Cuba: Angel Carromero and His Bucket of Water

Haroldo Dilla Alfonso*

The car driven by Angel Carromero in which Oswaldo Paya and Harold Cepero died.

HAVANA TIMES — The latest statements by Angel Carromero recanting everything he previously affirmed, seems to me — to be compassionate — something quite sad.

Whether a crime was committed or he had an accident on that afternoon in Bayamo is something known only by God and those involved. I can’t assure anything with certainty.

But I must say very clearly that I think, from the beginning up until now, there has been no consistent data provided that indicates Oswaldo Paya was murdered.

I fully understand his family, reacting to the harassment they’ve been subjected to for many years, along with the Cuban government’s refusal to allow an independent investigation.

The first thing is something the government always does, but the second is never allowed. Yet there’s still is no evidence that a murder was committed.

Nevertheless, I do believe that the family has the absolute right to request an independent investigation and that the Cuban government should, in the name of decency, be obligated to allow that.

The unfortunate death of Oswaldo Paya is another example of the morbidities that come with the lack of information openness in Cuba and the lack of independent response channels.

Although the Cuban government acted to provide rapid and technically supported information on the facts of the incident, I don’t think it was sufficient for anyone, if we consider that Paya was always considered an enemy and harassed accordingly.

Later, the passions on the other side began running high with allegations of Le Carré-style conspiracies, and the supposed discoveries of Photoshop altered images (as if the experts of the Cuban security services were so stupid as to be surprised by amateur Internet surfers) and traces of Tweets whose existence ultimately no one could guarantee.

But again, I don’t think there was a murder, if even only for one reason: Taking into account Paya’s visibility and the urgencies of the Cuban government, it would have been the type of action that produced more problems than benefits. Put in terms of Talleyrand, it would have been — worse than a crime — a political mistake.

Later, there was a chain of events that, at the least, make us doubt the alleged criminal plot.

First, there was the refusal of the Swedish passenger involved to say a single word. It was as if he’d been asleep for eight hours during a trip reported to be continually harassed by state security cars.

Then, how can one explain that if the Cuban government had sought to commit this murder it had practiced a crude Japanese check-up by intimidating them over the eight hours journey, providing every opportunity for complaints and reports of those actions.

After this, all Carromero said on camera, at the trial and with all the opportunity he had to say something — was that the accident was the result of poor road conditions and the lack of proper warning signs.

He didn’t say anything else, even in his most absolute intimacy, when he had the opportunity to speak. This remained the case even during the first weeks that a well-behaved Carromero spent in Spain under very mild restrictions of liberty.

What this conservative Partido Popular Party kid is currently saying confirms my suspicions. Now, this international gladiator for democracy has changed his entire statement, which he alleges was initially obtained under duress, with him drugged and housed in a “creepy” cell in a Bayamo infirmary – where he had flush his toilet with a bucket full of water.

What’s more, he says he’s prompted now by his inability to remain complicit in his own silence.

Carromero has just stated that he was the victim in this affair – not a perpetrator. And with this, he has just taken a step forward in getting a slight reduction in his already light prison sentence, a situation he considers unfair and hopes “won’t last long,” which is a legitimate concern of each defendant. But this wasn’t sufficient reason to change his statement.

I’m not stopping with Carromero’s arguments and the story he’s telling. Readers should read it for themselves, and even watch the video of his confession, in order to draw their own conclusions.

Carromero was, and still is, a bad joke of the European right – a toxic gift that had tremendous costs: the lives of two opposition activists, including one of its most respected leaders. Nevertheless, now he wants to keep earning himself a place in the spotlight with a shaky story full of holes.

Let’s support the Paya family in their just demand for an independent inquiry and let this poor boy go on his way, wishing him better luck than the bucket full of water that he had to use in that Bayamo infirmary.

(*) Published originally in Spanish by


8 thoughts on “Cuba: Angel Carromero and His Bucket of Water

  • Still flogging this dead horse, Humberto? When will you learn?

    Anyway, in the above video at 0:15, we see the wreckage of the car (left side), its rear-end in the grass overhanging the edge of a canal (right side shown at 5:10). The left side of the rear bumper is protruding, probably due to the impact with the tree. Seen from the rear at 0:22, there does not appear to have been any impact from the rear. These stills look like official police photos of the crash scene.

    In what appears to be a relatively grainy TV news video starting at 5:00, the car had apparently been moved to the roadside to be towed away. You can see that the front bumper shown in other shots had already been removed at that point, for example. No great “conspiracy” here, Humberto.

    Remember, your man, top dissident Elizardo Sanchez, even sent two of his own man to investigate the crash scene. They more or less confirmed the police reports. Yeah, I know, they are ALL a part of the “conspiracy”, right, Humberto?

  • Haroldo’s analysis makes a lot of sense to me.

  • Thank you, ac, for debunking the right-wing, second car myth.

  • These speculations from the peanut gallery seem to be cut from the same cloth as those who believe “9/11 was an Inside Job!” As in science, the simplest solution is the most elegant. The simplest solution in the Paya case is that Carromero, again driving too fast and recklessly, as was his wont back in Spain, cuased the death of Paya and his comrade by driving too fast for conditions. Carromero’s recantation confirms his re equivocation and failure to take responsibility. That the Cuban authorities would concoct such a scheme of assassination is ludicrous. As that endearing old rogue Talleyrand stated: “it would have been–worse than a crime–a political mistake!” (It is unclear. Did Dilla–or Tallyrand–say this? Sound like something Talleyrand would have said!)

  • There is no dent from the right side at 5:03, the only visible damage is the trunk partially open and thats the same as shown in the official picture. Notice that the video is of even poorer quality than the picture and you can’t see very well any details; even the well light officer in the middle is blurry like hell. In any case the right shot of the car is shown at 5:13 in better lighting and doesn’t show any sign of impact.from that direction.

  • Moses, if you stop the video of the Cuban “government” video below @ 5:03 there is
    a shot of the rear bumper showing a dent in the right hand side. How could this
    have happened if the car crashed against the tree on the opposite side? Looks
    like another car hit it from the rear! You can see manipulated photo of the rear
    bumper showing a very shiny and inconsistent texture due to a poor photoshop job
    on the right side @ 0.22 seconds into the video unlike that @ 5:03

    YOUTUBE: CUBADEBATE: Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas: Testimonios sobre el accidente-
    Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas: Testimonies about the accident.

  • The problem is that a bump at high speed leaves some traces in both cars and the pictures released did not show anything remotely similar in the crashed one. And even when is true that you don’t need much force to destabilize a vehicle at high speed, most lada bumpers are made of stainless steel while the Hyundai’s was plastic. Regardless of the speed it would have left a visible scratch and thats not the case.

  • The problem with lying and then telling the truth is that the truth suffers from the lie and not the other way around. Haroldo fails to consider the possibility that incompetent State Security agents tasked with simply harassing the Paya vehicle, a common practice, became overzealous in their assigment and decided to bump the blue sedan from the rear. After such a bump, at high speeds on bad roads with less than adequate driving skills, a nervous Carromero could have then understandably lost control of his vehicle and slammed into the tree. It would not take a significant amount of force from the State vehicle to destabilize the Paya vehicle. Not leaving easily discernible markings on the rear bumper in no way proves the car was not pushed. Finally,a tangential comment: without empirical evidence to support my claim, but due to anecdotal experience with the deplorable state of indoor plumbing in Cuba, I estimate that 25% of Cuban toilets are flushed by pouring a bucket of water in the bowl. Carromero’s experience in his “creepy’ jail cell is simply life in the ‘real’ Cuba.

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