Cuba: Paya’s Family Seeks Asylum in USA

Rosa Maria Paya. Photo:

HAVANA TIMES — The family of Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya, who died almost a year ago in a car accident, has taken up exile in the United States, reported the Miami newspaper “El Nuevo Herald”.

Paya’s widow, Ofelia Acevedo, and their children Rosa Maria and Reinaldo are currently in Miami soliciting political refugee status; the newspaper quoted a source in the Christian Liberation Movement (MLC), the group led by Paya island until his death.

UPDATE:  Paya family will not seek asylum.

A relative confirmed in Havana that Acevedo and the children of Paya traveled a few days ago to the United States.

Paya, one of the best known Cuban dissidents in the last decade, died on July 22, 2012 at 60 years in a notorious accident in the east of the island. In the accident another opponent, Harold Cepero was also killed and two young European politicians, including the driver were slightly injured.

The case began to test the delicate relations between Cuba and Spain for several months. Angel Carromero, a young leader of the Popular Party in Madrid, was sentenced three months after accident to four years in prison for homicide and reckless driving, noted DPA news.

Carromero was driving the car the two dissidents were traveling in. The Spaniard had traveled to the island with the Swedish conservative politician Jens Aron Modig to meet secretly with dissidents of the Castro government.

Opposition sources and the Paya family continue to cast doubt on the official version of the accident and ask for further investigation.

Carromero was extradited to Spain in late 2012 to finish his sentence and is now serving it under a probation program.

Paya, awarded in 2002 with the Sakharov Prize for Human Rights by the European Parliament, became known in the late 90s with a legal initiative to reform the political system of Fidel Castro with greater civil liberties.

His death sent shock waves internationally. His daughter Rosa Maria recently conducted a tour of several countries including Spain and Switzerland to discuss her father’s death and demand an independent investigation.

2 thoughts on “Cuba: Paya’s Family Seeks Asylum in USA

  • The Paya family have good reason to fear for their safety in Cuba.

    Werlando Leyva, a member of the Christian Liberation Movement in Holguin, Cuba was attacked with multiple machete blows on Saturday, June 8, 2013. His attackers yelled insults calling Werlando a worm, a counterrevolutionary, an opposition member …and then using a machete they attacked him,” He is apparently hospitalized in Holguin. Werlando had been previously threatened in May of 2013.

    Read more here:

  • With the departure of the Paya clan, the Christian Liberation Movement (MLC) will likely fade away like so many of the previous efforts in Cuba for political reform. The Castros have been and remain adept at maintaining control using the right blend of physical and psychological abuse to weaken the opposition. The only opponent they will not defeat is time. Biology will ultimately have its way.

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