Trial Ends against Spaniard for Death of Cuban Dissidents

Fernando Ravsberg*

Ángel Carromero (c) photo:Raquel Perez

HAVANA TIMES — “It was a trial that was clean, open and procedurally flawless,” said Tomas Rodriguez, the consul of Spain in Cuba, when speaking to reporters. He added: “They respected all the norms of the process. The accused has been very well treated, he was been able to state his case on why he acted the way he did, and his defense was very good.”

The consul’s statement came at the end of the trial of against Angel Carromero, the Spanish citizen on trial for the deaths of two Cuban dissidents in a traffic accident, which resulted from excessive speed that prevented him from seeing the warning signs along the dangerous stretch.

It was argued that he entered onto that stretch driving in an incorrect manner and that he hit the brakes abruptly, which caused the car to skid and crash into a tree.

Forensic expects presented the injuries suffered by the dissidents who were accompanying him on a recruiting tour that had aimed to organize political opposition groups. The impact of the crash was so great that Oswaldo Paya’s skull cracked into five pieces and he suffered twenty breaks to his ribs, vertebrae and pelvis.

Outside the court, Paya’s children were trying to get interviews with the foreign press to state that they supported the defendant’s immediate release and return to Madrid. The family has bought into the theory of a conspiracy to kill Paya, though Carromero himself denied this at the trial when he re-emphasized that no other vehicle was involved in the accident.

Prosecuting attorney Isabel Barzaga emphasized the driving history of Carromero in Spain, where he has some forty traffic fines — three of which are for speeding. “We have before us a person who is frankly reckless; this doesn’t involve isolated behavior but of a pattern of reckless actions by him,” said the lawyer. The accusation was based on the “reckless manner” in which he was driving above the 40-mile-per-hour speed limit and didn’t respect the traffic signs along the road.

Carromero’s Cuban defense lawyer, Dorisbel Rojas, performed brilliantly – as was recognized even by the Spanish diplomats. She requested her client’s acquittal on the grounds that the prosecution failed to prove that he was driving over the speed limit.

She also questioned some of the forensic evidence by posing those against the opinions of other specialists, and said the police experts had failed to provide the full findings of their investigation to the defense prior to the trial. She also recalled that her client had never accepted the accusation of his having speeded.

The lawyer pointed to the poor condition of the road, and especially the lack of adequate warning signs, which gave the driver only 10 seconds to react before entering onto the part of the road that was under repair and unpaved.

The defense attorney asserted that her client could have lost control of the vehicle after hitting a pothole and then blowing out a tire, which would have caused the vehicle to skid off of the roadway.

Attorney Rojas did not, however, place her full bet on an acquittal. She stressed that Angel Carromero could serve any possible sentence under house arrest in the residence of the consul or the ambassador of Spain in Havana, in case the court decided on a lesser penalty that avoided incarceration.

The trial concluded with only the verdict outstanding, which the court committed to issue within the next few days. The Spanish consul stated: “There are reasons to be optimistic. I’m practically sure there’s going to be a substantial reduction of the sentence.”
(*) See Fernando Ravsberg’s blog.


6 thoughts on “Trial Ends against Spaniard for Death of Cuban Dissidents

  • “Moreover, as a few single-minded commentators to this blog love to request, one sure-fire end to the embargo is a democratic Cuba. Should Cuba allow a multiparty system and a free press FIRST, the embargo would be lifted. What is to fear?”

    Don’t be so naive. The embargo will be lifted only if the rich Cuban exiles in Miami recover their expropriated property lost in the ’59 Revolution, regardless of the Cuban political system. China and Vietnam claim to be socialist and are free to trade with anybody, for example, and Saudi Arabia probably has the most ruthless, backwards regime on the face of the Earth and is Uncle Sam’s second best friend in the Middle East (the first being, of course, Israel). I say: US, stop treating the rest of the world as if it were your backyard FIRST, then the injusticed people of the world will stop burning your flag.

  • As an African American, I assert there is no group of people on earth more sensitve to injustice than my people. That said, despite all of the many failings which exists in the US judicial system, nothing excuses the problems that exists in Cuba. Especially in view of professed social equality in Cuba. I am shocked but pleased to hear that Sr. Carromero´s trial received such high marks for fairness. If Cuba can trust justice to run its course without undue political influence, then surely they can also allow democracy to prevail. If Venezuela can trust a democratic process to sustain their socialist agenda what does Cuba have to fear? Moreover, as a few single-minded commentators to this blog love to request, one sure-fire end to the embargo is a democratic Cuba. Should Cuba allow a multiparty system and a free press FIRST, the embargo would be lifted. What is to fear?

  • Thank-you Alberto for your informative and insightful comment. It is a valuable service we can perform, I think, to report on the reality that exists outside Cuba that US propagandists avoid writing about.

  • With the first newscasts at 5:00 AM on Monday, Radio Mambi 710 AM, La Poderosa 670 AM radio stations and tens of leaflets type yellow-newspapers that are handed out for free, will dripping bile, hate and revenge, against all participants in this trial, especially the Spanish Consul, who will be denounced as a Castroite, socialistoide to be hanged.

    No matter how it goes or what the outcome may be, there will never be a fair and just trial in Cuba to satisfy the pent up predisposition in the Cuban American Ghetto mentality of SW 8th street, Hialeah or within the walls of the Versailles Cathedral, where many goes to pray for the destruction of Cuba.

    Paradoxically it is here, where these same judicial experts, all holding PhD in Human Rights and Democracy, dine and wine with proven murderers such as Posada Carriles, Ventura Novo et al, whom they claim has been falsely accused of wrongdoings.

    Nor are any of these famous defense attorneys willing to speak out or side with any of the hundreds of families, who have seen their loved ones gunned down every day, anywhere in Miami, which have become of shooting gallery for black or hispanic, only because they are too poor to pay to be defended.

    No court in the world is infallible and bias free. What is absolutely clear to all, that few courts in the world are more influenced politically, socially and racially, than those in the US, where white, rich, famous and powerful, are less likely to be convicted, especially in crimes against minorities.

  • Cuba is forced to live in a state of siege. Stop the blockade and we will see how the government acts. Under the circumstances dissidents are being treated with kid gloves relative to how they are treated in my country.

    Yoanni is a propagandist more than a reporter. From reports in Canadian papers, she and her husband were given a free ride back to Havana which she described as being “deported”.

    She attributed her release to “all those who raised their voices and their tweets so we were able to return home,” neglecting to mention it’s the same procedure other dissidents routinely receive.

    Under the circumstances the government statement that Sanchez “would turn the trial into a media show” seems accurate. She is a walking, talking media show.

    Paya’s family, having “bought into the theory of a conspiracy to kill Paya”, also have to be viewed as a disruptive element to the court procedure. Both they and Sanchez could equally be excluded from a courtroom anywhere in the world.

    Any restrictions placed on international media must have been routine under the circumstances – no one complained.

    Short term detentions are routinely used in my country for stated reasons of ‘keeping the peace’. Rightly or wrongly, it’s standard practice, even in a country that does not have an external threat that has blockaded it’s economy for more than 50 years.

  • THAT’S A STATEMENT!!!! “It was a trial that was clean, open and procedurally flawless,”

    Yoani Sanchez arrested and prevented from covering the trial as well as other Cuban independent journalists! The International press sequestered in a separate room with not laptops or any other recording devices! AND the family of Oswaldo Paya prevented from even getting close to the location of the “trial”??? FLAWLESS CONTROL is more like it! But not that “flawless”!!

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