Fellow Passengers Call Paya’s Death Accidental

Fernando Ravsberg

The main foreign press organizations accredited in Cuba were invited to the conference centering on Swedish citizen Jens Aron Modig. Photo: Raquel Perez

HAVANA TIMES — Cuban authorities allowed the Swedish citizen Jens Aron Modig to speak to the foreign press to explain what he was doing in Cuba and how the accident occurred in which dissidents Oswaldo Paya and Harold Cepero were killed.

Modig opened the conference with a statement in which he identified himself as a member of the Swedish Social Christian Party, adding that this was his second trip to Cuba and that his purpose was to advise the dissident movement and bring them money for the creation of political youth groups.

The young right-wing Swed said he was sent by his party to give 4,000 euros to Oswaldo Paya and to advise his daughter about how to promote herself as a dissident leader of the new youth group that should be started.

Modig said he didn’t know that it was illegal to finance and organize opposition groups in Cuba “and that [he] would like to apologize for coming into this country to carry out illegal activities,” but he admitted that “we don’t perform these types of activities in any other country.”

Political tourists

Spanish national Angel Carromero accepted that the accident happened because he lost control of the vehicle when attempting to avoid a pothole. Photo: Raquel Perez

An official statement from the Cuban government ensures that both Modig and Spanish citizen Angel Carromero arrived in the country with tourist visas when in fact their goal was to make contact with the dissident movement in Santiago de Cuba to give them money.

According to the official Cuban version, “This operation was organized by Mr. Modig” with the support of Angel Carromero — a youth leader of the conservative Spanish Popular Party — and that the two foreigners were “seeking to create a youth organization called the Christian Liberation Movement.”

In his statements to the police, filmed on video, Modig suggested who would be the head of that organization saying, “The first objective was to contact the daughter of Dr. Oswaldo Paya to talk to her about how to form a political organization of young people.”

Angel Carromero confirmed that his own organization directed him to contact the Swedish to organize this political tour, which included a trip to Santiago de Cuba where Oswaldo Paya would present them to other opposition members.

The accident

Jens Aron Modig told reporters, “I have no recollection of there being another car involved in this accident.” Similarly, in the interrogation video Carromero told police that “no vehicle hit us from the rear.”

Modig said he didn’t know it was illegal to advise and finance opposition parties in Cuba. Photo: Raquel Perez

The Spanish politician asked for “the international community to focus on getting me out of here and not to use a traffic accident that could have occurred in any country for political motives.”

Carromero says in the video that he didn’t know how fast they were traveling when he tried to dodge a pothole and: “I lost control of the car because we had entered an area with gravel. I lost stability, the steering no longer worked and I couldn’t maintain control of the car.”

Some dissident bloggers initially said the vehicle had been intentionally hit by a truck. Even in a webpage falsely attributed to the Communist Party of Cuba, they published a photo of a wrecked car – though the model, color and license plates were different.


Relations between Cuban dissidents and Spanish and Swedish parties have a long history. Even Anna Ardin (the young Swedish woman who accused Wikileaks director Asange Julian of rape) had brought them money, according to the admission of Cuban dissident Manuel Cuesta.

Madrid politicians have also tried to influence the situation in Cuba, but the consequences haven’t always been what they expected. Former Foreign Minister Roberto Robaina lost his position for giving excessive advice to his Spanish counterpart.

Likewise, his replacement, Felipe Perez Roque, along with Vice President Carlos Lage and other senior party leaders were dismissed because of conversations recorded by a Spanish friend/intelligence agent.

Modig said that he was sincere when a journalist asked him if he would stick to his version when freed to return to his country. The Spaniard will take a little longer to return because he’ll surely be charged with the death of the two Cubans and will have to serve between one to ten years in a minimum security prison.


9 thoughts on “Fellow Passengers Call Paya’s Death Accidental

  • Moses! Helloooooo! Where are you?

    Oh dear, he’s usually so quick to reply… was it something I said?

  • Strangely enough there is no link to the original here.
    In the original the Facebook page is referred to as “una apócrifa página”. That is – literally translated “an apocryphal page”.

    The Oxford dictionary gives this as the definition:
    “Definition of apocryphal

    (of a story or statement) of doubtful authenticity, although widely circulated as being true: an apocryphal story about a former president his alleged description of opera as ‘fat gits singing’ is probably apocryphal
    of or belonging to the Apocrypha: the apocryphal Gospel of Thomas”

    The author did not call the page “a webpage falsely attributed to the Communist Party of Cuba”.
    He wanted to show that there was doubt about the ownership. That is all.

    I have not seen any statement by the PCC denying that the page is not theirs or affiliated with them.
    It has been up for a while and Cuban MININT agents like Carlos Serpa Maceira, a MININT agent that infiltrated the dissident movement in the past, and Cayo Lara, leader of the Spanish Izquierda Unida posted on it.
    The PCC also has never tried to remove the page. I doubt it that they would leave a page ascribed to them up if it was affiliated with them.

    For more on the content there regarding Paya see:

    El sitio del Partido Comunista en Facebook admite las más duras ofensas contra Payá
    Madrid | 23-07-2012 – 6:31 pm.

  • Come on Moses, don’t be shy. Surely the glorious imperviousness to basic facts inconvenient to your imperialist world-view to which you lay claim above means you are a US journalist. Am I right? Or perhaps you were a US diplomat posted to Cuba? Do tell.

    US Americans as ignorant as you (claim to be) shouldn’t really be allowed to visit Cuba without some pre-education. Otherwise you could easily find yourself in the position of that other (supposedly) “innocent dupe,” pleading Gross ignorance in a Cuban court to an audience even more sceptical than you find here.

  • I find Modig’s statement a bit odd. Perhaps he’s just trying to extricate himself out of a sticky situation.

    You only have to read Cuban state media to know that organizing against the government or even supporting independent civil society groups is illegal in Cuba and will get those engaged in it in a whole heap of trouble.

  • How did you travel to Cuba 25 times supposedly without learning something so basic, Moses? Were you a journalist working for the US media?

  • You have got to be joking Moses.

    Given the reputation that the “Castro regime ” has been assigned by the Western anti-revolutionary media, the long history of accusations of locking people up for “political crimes” of a dubious nature and the fact that the Cuban revolution is under assault by the United states since the 1960s , you’d have to be mentally retarded to not realize that funding opposition groups in such an atmosphere would put you in serious danger of going to prison .
    Don’t insult the intelligence of readers buy putting out that crap that is unbelievable on its face .

  • Yeah, right.

  • I have traveled to Cuba more than 25 times and I did not know it was illegal to give money to Cubans who share a similar desire for a more democratic Cuba. I smell government coercion. It could be that I simply don’t trust anything the Castro regime says but I will withhold judgement until these young men are back home and can speak freely without the fear of the Cuban bullies.

  • “Modig said he didn’t know that it was illegal to finance and organize opposition groups in Cuba…”

    Yeah, right.

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