Washington Times on March 21, 2013, in a commentary by Jose R. Cardenas reorted on more than 60 dignitaries and pro-democracy advocates from around the world having signed an open letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon requesting that the world body conduct an investigation into the tragic deaths of Cuban dissidents Osvaldo Paya and Harold Cepero in an automobile accident in July 2012. It’s the least anyone can do. Excerpts below:
The letter was prompted by a tour of European capitals by Paya’s daughter, Rosa Maria, and the blockbuster revelations by Spanish political activist Angel Carrameo, who was with Paya and Cepero at the time of the accident. Now out of Cuba, Mr. Carrameo went public with the truth that the accident was caused by a Cuban state security vehicle that rammed the car in which they were riding, forcing it off the road into a tree. The two Europeans survived, but Paya and Cepero, sitting in the back of the car, were killed.
The regime’s machinations fooled no one, except the legions of Castro regime apologists who have aped the party line from the get-go: that unprompted by anything, the car that Mr. Carrameo was driving spun out of control on a lonely country road.
Mr. Carrameo was convicted by a Cuban court of “vehicular homicide” and sentenced to four years in prison. After witnessing the abuse heaped on Paya’s daughter in Europe by pro-Castro mobs, Mr. Carrameo said he finally decided to speak out, despite death threats and the “nightmare” that his life had become. He said he “could not hide the truth any more” because “the most important thing for me is that the Paya family always has defended my innocence, when they are the most injured by this tragedy.”
Mr. Carrameo’s testimony once on free soil is a dismal reminder of the Cold War, in which he recounts a Kafkaesque nightmare of druggings and intimidation by Cuban authorities to ensure his complicity in this Big Lie that he was responsible for the deaths of Paya and Cepero.
Mr. Carrameo, who said he still suffers from memory lapses owing to the unknown drugs he was given by the Cuban authorities, said he thought going along with the charade was his best chance of getting out of Cuba— which, ultimately, proved to be the case.
Given the United Nations‘ historical indulgence of the Castro regime, it is not likely that it would ever conduct any investigation of the Paya affair, which is a tragedy in itself.
Sadly, it is more likely that the deaths of Paya and Cepero at the hands of Cuban state security will be quietly swept under the carpet. That’s because their deaths are mortal threats to the current propaganda campaign that Cuba under Raul Castro is “reforming,” and that the United States should normalize relations with the country as a result.
Jose R. Cardenas was acting assistant administrator for Latin America at the U.S. Agency for International Development in the George W. Bush administration and is an associate with Vision Americas.