Thursday, August 23, 2012

More on the Paya crash

Here’s some more information and allegations about the July 22 car crash that killed Oswaldo Paya and Harold Cepero; for more, plow through this set of posts.

Europa Press reports that Swedish activist Jens Aron Modig, fully back in the swing of things in Stockholm, sent an e-mail to the family of Oswaldo Paya on August 17 to express his condolences.  His recollections of the accident were “fragmentary,” he said.  It came three days after Paya’s daughter tweeted: “‘I don’t know, I don’t remember’ is all Modig can say about the death of my father and Harold.  For how long?”

El Mundo (but no other Spanish media) reports that Partido Popular activist Angel Carromero will go on trial August 31 in Bayamo.

Paya’s widow Ofelia Acevedo continues to reject the Cuban government’s account of the crash, advancing her own version and calling for an independent investigation.  In recent interviews with Europa Press and Madrid’s ABC newspaper she has said that:

·         Carromero was not speeding at the time of the accident and he should be freed and returned to Spain;

·         she will not attend the trial, “not even to testify on Carromero’s behalf,” as the Europa Press reporter puts it, presuming that the decision to testify would be hers;

·         information from witnesses tells her that a red Lada was traveling parallel to Paya’s car, and the family is “convinced there was a pursuit [by another car]”

·         her “information and evidence” comes from multiple sources around the crash scene and at the hospital;

·         she cannot reveal the witnesses’ names for fear of reprisal;

·         she has no way to present her information officially to the court; and

·         a text message from one of the Europeans “to his colleagues” [in Europe, presumably] said that their car was being followed and was “rammed several times.”

Acevedo also says that reports about the revocation of his drivers license are “news media manipulation,” and “one would have to see” if Carromero had a record of speeding in Spain.  In fact, there was no manipulation.   Spanish newspapers reported what was in public records: a May 18, 2012 published announcement that Carromero’s license was to be revoked, and municipal records of speeding and other violations.

At this point, is anyone out there getting the feeling that this event will never be fully clarified to everyone’s satisfaction? 

Havana is hardly likely to allow an independent investigation, least of all under pressure, of a case that in its view boils down to a driver error that killed two Cuban citizens.  The Cuban government has the opportunity to disclose lots of information at trial and after trial, although that would not satisfy those who view it as illegitimate, right down to the provincial police traffic division.

Meanwhile the Paya family and Oswaldo Paya’s colleagues in Spain are presenting dramatic allegations backed by almost none of the information and evidence they claim to have.  If their priority is to protect witnesses or wait for an independent international investigation to occur, that’s their business.  But the result is that their case is thin and hard to judge.  It’s natural to question why, if they believe Carromero is bring framed and want to prevent it, they don’t give a full written presentation of their case to Cuban prosecutors and to the public.  It’s also hard to envision a core event in their case taking place: a briefing by police, who are Interior Ministry officers, in a public or non-secure location in the Bayamo hospital on the day of the crash where Paya’s friends could listen in (and supposedly hear witnesses’ statements about the red Lada, etc.)  Whatever its other virtues, Cuba’s Interior Ministry is not known for casual sharing of information.    


Anonymous said...

Dear mr. Peters,

I am no fan of the Cuban security services and beieve they are utterly without scruples and quite willing to go to any length to carry out policies that benefit the Cuban totalitarian regime.

But there is one thing that I am not willing to accuse them of and that is of being stupid.

It would have been absolutely imbecilic for them to have carried out an accident to kill those that traveled in Paya's car and then allowed two of them, who happen to be foreign citizens, to remain alive so that they could testify against them.

I believe that Paya's car was being shadowed by security and that Paya, his Cuban colleague and Modig and Carromero were going to be arrested just as soon as the security forces could detect what they were up to and who they were going to contact at the destination of their trip and that the accident stopped this from taking place.

Why look for silly and contradictory plots when a simpler hypothesis adequately and logically explains what occurred?

Knowing the modus operandi of the security forces, what is more logical to suppose than that Paya and his companions were being followed, that a bust was planned when they reached their destination and contacted the opposition figures that were waiting for them, and that the whole bust plan fell apart due to the random occurrence of an unexpected traffic accident?

The Cuan security forces already have a great number of crimes to answer for.

There is no need to make up new fantastic and illogical accusations that all they accomplish is to discredit whoever utters them.


HayCojones said...

As for reports on Carromero's speeding record and his driving licence, you say "there was no manipulation". I believe there was at least some degree of exaggeration or bias. Reading the Spanish press reports carefully, only TWO incidences of speeding were of any relevance for the loss of his licence: one in January of 2010 and another one in January of 2012. He lost 6 points for the first (major) and 2 for the second (relatively minor) infraction. Accumulating 8 penalty points within three years can be enough for a suspension of the licence, according to this official explanation of the points system. None of the press reports I have been able to find mentions any other speeding or other infraction that would have been relevant to the suspension of Carromero's licence (by incurring penalty points). In that light, most reports -- including this summary on The Cuban Triangle -- that dwell on the huge amount Carromero paid for (mainly parking) tickets but prefer not to mention the fairly limited number of TWO licence-relevant infractions since January 2010 could indeed be seen as less than objective, if not outright "news media manipulation".