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Posted on Wednesday, 12.19.12


Widow of Cuban Payá wants to meet Carromero

Ofelia Acevedo, widow of dissident Oswaldo Payá, says she wants to hear

Spanish politician Angel Carromero's version of the car crash that

killed her husband.

By Juan O. Tamayo

The widow of Cuban dissident Oswaldo Payá said Tuesday she wants to

speak with Angel Carromero, the Spanish politician convicted of causing

her husband's death in a car crash, before he leaves the island to serve

the rest of his sentence in .

Ofelia Acevedo's comments came after Payá's Christian Liberation

Movement (MCL) published several posts on Facebook over the weekend

repeating allegations that Cuban security agents bore responsibility for

the .

Acevedo said she plans to go to the Spanish embassy in Havana in the

next few days to ask that she and her daughter, Rosa Maria, be allowed

to meet with Carromero and hear his version of the crash before he is

sent to Spain.

Carromero was sentenced to four years in prison for vehicular homicide

for having been at the wheel of a rented car that crashed July 22,

killing Payá and MCL activist Harold Cepero. The Spaniard and Swedish

politician Jens Aaron Modig escaped with minor injuries.

The Spanish and Cuban governments announced last week that Carromero

will be allowed to return to Madrid soon under a 1998 bilateral

agreement that allows convicts from those countries to serve their

prison terms in their home countries.

Payá's family has said repeatedly that the crash was not Carromero's

fault and pointed to a string of unconfirmed reports indicating that

State Security agents who had followed Payá caused the crash by ramming

Carromero's car and forcing it off the road.

"We have been asking to speak with him since the crash took place,"

Acevedo told El Nuevo Herald on Tuesday by phone from her home in

Havana. "We are going to go to the embassy in the next few days to ask

again to speak to him before he leaves."

After most of the news stories on the Carromero repatriation agreement

last week failed to mention the accusations of a government hand in the

crash, the MCL published four posts on its Facebook page Saturday

providing a few new details and repeating some old ones.

The day before the crash, Carromero and Modig sent text messages to

friends in Europe reporting Payá was being tightly watched by security

agents, one post noted. Another said Carromero reported after the crash

that Payá was alive when he was pulled from the wreckage.

A third post alleged that Cepero arrived alive at a but "was

allowed to die" because nurses were told he was a "terrorist." The Cuban

government often labels dissidents as "counterrevolutionaries" or


The digital Madrid newspaper El Confidencial, meanwhile, quoted

unidentified MCL members and supporters in Spain as saying that the

Spanish government had told them "we could not say anything that would

anger the Cuban dictatorship."

Opponents of the Cuban government have steadfastly alleged that the

conservative government of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy cut a

deal with Havana to cover up any state security role in the fatal crash

in exchange for Cuba's cooperation in getting Carromero home early.

The Cuban government has made public a video recording of Carromero's

interrogation in which he makes no mention of any third-party

responsibility for the crash. Modig, who returned to Sweden a week after

the accident, has said he was sleeping before the crash and does not

remember what happened.

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