Two months after arriving in Spain and seven months after the car crash in which dissidents Oswaldo Paya and Harold Cepero died, Spanish Partido Popular activist Angel Carromero has spoken out – to a Washington Post opinion writer who posed a series of basic questions. Carromero declared that he “could not live, being complicit through my silence,” and “it’s not my intention to go on talking about this traumatic experience.” He says he took lessons from USAID contractor Alan Gross’ experience, and relates that his statements on tape and at trial in Cuba were made for expediency, to have a chance to get home.
His version: that their car, which he was driving, was followed by a car that Paya and Cepero identified as being “from ‘la comunista,’” whatever that is, and was rammed and driven off the road by that car. His memories are not intact; for example he says that only after returning to Spain did he recall that he and Swedish activist Aron Modig, who was in the passenger seat, had sent text messages after the accident. He ascribes his memory gaps, which continue to this day, to the accident itself and to drugs that he alleges to have been administered to him during his captivity.
Modig, for his part, told the press in Sweden, “I do not remember what happened” and he has “no reasons to doubt” Carromero’s account.
There’s lots of background on this side of the story and the Cuban official account here.
Carromero might quite understandably want to close this chapter in his life rather than wage a public battle. Also, some suggest that he is under pressure to keep quiet. Either way, his conduct to date has frustrated those that most want to pin Paya’s death on the Cuban government, and the presentation of the case – slow, late, and piecemeal, with Modig consistently useless – has limited its impact. My strong guess is that skeptics of both accounts are not going to get satisfaction.