HAVANA TIMES — The US government joined the calls for an “independent” investigation of the death of Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya, which Havana blames on a traffic accident caused by a young Spanish politician who was driving the vehicle, reported dpa news.
“The United States supports the calls for an independent international investigation into the circumstances that led to the death of Oswaldo Paya and Harold Cepero in Cuba,” said State Department spokesperson, Victoria Nuland.
“The Cuban people and the families of these two activists deserve a clear and credible report on the circumstances that led to their tragic deaths,” she added. At the same time, she reiterated Washington’s continued support of the “right of all Cubans to speak in defense of human rights and democracy. “
The State Department statement came after several initiatives from US lawmakers in recent days to have an investigation called into the deaths of the two dissidents involved in the accident in July of last year.
The Paya family, had previously called into question the official version of a speeding accident.
On Monday, a bipartisan group of senators sent a letter to the Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), Emilio Alvarez Icaza, asking that body to investigate “without delay” the death of Paya and Cepero.
“We ask that the Commission to initiate an investigation into the disturbing death of Cuban political reformer Oswaldo Paya, who along with young activist Harold Cepero, died in a suspicious car accident on July 22, 2012 in Bayamo, Cuba,” asked the senators.
The letter was signed by Republican Senators Marco Rubio, Mark Kirk, John McCain and the Democrats Richard Durbin, Benjamin Cardin, Bill Nelson, Robert Menendez and Mark Warner, who said they had taken this decision in view of growing doubts about the official version of the incident.
In addition to the Paya family, who from the beginning doubted that Carromero was responsible for the death of the leader of the Varela Project, the defendant himself, who was extradited to Spain in December to serve the remainder of the sentence in his country, said in an interview published in The Washington Post earlier this month that the incident occurred when another car intentionally rammed his vehicle.
“Oswaldo Paya was a brave man who tried to peacefully advocate greater political freedom for his Cuban brothers and sisters and it increasingly seems that effort paid for this with his life,” the senators said in their letter.
In addition, last week, one of the senators who wrote to the commission, Bill Nelson (D), also called on United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to conduct an “independent investigation” into the death of Paya.
The late dissident’s daughter, Rosa Maria Paya, has asked in various international forums for an independent investigation of what happened.