Ofelia Acevedo who lost her husband, Oswaldo Paya, six months ago.
January 22 2013
It’s rumored that his interrogators, in imitation of King Juan Carlos facing some babbling idiocy from Chavez, have forced him to remain silent and not make a fuss: “Angel, why don’t you shut up already?!”
We will see each other on the 12th in the cafe at the Spanish embassy in Havana
Before Carromero and After Carromero
Anything he says will be used against him. His biography itself accuses him: speeder with dozens of fines, entangled in matters of finance, twitterer in favor of the cuts of the Spanish government while dancing drunkenly in Seville.
Angel Carromero, in addition to being a member of a party considered fascist in Cuba (in imitation of Comandante Hugo Chavez), had his 15 minutes of infamy this first Friday of October, when he was condemned in a brief trial (according to the dictates of our Foreign Minister), where no Cuban demands anything at all from this Iberian.
It doesn’t stop drizzling in Havana lately. After the flood of more than a hundred thousand hours with Fidel, the Socialist State is mired in its transition to a Chinese-esque capitalism light, where the only thing that won’t fit well are the rights of the Cuban people, on the Island as well as in the Exile. And Angel Carromero will be a key piece in this unlikely vaudeville against all and for the evil of all. Although the coquettish prisoner from Spain’s People’s Party doesn’t imagine it on his Cuban Communist scaffold.
Only a foreign “enemy” fully immersed in “subversive activity” within the Island could be a pretext for the violent death of Oswaldo Paya Sardinas. A death announced for years by paramilitaries, even in front of his own family (and foreigners, to openly disseminate the terror of such an exemplary punishment). Well then, promise kept. There are things that the Castro regime doesn’t play with. Things about which the Castro regime never lied. Those who lack the revolutionary genes to assimilate this sinister sincerity, we don’t want them, we don’t need them…
That fateful Sunday of July 22, hours after the impact and the text message in Swedish heatedly typed after the harassment, in a hospital in the provinces and without evidence of urgent intensive care, another pillar of the Christian Liberation Movement also died, Harold Cepero Escalante, who survived the crash conscious but it didn’t occur to anyone to take a declaration from him (or to allow his family to see him before he died).
Much less do we know the testimony of the ambulance attendants, forensic doctors, and the security personnel who, within minutes, seized this stretch of highway and the city of Bayamo (who alerted them that the ID card of the dead-on-impact read: Oswaldo Paya Sardinas, putative president of post-Castro Cuba?). Only some half-literate peasants declared with precision on Cuban TV that the death car was traveling at a rate of speed of more than 60 mph: “a tin can…”
That dawn, as Oswaldo Paya Sardinas left home without saying goodbye to his wife Ofelia Acevedo Maura, the apocryphal Twitterer @Yoahandry8787 had already revealed in real time his trip to the interior of the country, misrepresenting that it was an excursion to the beach in Varadero. Indeed, nearly a decade before, in the official book “The Dissidents,” we could enjoy some photos violating the privacy of the vacationing Paya-Acevedo family.
There, a teenager of 14 appears to look into an empty future while her father dives and disappears under the grayness of the sea. It was Rosa Maria. It is Rosa Maria, suddenly become, today, the new leader of the Christian Liberation Movement (MLC), the principal moral voice of recrimination against all the violence of the State that corralled her citizen father from the time she was born. Rosa Maria Paya Acevedo, accused before she opened her mouth of meeting false foreign tourists at the edge of the sea for a handful of euros, to fund the youth wing of the MLC.
Not one of the loved ones of Oswaldo Paya Sardinas or Harold Cepero Escalante is accusing the exterminating angel of the New Generations of the People’s Party. The State enterprise that owns the Hyundai Accent with license plate T311402 has not publicly demanded compensation for a single screw of its vehicle. Nor has any rice or forest cooperative spoken out in defense of the crops mowed down by the scars of the homicidal tree. It is a case, then, where legally no one is affected, except governmental innocence.
After the videoclip presented to the press, where a young Spanish politician asks the world not to politicize his case (filmed by the political police, but that’s a circumstantial detail), we already know Angel Carromero’s worst enemy will not be the Cuban State, but the drugged panic of Angel Carromero himself.
At the right hand of his steering wheel, like a perverse character of Perrault or the Brothers Grimm, a Social Democratic Swede snored through the nightmare under the midday sun on a pavement under repairs and a slamming on of the brakes at top speed. According to his testimony and with “European soil under his feet,” and despite his dreamlike innocence, Jens Aron Modig was also taken prisoner and held incommunicado in a windowless room, where his interrogators offended him with impunity, until they coerced him to testify against himself on camera.
From Kafka we know that justice in totalitarian systems is never interested in the Truth, this bourgeois prejudice of the Gospels. Much less in Life, this bizarre statistic. Angel Carromero, the talking cadaver, like the American Alan Gross, and countless Cubans who have been through the experience, declared like a ventriloquist that he still holds out a certain hope that he will come out safely. It’s called self-preservation and is a symptom of the mediocrity with which the old Europe of the 21st Century throws a tantrum.
In extreme situations, democracy is only for oneself. Western Christianity, then, has no neighbors. Angel Carromero wants to be Angel Carromero, even though he’s sunk in a concentration camp or humiliated in the cemetery where two human beings were plunged and disappeared under the grayness of the Sea.
The drizzle will not stop these days in Havana, before Castro and after Carromero. When this Friday the 5th what we all know and don’t know how to pronounce is finally verified, a new Cuban era in the history of the Revolution will commence. We will all be more alone, more desolate, more exposed to the paparazzi lenses that pornographically exposed his family and later expired Oswaldo Paya Sardinas.
As in the foundational good times of a cynical more than civic war, we will go quietly to survive under the obscene downpour. The free exile will be a million euros farther away than now. The pro-human rights solidarity activists will prefer to operate in any other corner of the world. The Chinese scribbles and the squeal of this collectivist language will make a little more sense to our individualistic sensibilities. The unethical etymology of the word “disappeared” will suffer a terrible updating. In a small air-conditioned room in eastern Cuba, the year zero of the Carromero cosmology is about to begin. Praise be.
Translated from the original in Diario de Cuba
October 4 2012
It has been ten days since the event which took the life of my husband, Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas, National Coordinator of the Christian Liberation Movement, and the life of the young man Harold Cepero Escalante, a member of the same movement.
The event has been covered by Cuba’s National Television, which is unusual since fatal traffic accidents occur daily in Cuba and never receive this level of media coverage.
I will not get into details regarding the technical analysis presented by the official version of the event; I am not an expert, although one does not need to be an expert to question their version. I want to clarify that I learned about how the event occurred through the television since only a brief verbal version was given to me by Major Sanchez when I received my husband’s body. I told him that I did not believe what he was saying and that I needed to talk to the surviving witnesses. I was not informed by the authorities about the death of my husband. Yesterday, July 31th at 8:45pm, 10 days after the death of Oswaldo and Harold, I was visited by two officers from the Center for Criminal Investigations and Operations carrying a subpoena that required my presence today at 11:00am, with the purpose to “clarify issues of civil liability and responsibility regarding the accident.”
As Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas’ wife and on behalf of my family living inside and outside Cuba I declare:
1. We do not accept the explanation of the events as presented in national television because:It has been presented by the same governmental organization that under the Security of the State has sent agents threatening to kill Oswaldo multiple times over the years; they have discredited, defamed, spied, and insulted us through media campaigns inside and outside Cuba; the same individuals who have placed microphones on our bed, in our phones; the same individuals who, knowing that Oswaldo’s mother had cancer, proceeded to cowardly visit and intimidate her, who did not allow her children living outside Cuba to visit her; the same individuals who forbade my oldest son, a 24-year-old student, from visiting his aunt in Spain during his vacations last year, who do not allow any of our family members to leave or enter Cuba.
They are the same individuals who intimidate our neighbors, my husband’s co-workers, my brothers and sisters from the Christian community, and even people that we hire to make repairs in our house; they go to the institutions where my sons and daughter study or work and alert their peers to avoid relating to them; they are the same individuals who break into hospitals and intimidate doctors every time my children have any type of health problems; the same individuals who have attacked my house with mobs brought from other places and who have painted my house facade with offensive signs, who have stained my door with red paint simulating blood, who have filled the walls of the neighborhood with threatening signs and phrases packed with hate.
They are the same individuals who on several occasions have loosened the screws on the wheels of our car knowing that we were traveling with family and friends. Last June 2nd, Oswaldo and I were traveling in our car (a 1964 VW station wagon) towards my mother’s house in La Lisa. Driving through La Calzada del Cerro and having just driven across the intersection with Rancho Boyeros Avenue, we were hit by an old American car in the right rear wheel of our vehicle with such a force that it made our car rock. My husband could not control it and after sliding on the two left wheels, already on the opposite lane the car flipped, we were trapped inside and covered with broken windshield glass. Oswaldo was hurt in his left elbow and I was unhurt.
These are the same individuals who have threatened to kill members of the Movement and their families, who have imprisoned Yosvany Melchior, a young man, son of Rosa Maria Rodriguez, a member of the Movement. He is serving twelve years in prison for a crime he did not commit. Their goal is to make people abandon the Christian Liberation Movement.
…I do not believe the official version because:
2. My husband, Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas was notable for his limitless sense of responsibility towards all people, especially those who associated with him. He would never have allowed the driver of the car to speed. His friends and those who know him know that I speak the truth when I say this. He knew his life was at risk every day in Cuba.
3. Because I received the news of the alleged accident from Madrid at 3:18pm on Sunday July 22 and was told “four people were traveling but only three are in the hospital, there is no available information regarding the forth one. Two friends, one of them is unconscious. They were hit and pushed away from the road. Do you know who the other two were? One of them has disappeared.”
4. Because I was not allowed to meet with the Swedish man and have not yet been allowed to visit the Spaniard, survivors of the event.
Because of these records and information that have reached us about what happened in the newspaper Granma, my family calls on international institutions for help demanding an independent investigation of the facts.
I’m very proud to have shared 26 years of my life with an extraordinary man, I am proud of the family we have founded. He had the sorrow of not being able to devote to his family all the time he wished, but his passion to serve always led him to work for the common good with all his intelligence and intellectual ability.
He constantly fought and searched for ways for the people to ascend to their rights, he said: “Neither the state nor the market can dominate society, or be above the people’s decisions, freedom and dignity.”
Now we must try to direct our life without the physical presence of Oswaldo, it will be very hard, but those of us who live by faith know that he will continue to protect us, and will always be in our midst.
Thank you for listening.
Havana, August 1, 2012
Translated by Cleonte