By Victoria Smith. for Rock Around the Blockade
On 22 July, Oswaldo Paya died in a car accident on the Las Tunas-Bayamo highway in the proximity of Las Gabinas, Granma Province. Paya was a leading member of the counter-revolutionary organisation Christian Liberation Movement, a group that has been involved in trying to destabilise the socialist government of Cuba since 1987. In 2002 Paya received the European Union’s Sakharov Prize for his counter-revolutionary attempts to undermine Cuban Socialism. Whilst not having been officially in the pay of right-wing counter-revolutionaries in Miami, Oswaldo Paya had been receiving funding from right-wing organisations in Spain and Sweden, including the governing Popular Party in Spain. The car crash has sparked a barrage of accusations and internet rumours from Cuba’s enemies, alleging that his death was political.
All witnesses have reported that Paya and another Cuban 'dissident', Harold Cepero, were sitting in the back of the car without seat belts during the incident. Spaniard Angel Carromero, the driver and head of the youth wing of the right-wing Popular Party of Spain, reported that he lost control of the car upon hitting a pot hole and that there was no other vehicle involved in the accident. This is confirmed by the Swedish politician and chairman of the conservative Young Christian Democrats, Jens Aron Modig, who was also a passenger in the vehicle. and who was on a trip to Cuba to help illegally fund Paya’s organisation with a 4,000 Euro payment. Both Carromero and Modig were involved with financing Paya’s small Christian Liberation Movement, Modig was visiting Cuba in order to make an illegal donation 4,000 Euros and both Europeans were involved in setting up a constitution for Paya’s youth wing. Modig had visited Cuba for similar reasons in 2009 under instructions from the Christian Democrat Party leader Victor Olmedo Capdepon .Whilst Carromero remains in Cuba facing a trial for vehicular homicide, the Cuban government allowed Modig to return to Stockholm despite his involvement in illegal activity against the Cuban people.
In the days following the death of Oswaldo Paya, more than 900 news items were published and 12,000 messages posted on internet websites concerning the traffic accident. Members of the right wing Miami Mafia accused the Cuban government of being involved in the death, spreading lies about another vehicle being involved in the accident; this is despite the clear testimonies of the surviving passengers and other eye witnesses. Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, as well as the US State Department and the spokesperson for the Chilean Presidency, called for a 'transparent investigation', again trying to suggest that the deaths of the two men in a car accident was part of something more macabre. On 24 July, British Foreign Office Minister Jeremy Browne expressed condolences, stating that the death of Oswaldo was a 'terrible setback for those championing greater political and civil rights in Cuba'. Numerous capitalist media outlets also joined in the choir for the death of the counter-revolutionary, trying to portray his death as a tragedy for the Cuban people or as being a political assassination.
The hypocrisy is staggering; in the past ten years Britain has been implicated in countless extra-judicial executions, renditions, torture and abuse through a network of international proxy prisons in the so-called 'War on Terror'. Domestically activists find their democratic rights continually under attack and the police responsible for the deaths of Jean Charles de Menezes (2005), Ian Tomlinson (2009), Mark Duggan (2011) and Antony Grainger (2012) remain free to literally commit murder on our streets. Given that Talha Ahsan, Babar Ahmed, Adel Abdel Bary, and Khalid Al Fawwaz remain imprisoned in Britain without trial and face extradition to the US on terrorism charges that they deny, the desire for 'greater political and civil rights in Cuba' by Foreign Office Minister Jeremy Browne is exposed as pure rhetoric.
The Cuban people have the right to defend their independence and their socialist Revolution. The attempts by the imperialists to use the accidental death of one of their stooges against the Cuban Revolution must be exposed for what they are; lies of the well financed propaganda machine intent on sullying the name of the Cuban revolution and the inspiration it has provided to the poor and oppressed worldwide for over 50 years.