that the possibility that the regime deliberately targeted and killed Payá is ultimately unworthy of international attention; that impunity for such a crime is a regrettable necessity; or that the case says nothing about the Castros’ real intentions. Were they alive, Andrei Sakharov and Oswaldo Payá would surely disagree.

Fabiola Santiago: In Spain, the Truth Starts to Come Out About Paya “Accident” Reply

By Fabiola Santiago, fsantiago@MiamiHerald.com

At long last, Angel Carromero has broken his silence from the confines of his negotiated parole status in Spain.

He was the woozy-eyed Spanish political activist seen from Havana on a prosecutorial videotape issuing an unconvincing mea culpa that he was driving too fast, that he was at fault for the deaths of two prominent Cuban dissidents in a car crash last summer. Carromero’s “trial” for the deaths of Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero was Cuban political theater at its best, a closed-door concoction to cover up wrongdoing — state-sponsored murder? — a tactic Cubans in exile know too well. With Carromero now back in his homeland, the light of truth — tenuous but illuminating — has begun to shine on the deaths of human rights champion Payá and Cepero, the young activist who accompanied the respected leader on a trip across the island to spread the message of peaceful, democratic change.

The car crash in which Payá and Cepero lost their lives on July 22 was no accident, Carromero told Payá’s family in Spain this week. Another vehicle rammed the car Carromero was driving and forced it off the road, he said. While Payá and Cepero, the ones seriously hurt, were left in the car, men in a third car took away Carromero and Swedish politician Jens Aron Modig, another human rights activist accompanying them. “We don’t know what happened to my father and [Cepero] … but hours later they were both dead,” Payá’s daughter, Rosa María, told El Nuevo Herald after her conversation with Carromero.

The Cuban government contends that Payá died instantly and that Cepero died a few hours later in a Bayamo hospital. But they have refused to allow anyone to see the autopsy reports. Modig, at first detained along with Carromero, was allowed to return to Stockholm after Carromero issued his mea culpa. He has remained silent as the Spanish government negotiated Carromero’s return to Spain to serve out his Cuban sentence.

In Cuban custody, the only way to survive is to outsmart the jailers. Carromero and Modig did what they had to to secure their way out of Cuba. But it’s time now to speak up and tell the truth — and for the governments of the European Union, Latin America and the United States to push for an international investigation of the car crash and its aftermath. In a parliamentary hearing Thursday, Spanish government leaders admitted under pressure that they’re in a tenuous situation with Cuba because four Spanish citizens remain in Cuban prisons and they’re negotiating those releases as well. It sounded almost like an admission of blackmail.

Payá and Cepero deserve justice. Both men had been accosted by pro-government mobs, were constantly followed by state security, and had been repeatedly threatened. In fact, Payá didn’t make trips outside of Havana because of the danger, but in the Europeans’ company he felt a measure of safety. A state-sponsored murder is a serious charge, but this is nothing new for a government with a record of dealing violently with the peaceful opposition.

Civil Suit to Allege Cuban Security Services Killed Oswaldo Payá Reply

Report: Spanish Politician Will Sue Cuba Over Payá Death

Angel Carromero, Who Was Convicted in the Accident That Claimed Dissident Oswaldo Payá’s Life, Will Reportedly Allege That Another Car Caused the Accident

By Daniele Grasso & Juan O. Tamayo, JTamayo@elNuevoHerald.com

MADRID — A Spanish politician is preparing a lawsuit against the Cuban government alleging that another vehicle rammed his and caused the accident that killed renowned Havana dissident Oswaldo Payá, according to a digital Madrid newspaper. El Confidencial’s report Friday quoted unidentified sources as saying that Angel Carromero’s lawsuit would be backed by a signed declaration from the other survivor of the crash, Swedish politician Jens Aron Modig. Carromero has also privately told those same allegations to members of Payá’s inner circle who have been trying to gather evidence about the July 22 crash in eastern Cuba near the city of Bayamo, one knowledgeable source told El Nuevo Herald.

His Madrid lawyer, Jose Maria Viñals, was quoted in another report as saying that he has received no instructions to start a lawsuit. Payá’s brother Carlos, who lives in Madrid, and his widow in Havana, Ofelia Acevedo, said they knew nothing about the report.

Members of the Popular Party who are close to Carromero, a party activist, told El Nuevo on Friday that the lawsuit report was news to them, but one added that he had no doubt that “at some point Angel will tell his version” of the crash. El Confidencial reported that Popular Party officials had told the digital newspaper that they knew nothing about Carromero’s plans for a lawsuit although one added that he considered it “an error. It’s not the time.” The lawsuit would be based on the fact that Payá held both Cuban and Spanish citizenships because of his parents, according to the digital report.

Cuban authorities say Carromero was driving a rented car too fast, lost control and slammed into a tree. Payá died at the scene and Harold Cepero, a member of his dissident Christian Liberation Movement, died three hours later in a Bayamo Hospital. A tribunal in Bayamo sentenced Carromero to four years in prison for vehicular homicide, but he was extradited to Spain on Dec. 28 under a 1998 pact between Madrid and Havana that allows convicts to serve their sentences in their own countries. He is now under a part-time parole. Modig returned to Sweden days after the accident.

But Payá’s family has long insisted that there’s evidence Carromero was rammed and forced off the road by another vehicle, presumably driven by the State Security agents who constantly tailed the respected dissident.[emphasis added] Relatives and supporters around the world have been trying for months to gather evidence backing up the allegations that another car rammed Carromero’s, and are known to have been considering legal action that would give them subpoena powers. Their main target: Text messages that Modig allegedly sent to a woman friend in Stockholm shortly before and after the accident, reporting that another car was following them and then had rammed them from behind and forced them off the road. Carromero filmed a video while he was detained in Cuba in which he did not mention another car. Modig has claimed that he was sleeping before the crash. Both have refused to talk in public and in detail about the accident after leaving Cuba. Carromero is an activist in the Madrid youth wing of the Popular Party while Modig is the outgoing president of the youth wing of Sweden’s Christian Democratic Party. Cuba has alleged the Europeans, both 28, went to the island to deliver money to Payá.

The Popular Party government of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has stayed largely out of the controversy over the cause of Payá’s death, with the dissident’s supporters alleging that it fears retaliation against Spanish business interests in Cuba.

Relatives and supporters of Payá have steadfastly declined to put public pressure on Carromero or Modig to speak out on the crash, saying that they were victims of the crash just like Payá and Cepero. Carlos Payá, who has previously confirmed that he spoke once with Carromero, told El Nuevo Herald that he would not comment on the “rumor” published by El Confidencial. “We’re talking about the death of my brother. We have to be serious,” he said. Regis Iglesias, the representative in Spain for Payá’s dissident movement, said he was also surprised by the report that Carromero is preparing to sue Cuba.

Nearly 80 Ladies in White Arrested 1

From Capitol Hill Cubans

Yesterday, the Castro regime has violently arrested nearly 80 members of the peaceful pro-democracy group, The Ladies in White. Forty-five of them were beaten and arrested as they marched down Havana’s Quinta Avenida, pursuant to attending Mass. Among those arrested is Havana was the leader of The Ladies in White, Berta Soler, as well as, Magalis Norvis, Caridad Peinado, Belkis Pérez Pérez, Amparo Milagros, Donaris Martín, Olga L. Torres, Lisandra Farray, Malbey Glez, Aimé Moya, Tatiana López, Aimé García Leiva, Aniuska Fuente, Sandra Guerra, Belki Cantillo, Aime Garcel and Vivian Pena.

Another twelve Ladies in White were arrested in the eastern province of Holguin.

Among those arrested in Holguin were Bárbara Pausa, Gertrudis Ojeda, Berta Herrero, Segura Liliana Campos, Marlene Abreu, Griseldis Peña, Romelia Piña, Nelda Molina, Mercy Glez, Noemí C Hidalgo.

Also, sixteen we arrested in Santiago de Cuba, five in Pinar del Rio and one is missing in the Matanzas province.

And in a touch of cynicism, Castro’s state security announced they were arrested for “not respecting the grief of the Cuban people over Chavez’s health.”

Original source:  http://www.diariodecuba.com/derechos-humanos/14374-la-policia-disuelve-violentamente-la-marcha-de-las-damas-de-blanco


Was Baseball Star Aroldis Chapman a Cuban Spy? 2

Those are the blockbuster allegations in this suit pending before Judge Altonaga. Chapman, a pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds, is accused of some pretty outrageous things. According to the complaint, as summarized by Judge Altonaga:

Plaintiffs allege Chapman is liable for Curbelo Garcia and Perdomo’s prolonged arbitrary detentions and torture, not because Chapman was personally involved in detaining or torturing Plaintiffs, but because he provided the Cuban government with the false accusations in the first instance. This furnishing of false accusations, Plaintiffs allege, was part of a conspiracy between Chapman and the Cuban government that Chapman entered into on the day he met Raul Castro. (See id. ¶¶ 301–10). When Chapman agreed to the conspiracy, he became part of a pervasive “snitch network of athletes.” (Id. ¶ 216). This network included “athletes in every team in Cuba,” and was so widespread that “[t]here was a special unit of security officials that were in charge of connecting directly with the athletes to seek out reliable informants.” (Aff. of Gregorio Miguel Calleiro (“Calleiro Aff.”) ¶¶ 8–9 [ECF No. 48-5]). Athletes who voluntarily became government informants reported “suspicious” behavior to their individual handlers in the Department of State Security (“DCSE”). (Id. ¶¶ 10–12; see Am. Compl. ¶ 216). In return for providing “actionable information for the state,” the informants received benefits from the Cuban government, such as the ability to travel with a national team. (Calleiro Aff. ¶ 14). Chapman sought the opportunity to travel with the National Baseball Team as a means of defecting. (See Am. Compl. ¶¶ 218, 221).

The Court denied the motion to dismiss and the case is proceeding. Chapman is represented locally by Manny Garcia-Linares of Richman Greer.

Posted by South Florida Lawyers at 10:26 AM

Cuban Blackmail, 50 Years After the Missile Crisis 3

The past decades have shown that the Castro brothers’ behavior in October 1962 was perfectly characteristic.

By Jeb Bush & Frank Calzon, Wall Street Journal —  October 23, 2012, 7:16 p.m. ET

With this week marking the 50th anniversary of the Cuban missile crisis, Americans are recalling the 13 days in October 1962 when the Soviet Union and Cuba’s Fidel Castro brought the world to the brink of nuclear Armageddon.

But in assessing the crisis, and President John F. Kennedy’s decisions over those 13 days, it is equally important to consider what has happened since. Using what the late U.N. Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick called the “politics of deception,” Cuba’s Castro brothers have maintained power through international deceit, blackmail and hostage-taking.

The past decades have shown that the behavior of the Castro brothers in 1962 was perfectly characteristic. Fidel Castro has never shied away from a political gamble such as deploying secret Soviet missiles and then lying about them. He assured other governments that he would never do such a thing, just as the Soviet Union’s ambassador to the United States told the Kennedy administration that rumors about missiles were false. But the missiles were there, and their deployment was an effort to intimidate and blackmail America.

Today, Havana’s intimidation and blackmail are of a different magnitude, but there are plenty of examples.

Days ago, a Cuban court sentenced young Spanish politician Angel Carromero to four years in prison for committing manslaughter in the death of Oswaldo Payá, one of Cuba’s most prominent human rights leaders. Payá died while a passenger in a car Mr. Carromero was driving, when it veered off the road and hit a tree under suspicious circumstances. Payá’s family says that Mr. Carromero has sent text messages saying that a vehicle (presumably driven by Cuba’s state security police) was attempting to force him off the road. The family was prevented from attending the trial and is calling for an international investigation.

For years, state security had tried to intimidate Payá and his foreign visitors, part of a larger effort to discourage democracy advocates from visiting or contacting Cuban dissidents. Havana similarly tries to intimidate other countries—such as Spain, whose nationals have business interests in Cuba—into accepting its routine violations of human rights, including the beatings of dissidents.

Joining Mr. Carromero as a hostage in Cuba is Alan Gross, an American development worker held since December 2009. His supposed crime: giving a laptop computer and satellite telephone to a group of Cuban Jews.

Mr. Gross has lost some 100 pounds in prison, according to his wife, who also reports that he has a growth on his shoulder that may be cancerous. The Castro regime intends to keep him in prison until the U.S. government releases five Cuban spies from prison in the U.S.

There is long history here. In 1962, Fidel Castro wrung $53 million from Washington in exchange for releasing the prisoners he had taken after the failed Bay of Pigs invasion. Before that, during the guerrilla war against the Batista dictatorship, Raúl Castro extorted thousands of dollars from owners of sugar mills, threatening to burn down their homes and mills unless they aided the guerrillas. In June 1958, he tried to force negotiations with Washington by kidnapping 29 American sailors and marines; when word got out that Washington might send U.S. Marines to rescue the hostages, the Castros freed them.

In dealing with Cuba’s regime, the Obama administration has too often sent contradictory signals of U.S. resolve. Though Raúl Castro (who now heads the Cuban government) has refused to allow Mr. Gross to return to the U.S. to visit his seriously ill mother, the Obama administration allowed a Cuban spy to leave an American halfway house to visit his sick mother. While Mr. Gross remains in prison, the Obama administration last year issued visas to Raúl Castro’s daughter and her retinue so they could visit America and attack its Cuba policy.

The lessons of October 1962 must not be forgotten. President Kennedy showed fortitude and resolve in forcing the Soviet Union to stand down. Whoever wins the Nov. 6 election ought to deal similarly with today’s intimidation and deception from the Castro regime.

Mr. Bush is a former governor of Florida. Mr. Calzon is executive director of the Center for a Free Cuba in Washington, D.C.

Testimony: State Security Agents Targeted the “Ladies in White” Reply

Thanks to Pedazos de la Isla for this testimony from 21-year old Eleiny Villamonte Cardozo on Cuban government targeting of the “Ladies in White:”

EXTRACT:   “[T]he mobs continued to shout at us. But they were not calm with just that, so they started to throw rocks at us and fire water at us from a fire-hose to try and drown us. They told us “dirty-feet”, “dirty women”, and many other nasty things. As they threw rocks at us they hit the grandson of Ana Mara Aguilera Paneque who is only 4 years old, they hit him on his little stomach and knee. Berta Guerrero was hit on the foot with a rock. Another rock hit Romelia on her breast. It wasn’t one or two rocks, their were hundreds of rocks being thrown at us to try and kill us. And they continued firing water at us and shouted “clean your feet, dirty women” and other things like that.

Afterward, another State Security agent approached and said that he was going to get a search warrant to search the house. He left, but the mobs remained, screaming at us, and we remained calm inside the house. Another official, with a brown uniform with two stars on it, arrived. I don’t know his name, but he is a lieutenant colonel. He ordered to see the owner of the house because he was going to carry out a search. But the owner was in the bathroom at that moment, and the agent was so impatient that he barged in, grabbed Berta Guerrero (who was carrying her daughter) and nearly knocked her down, but Berta managed to get away from his grip. That’s when numerous men ran in and began to hit us, and they even took one underage girl (the daughter of Romelia). They were hitting us, and with these physical blows they took us out of the house.

They applied a headlock on me and took me out to the street. When I was on the street, they pushed me towards the mob of women who started to scratch me everywhere, they hit me all over, and they pulled my hair. In fact, I’m still scratched up on my chest and my arm. All the women came up to me to hit me. After they had beaten me, one guard said ‘you can’t hit her’, but she said this after they had beaten me up, after they had pulled my hair, after all the punches. It was very violent.

They shoved me into a police vehicle. Then, the vehicle would accelerate and suddenly brake so that I would go forward and hit my head against the glass dividing the seats. They took us to the Instructional Penal Unit, where they told me that I would be processed without a trial and that I’d go straight to prison for ‘public disorder’, to which I responded that I had neither carried out a public disorder nor a crime to be there like a criminal. My choice was to not eat any food that they gave me as a safety measure for my life, because I feared that they would poison me, kill me or slip pills into my food. I didn’t eat until today, and I felt very weak. They were very aggressive with us.”

Washington Post OP/ED: Getting at the Truth of Car Crash That Killed Oswaldo Payá 1

ON THE AFTERNOON of July 22, in Cuba’s eastern Granma province, a blue Hyundai rental car was in a terrible accident. The driver was Angel Carromero, leader of the youth wing of Spain’s ruling party. Sitting next to him in the front passenger seat was Jens Aron Modig, president of the youth league of Sweden’s Christian Democratic party. Both suffered minor injuries. Cuban dissidents Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero were in the back seat and were killed.

Mr. Payá was a leading voice for freedom in Cuba, champion of the Varela Project, a petition drive in 2002 seeking a national referendum to guarantee democracy. Many organizers of the Varela Project were later arrested by Fidel Castro’s security forces, but Mr. Payá was undeterred and continued to push for a free Cuba. The accident that took his life was blamed by the authorities on reckless driving by Mr. Carromero, who has been charged and is being held in Cuba. In a video made by the authorities just after the accident, Mr. Carromero says that he saw a pothole, braked and lost control of the car, which careened off the road and hit a tree. Mr. Modig, now back in Sweden, says that he was asleep in the car and doesn’t remember what happened.

Mr. Payá’s family is not satisfied. Although Mr. Payá was no longer at the forefront of the Cuban dissident movement, he was an authoritative voice for democracy, and he often received death threats, according to his daughter, Rosa Maria Payá, 23. Only weeks before, in June, Mr. Payá and his wife were driving in Havana when they were hit by another car on the rear passenger side. They suffered minor injuries, but the crash added to their anxiety and suspicions.

On the day of Mr. Payá’s death, his family received a text message at 3:18 p.m. from friends in Madrid inquiring about reports of a car wreck. The people in Spain did not know that Mr. Payá was in the vehicle with Mr. Carromero and Mr. Modig. According to Ms. Payá, the text message says that the car was “forcefully hit and pushed off the road.” It does not say by whom. A photograph of the Hyundai after the accident shows a vehicle crushed from behind.

The two survivors were interrogated at length by the Cuban state security apparatus; Mr. Modig acknowledged bringing about $5,000 to support Mr. Payá’s political work. Neither survivor may feel comfortable saying what happened as long as Mr. Carromero remains in a Cuban prison. But the suggestion in the text message that the car was forced off the road is sufficient to cast doubt on the official version.

Mr. Payá’s family has called for an independent investigation of the crash, although it is not likely to get one from Mr. Castro’s police state. The two survivors might eventually have more to say, and we’ve heard there are additional text messages from the scene. We think an outside investigation could shed light on whether Mr. Payá’s inspiring torch was snuffed out by a vengeful state.

“My father dedicated his life to fight for citizen rights for all Cubans,” Ms. Payá told us. “I am afraid that some evil force took my father’s life. But I think his passion for freedom is now alive in people. Cubans are awakening.”

A first step toward fulfilling Mr. Payá’s promise would be to determine the truth about how he died.

Moya, Other Dissidents, Detained After Confrontation Reply

By Juan O. Tamayo, JTamayo@ElNuevoHerald.com

Cuban police and State Security agents detained former political prisoner Angel Moya and at least five other dissidents during a search Sunday of a dissident’s home that allegedly sparked a confrontation in that neighbors threw rocks at the agents.  Some of the activists detained in the Matanzas province town of Pedro Betancourt were freed Monday afternoon but there was no word on the whereabouts of Moya, said his wife, Berta Soler, who is the leader of the dissident Ladies in White.

Pedro Betancourt residents Edilia Moreno and Gulliver Sigler Gonzalez said the incident Sunday began when agents of the National Revolutionary Police and State Security searched the home of Felix Sierra.  Moya and five to eight other dissidents who were in a house nearby went to the Sierra home to witness the raid, they told El Nuevo Herald by telephone, but were quickly arrested by police “with a lot of violence” and driven off in patrol cars.  About 500 neighbors had gathered to watch the incident “and when they saw those abuses some of those people started throwing rocks and sticks at security agents” who were forced to run away from the crowd, Sigler said.

Sigler said police were about to detain him as well when some of the onlookers “took me away from the hands of the police” and protected him until the security forces left the home of Sierra, a member of Moya’s Democratic Freedom for Cuba Movement.  Moreno generally backed up Sigler’s version, but there was no way to independently confirm it. Havana human rights activist Elizardo Sánchez Santa Cruz said he had received reports that the crowd totaled about 40 people, and that some had thrown rocks.