Spain Urges Carromero to Go to Court…

… if he has new evidence in the Payá case

HAVANA TIMES — Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo urged Angel Carromero today to go to court if he has “new evidence” on the accident in which Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya died, and for which he was sentenced in October as the driver.

García-Margallo spoke after Carromero said in an interview published on Wednesday by “The Washington Post” that the accident occurred when a vehicle he was driving was intentionally rammed from behind.

Besides Paya, another opposition member, Harold Cepero, also died in the crash that occurred last July.

The Spanish government “has no evidence” that things happened differently than Carromero himself said at his trial in Cuba, said Garcia-Margallo. If he has other information, “he should go to court,” he noted.

The Spanish foreign minister repeated what he had said on Wednesday, that the memorandum of understanding signed with the Cuban authorities allowed Carromero’s repatriation to Spain to serve the rest of the sentence that was imposed in Cuba.

This document, which was signed with the consent of Carromero, a young politician of the Popular Party (PP), did not reflect what Carromero said to “The Washington Post”.

Carromero was sentenced in October by a Cuban court to four years in prison for manslaughter for “reckless behavior.” The young man was extradited to Spain in December to serve the remainder of his sentence at home, following an agreement between Madrid and Havana based on a bilateral agreement on the enforcement of criminal sentences.

Carromero is serving his sentence in Spain in “open regime”, controlled electronically via a bracelet.

 

 


19 thoughts on “Spain Urges Carromero to Go to Court…

  • March 14, 2013 at 4:08 pm
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    Your line of argument is schizophrenic: One moment you stress the very political nature of the Payá/Carromero case, the next you deny it. Take a deep breath and please make up your mind. You conveniently blow up Carromero’s political importance in Spain, but at the same time you find it impossible even to imagine that in Cuba, he and Spanish diplomacy could have been a lot more interested in getting him out safe and soon rather than in provoking a ‘complicated’ political scandal on Payá — which would have meant putting at risk not only your big career politician leader’s future but also Spain’s important political and economic interests on the island and beyond.

    You find Carromero’s parole illegal under Spanish law and a gross violation of the agreement with Cuba — but strangely, no legal complaint has been filed by any of Carromero’s many Spanish opponents, nor by Cuba. You know full well that access to evidence in Cuba was under exclusive control of the Cuban government and you should know about the non-existing separation of powers in their political and legal system, at the same time you assert that an independent investigation into what evidence we are actually talking about is not needed — while paradoxically asking for evidence…???

    Returning to the topic of the HT article above, if you believe Margallo is being 100% honest in his current position on Cuba/Payá/Carromero that constitutes a 180-degree turnaround from his long-held positions of principle before he got the job as Foreign Minister, you are very far from convincing anybody. You have the last word, go ahead.

  • March 13, 2013 at 12:40 am
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    You are either being intentionally obtuse or lack critical thinking skills. It doesn’t matter the absolute rank he has as a career politician, he was supposedly a leader of the new generations somewhere and had enough rank to serve of pawn in the game with the opposition in Cuba. Not to mention that in your own link you can easily see the political muscle that made possible his record-breaking trial and expulsion.

    And is common practice that you lose your job if a criminal offense put you between bars and prevents you from actually working. In his case, his job was used as a pretext to put him in “tercer grado”. And even after posting the exact reference you are still misrepresenting his case: reckless driving causing death or permanent injury in Spain is a crime punished with 1 to 4 years in jail. Repeating the same misleading assertions over and over won’t change that annoying little fact.

    Your point 4 is laughable. Not only extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, but what is asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. Carromero had consular support in all stages of the process and the trial was deemed fair by the Spanish counterpart, meaning that they considered the evidence presented valid and enough to get him convicted of the charges.

    He is now claiming that he was lying under oath in the trial and he was in fact innocent. As you know, lying under oath is a traditionally serious crime (in fact is one of the ten commandments) and destroys any credibility he may have at this point, but more importantly is not nearly enough to restore his presumption of innocence.

    Basically, he is accusing the Cuban government of murdering Paya and staging a fake trial, so the burden of the prof rests squarely in his shoulders. He is the one who has to present the evidence in order to prove his case and until said evidence is validated, the Cuban government should be considered innocent of the charges in the same way he was considered innocent until the court examined the evidence and found him guilty.

    And remember, I’m talking about factual evidence independently verifiable because as I said before, what can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence and he claims the Cuban government carried a political assassination so I’m expecting solid evidence, not common gossip.

    Your sixth point had some merit if Carromero was prevented from contacting the Spanish consulate, but that wasn’t the case. And Cuba would not allow said contact unless they were 100% sure Carromero would back their own version, otherwise they risked a high profile assassination scandal that would have complicated the case (at the very least, Spain would have insisted in an independent investigation).

    And of course, once you confess the charges, you either learn to live with it or find the evidence to clear your name. Or as the article said, either show the evidence or shut the ** off.

    Right now his unsupported declarations are risking an invalidation of the extradition treaty with Cuba that benefited him and with it other fellow Spaniards currently serving sentences in Cuban prisons. And what if Cuba demands a revision of the sentence adding the lie under oath and contempt to court charges? What do you think Spain would do in that case?

  • March 12, 2013 at 6:40 pm
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    1. If number three at the regional Madrid level and number one at neighbourhood level of the youth organisation of a political party for you makes him a leader of that obviously Spanish organisation “in Spain” and a career politician, we disagree. As for his party’s support, I was referring to Carromero’s present battle and the PP’s position as illustrated by the article right above this comments section.

    2. You were asking me to quote your lie: “he got a well payed council advisor job in order to get him released”. Of course, before losing a public sector job in any civilised country A for a conviction in country B they would need to consider the relative seriousness of the offence under country A’s laws: not even jail (see point 3 above).

    3. Again, neither was there a retrial nor any need for it in order for the convict to be granted open-regime detention (“tercer grado”). Of course, the Cuban government was aware of the conditions for “tercer grado” in the Spanish penal system at the time of signing the handover agreement. http://www.eldiario.es/politica/Exteriores-Cuba-Carromero-extradicion-Espana_0_88891571.html

    4. …And vice versa, the only incriminating evidence came from the very authorities that had always treated Payá, his organisation and his international supporters as enemies of Cuba, in the clear absence of any form of independent judiciary.

    5. What kind of “control” do you mean? And to what end? Her father spent a lifetime communicating with the outside world. She and her family had been speaking with international journalists in Havana, saying the same things she now tells international journalists in Madrid.

    6. So you are saying they now monitor opposition leaders without actually following them? Hm. But since you mention the gravity of the two Europeans’ crime of meeting with dissidents in the Cuban goverment’s POV: When Carromero was faced with the tough choice of either cooperating in a quick trial about a traffic accident including the hope for a swift extradition OR face accusations of acting as a secret foreign agent with the potential of a much harsher punishment, what was the reasonable thing to do?

    At the end of the day, we have nothing more then two opposition activists dead after a car crash, and we have the two survivers and the victim’s family not supporting the government-issued version. And “a sane person” must not take their allegations seriously?

    I doubt that Carromero and Rosa María Payá will manage to start any real “assassination scandal” as long as the Cuban and Spanish governments stand firmly united on the issue. Still, it’s quite interesting to see how far people like García-Margallo and the rest of the PP have recently changed their position towards what Payá stood for and towards the Cuban government — always in the best national interest of Spain…

  • March 12, 2013 at 12:13 pm
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    1. I’m not the one calling him “Leader of the new generations wing of the PP”, thats how about EVERY single news source call him. And as far as I know, Madrid is the capital of Spain, so he certainly was no leader in Sweden.

    As for not receiving political support you are demonstrably wrong. He got released from Cuba in record time, in contrast the other guy that was released with him already served the first three years of his sentence for drug trafficking in Cuba. Also he got his old, publicly funded job back regardless of being a convicted felon technically serving a four year sentence, regardless of the political impact to the counselor he is advising. Don’t you think that requires some serious backing?

    2. I don’t take kindly being told I’m a liar so either mind your words or post the evidence I’m lying if you want a civil debate. I just quoted the exact words elpais used to report the issue, if you think they are wrong complain to them. Also, four years in jail for a criminal offense resulting in death is usually more than enough to get someone fired from a public position (or any job really).

    3. You obviously do not understand that the offense happened in Cuba and Cuban laws are the one applying in this case. The agreement is for serving the sentence in the home country, not for a retrial according to the local laws, so your point is moot.

    As for the electronic tag being a breach in the agreement, I’m not a lawyer so I can’t said for sure, but according with Cuba law you must serve at least 1/3 of your jail sentence before being eligible to a different mode. So, yes, it looks like at the very least they are breaking the spirit of the agreement.

    4. I don’t have a problem with an independent investigation, my point is that the only “evidence” of foul play came from tainted sources (declarations from the perpetrator itself) and is not backed by existing evidence (like the pictures of the car wreck).

    Same thing with alleged death threats from the victim: do you have any evidence of said threats besides Paya own words? Don’t you think that a professional dissident would have the means to record the threats and use that evidence to reinforce his case?

    5. Not exactly. If the government would have something to hide, it would have at least tried to keep her inside of the country in a position where they have control of her actions. They didn’t, so they risked any damage she could do unchecked and that means they didn’t have any nefarious thing to hide or that they are confident they can prove their innocence on this matter.

    6. Monitoring Carromero and Modig trip is a prerogative of the Cuban government and there is nothing particularly wrong with it. From their POV, both of them were foreign agents that went to Cuba with the wrong visas to stir trouble and promote government change, so is their duty to know about their whereabouts.

    But regardless of your opinion, two inexperienced agents traveling with a waning dissident figure does not require constant monitoring because regardless of their actions they would be a negligible threat to Cuban interests. Not to mention that they probably already knew where they were going and with who they were going to meet.

    As for your last point, you answer it yourself. If they wanted to make an example they could have simply arrested both foreigners with charges of conspiracy to overthrow the government, confiscate all the assets in their possession and deport them after a short while in prison to give them a taste of what they are risking.

    That would be totally legal under international law and would achieve the same goal of discouraging this behavior in the future without the potential implications of an assassination scandal. So, yes, get back to your tinfoilery if it makes you happier, but a sane person would require a little more before taking those allegations seriously.

  • March 11, 2013 at 8:44 am
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    CORRECTION: (re: 1.) Carromero was not number two in the Nuevas Generaciones hierarchy at the Madrid regional level, but never actually more than number THREE behind the regional chapter’s president and the secretary general. Carromero was deputy secretary general. The only organisation of which he was ever a genuine political leader was the NNGG club of his local city borough of Salamanca.

  • March 11, 2013 at 8:15 am
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    1. You make him a “Leader of the New Generations youth wing of the PP in Spain” when in fact he was (at best) number two at NNGG’s regional chapter of Madrid! Not a leader “in Spain”, not even a board member of NNGG at the national level. In my understanding, a “career politician leader” would not only be known to more people than his local party youth mates, but at least be elected to maybe his first minor public office on a regional if not national level. Once again: Not only the general public and the opposition parties are now strongly against him, he receives absolutely no sign of political support even from within his own party that I am aware of (save for retired loose cannon Aguirre and to a much lesser degree AC’s role-model friend Pablo Casado). No lone outcast can expect to start a political career simply by declaring himself a hero, if that’s what you suggest.

    2. First you lied about him getting his job “in order to be released” as if he had ever lost it, now you suggest AC should never have been allowed to keep his long-held job (which didn’t require any formal qualifications, whether we like it or not). But on what reasonable legal grounds should he have been fired? The public hate campaign against him? Please!

    3. I didn’t say the crime didn’t exist in Spain, only that you don’t go to prison under comparable circumstances: Carromero’s Cuban sentence came to four of a maximum of ten years (40 %). Get the same percentage of your Spanish law’s maximum of four years (that is less than two years) and you don’t have to serve your sentence in prison but walk free on probation — you don’t even get an electronic tag! As for your weird suggestion that AC’s electronic tagging constitutes a breach of the Spanish-Cuban agreement: The agreement logically includes that repatriated convicts serve their sentence according to established rules of their HOME state’s penal system. There was and will be no retrial, much less a Cuban claim of any breach of legal agreement.

    4. If dissidents are not the only people suffering strange accidents, does that mean that there can be absolutely no reason to investigate independently? Does it not matter if the victim has a history of death threats and if the authorities explicitly branded him a public enemy?

    5. Rosa María Payá’s trip is irrelevant. She and her mother said the same things already in Havana, and the international reaction was just as minimal as it is now, even with AC’s and Modig’s statements on the record. Had the Cubans kept preventing her from travelling (like they had been consistently until the travel reform came into effect) they would have raised more suspicion than by letting her go. That she is now free to travel like (almost) everybody else was no news. Nobody is interested in Oswaldo Payá’s death any more. People like you have been very successful in spreading and repeating lies and half-truths about the case since July.

    6. The Payá family’s pronouncements as such have no legal weight — at least as long as they cannot even present the Spanish judiciary with a sworn statement by Carromero affirming his original version of being hit by another car and explaining what or who made him lie while in Cuba. We’re talking about reasonable doubt as grounds for an independent investigation to come up with verifiable or at least credible answers to unanswered questions raised by a number of people involved (or quoted). That Payá’s and the two Europeans’ trip should NOT have been monitored by state security agents remains quite incredible, for starters. Not only given the unexplained fact that state security publicly reported his leaving Havana on Twitter that very Sunday at dawn. (http://www.oswaldopaya.org/es/up/twit-yoha1.png) Do you think Cuban state security would be THAT incompetent and irresponsible?

    If everything is so far beyond any doubt, shouldn’t it be the Cuban government’s position to promote the idea of an independent international investigation? If only to expose the maliciousness of the internal opposition and their ‘fascist’ backers abroad, once and for all? Not with cheap rhetoric or dubious videos of statements made under threat of a long jail sentence but with credible facts. In the absence of government cooperation, it may very well be impossible to come up with any proof either way. I’m not saying it must have been a planned assassination, just that too many points don’t add up.

    BTW, in Germany, some perfectly unsuspicious fatal car accidents were only years later found out to have been likely political assassinations once the remnants of the former GDR’s state security archives became accessible, yielding some surprising documents. There is no convincing reason to assume that the experts at Cuba’s MININT would never have used similar methods like the ones practiced and shared by their East German Stasi colleagues — who for decades were close collaborators of Cuban state security.

    Should all of this reek too much of wacky conspiracy theory, just return for a moment to my earlier suggestion that, whatever really happened that 22 July, a central mid- to long-term objective of the Cuban government was definitively achieved by exposing, parading and scaring away foreign supporters of the Cuban opposition — like Modig, Carromero and dozens of mainly unidentified volunteers before them. More and repeated public debate about potential state security involvement in the Payá case only serves to underline the danger awaiting anybody brave or foolish enough to provoke state security by meeting with dissidents while visiting Cuba on a tourist visa. We all know (and both young Europeans were no doubt forcefully reminded while under arrest) that under Cuban law, this can lead you to jail for much longer than four years. For its international image, the Cuban government clearly has no interest in actually applying its existing draconian laws against the opposition. They still remember the worldwide and enduring political backlash of Fidel’s 2003 Black Spring overreaction to political pressure. To Raúl Castro, Carromero and Modig are far more useful in Europe talking freely about their traumatic experience as uncovered foreign agents. Which proves nothing, but still makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?

  • March 10, 2013 at 9:49 am
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    1. You are playing with half truths. He went to Cuba as a Leader of the New Generations wing of the PP in Spain. You call that relatively unknown position and you may or may not be be right, but he certainly was a career politician. The hate towards him was not because of his involvement with Paya’s death, after all most of the Span people didn’t know or care about Paya.

    The hate for Carromero came for the PP actions after he was in Spain. After spending a MONTH in prison, he was reinstated in his old job with a salary of 50000 eur as a technical advisor of the council in Moratalaz. That in a country with a 25% unemployment rate and granted to a person without any qualification whatsoever.

    If his friends can do that much for a convicted felon, if he manage to shift the blame to the Cuban government and set himself as hero in the fight for democracy involved in a totalitarian complot, restarting his career is not that difficult, specially since he already resumed his old position despite of all the hate.

    2. This is the reference from elpais

    http://elpais.com/elpais/2013/01/15/inenglish/1358270329_887401.html

    Quote “The reason he was granted partial release is that Carromero had a job waiting for him; his old job, as a technical advisor to local councilor Begoña Larráinzar in the Madrid neighborhood of Moratalaz.

    Carromero, a leader of the New Generations youth wing of the governing Popular Party (PP), earns 50,000 euros a year in the post and has two assistants himself, despite having no degree. He has been affiliated with the PP since he was 23 years old.”

    Read again: the reason for his release was precisely his old job as an advisor. The fact that he didn’t have any qualification for the position and he was a convicted felon involved in the death of two of the people he went to assist meant nothing.

    3, You are simply ignoring Spanish law. Take a look at the following article regarding the penal code reform of 2007 (BOE 288 / 01.12.2007) concerning reckless driving causing death or injuries:

    http://www.decuetoabogados.com/la-conduccion-imprudente-sera-considerada-homicidio/

    “Therefore, the prosecutor emphasized that road safety is intended to “increase the penal response” and pointed out that the offense of reckless homicide is punishable by a prison sentence of one to four years and serious injuries, such as damage spinal cord or brain, with three months to three years in prison.”

    So here we go, in Spain he would get 1 to 4 years in prison for the same crime. But thats irrelevant, because the accident happened in Cuba, so the Cuban laws are the one that apply. The agreement is to serve the jail time in the home country, not to retry the felon according to Spanish laws.

    4. All that while you conveniently ignore that in Cuba people drive like madmen and their cars are in bad shape, so accidents involving cars losing brakes, drunk drivers, streets in bad shape, poor signals, poor lightning, etc are common amongst the general population, not only dissidents. Make a quick google search and you will see how many notorious people from singers to sportsmen have died in car accidents over there.

    5. Yet the same Cuban government could have easily denied Rosa Maria the permit to travel. It doesn’t look like they were specially trying to keep the main actors under control, what reinforces my opinion that they are not trying to hide any nefarious truth,

    6. She is quoting an unnamed source without any backing evidence whatsoever citing a state security officer reading loudly in a public location inculpating material. Yeah, right, Notice that no reputed news source publicized said declarations as facts, only that the family had doubts about the official statements and they did that for a reason.

    But nonetheless that declaration is quite interesting by itself and cast a bigger shadow in Carromero’s account of the accident. If we consider her allegations at face value, the red Lada was traveling parallel to Carromero’s car when it “got ahead of the rest” and entered the unpaved portion of the road. From this statement, the mysterious red Lada couldn’t possibly ram Carromero’s car from behind.

    So even in the worst case scenario, the red Lada scared Carromero that floored the gas and entered the unpaved road too fast, lost control of the vehicle and crashed.

    Now, the obvious objections to this account:

    First, there were too many eyewitness to silence. It was bad enough to try this stunt with two foreigners hostile to the Cuba government already in the car, but silencing at least 5 national eyewitness would been a very hard task indeed.

    Second, she said that the people of the red Lada were the first responders. If they were state security officers and indirectly responsible for the accident, the first thing they would have done is preventing Modig from sending the SMS. Modig was allegedly sleeping, so he transitioned from slept to stunned by the accident to hearing Carromero’s word and then he sent the message. That takes at least a few minutes, by then the red Lada occupants would have reached the wreck already.

    So, lets get things clear. According to Rosa Maria statements:

    -The state security was at least indirectly responsible for the accident
    -They failed to prevent Modig from sending the SMS even when they were the first responders and rescued both of them from thee wreck
    -They may have killed Harold (a complete nobody) in cold blood in the way to the hospital, but for some obscure reason didn’t do the same to the more immediate threat: the two foreigners.
    -The accident happened in front of too many eyewitness to silence, so sooner or later it would have leaked.
    -They discussed loudly their nefarious plans in a public location
    -They took Modig declaration and let him go (they could have detained him until the trial)
    -They convicted Carromero and let him go to Spain to serve his term
    -They allow Rosa Maria to leave the country to stir trouble in the case

    Don’t you see that something doesn’t quite match? Something like chronic incompetence? Have you heard of Cuban state security being THAT incompetent in 50 years?

  • March 9, 2013 at 8:03 pm
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    Your skepticism is perfectly welcome, but your twisting of whatever little of the facts we do know leads to doubts about your sincerity:

    1- You suggest Carromero wants “to restart his political career”, when in fact he was an unknown party youth official before and is now Spain’s single most hated and ridiculed public sector employee! Nothing is more improbable than an elected office for this guy, or even public visibility. He is far more likely to depend on protection from his political friends for the rest of his life. And it’s quite clear that his party friends in government (including the Foreign Minister) want him to shut up about Cuba.

    2- You claim Carromero got his job “in order to get him released”, when
    in fact he had held the very same job for several years! That his salary
    level has always been way above his qualification has nothing to do
    with the Payá case, but adds to the general feeling that he must be a
    highly objectionable person.

    3- You say he should spend the four years in jail as if he were a dangerous and anti-social criminal or as if that was part of the agreement between Spain and Cuba, when in fact he meets all the legally defined prerequesites of open-regime detention (not even taking into account that in Spain nobody goes to jail for involuntary manslaughter in a car accident unless some form of aggravating factor like alcohol is involved). BTW, the other convicted Spaniard who left Cuba on the same flight together with Carromero will also have to serve his remaining sentence according to whatever Spanish detention regime is applicable to his specific crime (drug trafficking), probably less easily eligible for open-regime detention than anyone convicted for involuntary manslaughter.

    4- You keep alleging Carromero talked of a “high speed” car chase, when in fact he said that following instructions by Payá, he was careful not to give police any reason to stop him — quite the opposite of speeding. And you ignore several documented instances of suspicious car collisions that Cuban dissidents have suffered (not one proven assassination attempt, but plenty of reason for doubt). In fact Payá and his wife were hit when travelling in their own car in Havana only weeks before his death: http://www.oswaldopaya.org/es/2012/07/28/%C2%BFpor-que-pedimos-una-investigacion-transparente-en-muerte-de-paya-odca-organizacion-democrata-cristiana-de-america/

    5- You suggest Rosa María Payá can only travel outside Cuba because of some sort of material benefit from the scandal surrounding her father’s death, while in fact many of her close family live abroad, including her uncle Carlos Payá who she is now staying with in Madrid. Cubans travelling abroad are almost always invited by family or friends living abroad. Political activism has been more likely to lead to the denial of Cuban travel permits than any other reason. The recent easing of Cuban travel restrictions is a much better explanation for Rosa María’s ability to travel now than any cynical notion of “benefit” from her father’s death.

    6- You say Payá’s widow didn’t say anything about any hospital, when in fact mother Ofelia and daughter Rosa María even held an international media conference with lots of detail as early as 1 August (and have been telling basically the same story ever since): http://translatingcuba.com/news-conference-by-rosa-maria-paya-acevedo-regarding-her-fathers-death-rosa-maria-paya-acevedo/

    Nobody asks you to trust Carromero’s words alone. It’s just that many aspects surrounding the events of that 22 July still remain very much in doubt and were never addressed by any official statement, much less by an independent investigation — an investigation the Spanish government for some reason does not want to see.

  • March 9, 2013 at 12:11 pm
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    This is not the Spanish Government statement back then when Carromero was tried, this is a official declaration from this week. As for the treaty, I seriously doubt Cuba will keep it, after all Carromero is not only already free without serving the sentence, he got a well payed council advisor job in order to get him released, and that means that Spain is not willing to uphold their end of the deal, so why Cuba should?

    I don’t know whether the Cuban authorities knew or not about the SMS, but I refer to Modig declarations this week:

    http://www.martinoticias.com/content/article/20133.html

    Translating and quoting

    “Aron Modig, one of the survivors of the crash that cost their lives Osvaldo Paya and Harold Cepero on 22 July, broke his silence of seven months on Tuesday and said he had sent the text message to his friends in Sweden where Angel Carromero told him that a car’s took them out of the road”

    “I do not remember what happened, but I don’t doubt Rosa Maria Paya is saying what Angel told her nor her other sources”

    So, at least get it right: this is the first time Modig confirms sending the SMS and he is saying that he just forwarded what Carromero said caused the accident but he himself can’t confirm the content. Thats all. The only source of suspicion about the accident is a something that Carromero said to Modig immediately after the accident. Blindly trusting that single source requires a lot of faith, specially since Carromero can’t even remember hitting a tree.

    Back to Paya’s widow, take a look at her actual declarations:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-19033145

    She said absolutely nothing regarding any hospital, her only source of suspicion is said SMS received and the deny of access to Carromero.

    And I wasn’t wrong regarding Carromero driving record, he got a 510 eur ticket for going at more than 50% of the speed limit and he had other infractions that resulted in losing all points in his license. Thats a FACT. What you said is that it wasn’t that bad because he was barely going ~20 km/h above the regular speed limit and conveniently forgetting that it was 45 Km/h over the limit that applied to HIM.

    And I’m not wrong either about Paya family profiting form Paya’s death, after all the daughter IS currently touring Spain. Do you know how hard do you have to work in Cuba to pay for such trip? Do you think that if she weren’t Paya’s daughter and in the middle of a potential scandal she could even afford it?

    The thing is, what you call perfectly reasonable doubts I call a load of bollocks. Show me some hard facts that I or someone trustworthy can independently confirm and I will reevaluate my position.

    So far the ONLY source of suspicion about the official account of the accident is an out of court statement of the culprit. And thats a fact that you can verify by yourself simply reading the links posted in both articles.

    You can’t even blame me of not taking his statements seriously, I spend a lot of time making a detailed analysis of the available picture of the crashed car and couldn’t find ANY evidence of a rear impact at high speed.

    In the other hand, I can see how Carromero personally benefits from casting doubt of the trial: for starters he could get an early release instead of spending the 4 years in jail as it should, then he can blame the death of Paya and Cepero to a nefarious Cuban conspiracy and make the public forget the BIG TIME failure of killing the people he went to help so he can restart his political career.

    So yes, paint me skeptical but I can’t trust his word alone.

  • March 9, 2013 at 8:49 am
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    You know full well that for Carromero and the Spanish government getting him out of Cuba was the one overriding priority. Try to read their official statements taking that objective into account. BTW, Margallo now says he’s currently trying to get four more Spaniards out of Cuba.

    Do you have any explanation why those SMS messages were not mentioned in the official investigation report presented by the Cuban authorities? If only to clear up the doubts publicly raised by Payá’s family who you claim are not interested in the truth. In which legal system would it not be considered relevant and worthy of investigation (not necessarily true) what the driver communicates to his close friends a few hours after the event?

    And please drop the wrong dichotomy of necessarily either “perfectly normal accident due to reckless driving” or “planned assassination attempt on two dissidents”, as if Payá’s family had ever claimed to have clear-cut evidence of the latter. It’s just that they haven’t received a single piece of explanation accounting for any of the numerous open questions they have raised since July. In effect, you are accusing Payá’s widow of lying about the information she received from her friends at the Bayamo hospital and in Europe. You were wrong when you believed Carromero was a notoriously dangerous driver lying about his experience with Cuban interrogators and you are wrong again believing Ofelia Acevedo to be a pathetic liar, “certainly profiting” from her husband’s death. in both cases, you allow your political preference to block out perfectly reasonable doubts based on facts.

  • March 8, 2013 at 5:19 pm
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    Moses, the only information about those alleged threats come from come from Paya itself. Can you provide any material evidence of said threats beside common gossip? Can you provide evidence of the government killing any opposition member? Short answer: no.

    Your whole argument rests in the assumption that Cuba is a dictatorship known for killing people at will. Sorry, but thats not the case, if you think I’m wrong, please provide evidence of said assassinations. And just to be clear, executions after a trial are not the same as assassination.

    As for Carromero’s case, the suspicion comes from a SMS Modig sent abroad and was forwarded to Paya’s daughter. You could think that the content of the SMS was eyewitness testimony, but you would be wrong. As he said after arriving home, he was slept at the time of the accident and what he sent is what Carromero said happen and quote “and I did not had any reason to doubt his word”. Thats it, Just second hand hearsay.

    If you think that the Cuban government would choose to execute someone as harmless as Paya in front of foreign eyewitness, or consider them ruthless enough to carry on the execution but not so to allow the survival and release of the foreign survivors, that Modig would slept under a high speed chase and that a car hit them from behind at that without leaving any scratch whatsoever, I have a nice bridge to sell you for cheap.

    Also, Spanish official position remains the same:

    http://politica.elpais.com/politica/2013/03/06/actualidad/1362572288_406465.html

    Translating and quoting the relevant parts:

    “The Spanish side recognizes the due process of law and, therefore, the legitimacy of the ruling by the Cuban court.

    Moreover, diplomatic sources have no data that questions the official version of the accident. In fact, in the trial in October in Bayamo, Carromero defense did not raise the involvement of a second vehicle in the accident, and based its defense on denying that he was driving too fast and bad signaling in the road.”

  • March 8, 2013 at 12:40 pm
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    AC, please keep in mind that the Castros had made threats against Paya’s like before and on at least one occasion, appeared to try to make good on those threats. Is it so far-fetched to you that the dictatorship simply made good on these threats? The fact is that if the Cuban government is to blame for this tragic accident, no one should be surprised. We may disagree at to whether or not Paya posed a threat to the Castros but I hope you can understand that this regime enjoys making examples of dissidents, influential or not, as a means of suppressing the growth of the dissident movement. How else can you explain the increase in repressive acts? Estimates range but it is conservative to say that more than 300 dissident arrests and detentions took place in February alone. These are not people who are breaking into other peoples homes nor robbing liquor stores. These are people who are doing what you and I are doing now…expressing ourselves. Like the second Kennedy shooter on the grassy knoll, we may never know if Carromero was lying then or now. What we do know is that Castro’s Cuba is capable of this and worse.

  • March 8, 2013 at 6:50 am
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    Sorry, but the family was 800 km away from the site of the accident and the only evidence they had is the mysterious SMS sent from Sweden. Call me cynical if you must, but they never were that interested in the truth of the case and they certainly are profiting from it.

    Apparently that SMS is the only evidence they need to convince them that Paya was assassinated by the government. They not only dismissed immediately the official version, they not even presented charges against Carromero and summarily dismissed the findings of a dissident group that sent immediately some of their members from Bayamo to the place of the accident and came to the same conclusion than the government.

    But you are right, with that kind of friends and a family actively encouraging and supporting the direct responsible for the accident, Paya seems to have lived a sad life indeed.

  • March 8, 2013 at 4:48 am
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    The ironic part is that when facing Spanish MPs a few days ago, FM García-Margallo boasted of his “close friendship” with Oswaldo Payá. However, ever since his friend’s death Margallo has chosen to ignore every single piece of relevant evidence or testimony Payá’s family has presented on the murky circumstances, promoting the official Cuban government version instead that leaves so many open questions unanswered. Wow, I couldn’t imagine a closer friend…

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