Trial may open soon in Cuba against PP youth leader

Ángel Carromero killed two of his passengers, who were prominent dissidents, in a car wreck

The car driven by Ángel Carromero which resulted in the death of two Cuben dissidents
The car driven by Ángel Carromero which resulted in the death of two Cuben dissidentsEFE

The trial in Cuba against a Spanish political youth leader accused of causing a traffic accident that led to the death of two Cuban dissidents in July could begin as early as next week, according to media reports that quote people in the eastern town of Bayamo, near the place where the incident took place.

Ángel Carromero, a 27-year-old leader in the Popular Party's (PP) youth wing Nuevas Generaciones, was driving a rented car when he reportedly lost control and slammed into a tree on July 22 killing two of his passengers: prominent dissident Oswaldo Payá and his colleague Harold Cepero.

Carromero, along with Jens Aaron Modig, president of the youth League of the Christian Democratic Party of Sweden, were reportedly helping Payá and Cepero with their dissident activities. Modig said he was asleep in the vehicle when the accident occurred and did not know what exactly happened. If convicted, Carromero could face up to eight years in prison.

The incident has become a major diplomatic crisis for the conservative PP government of Mariano Rajoy. Spanish officials, however, have said privately that they don't want to issue any public comments on the matter so as not to affect Carromero's fate.

Many had expected the trial to begin last Friday but the Cuban government issued no official notification to the Spanish Embassy in Havana.

The Miami Herald said on Saturday that residents in Bayamo reported seeing government workers preparing the city's Manuel Muñoz Cedeño Provincial Art School, including the installation of telephone equipment, "for an important event." It is believed that the trial will be held in Bayamo, the capital of Granma province. But the entire affair is being kept secret by the government and it is not known whether the trial will be open to the public.

In the past, the Cuban government has televised important trials of "enemies of the Revolution." One of the most notable cases was the 1989 court proceedings of General Arnaldo Ochoa, a highly decorated military leader who was convicted of treason and drug smuggling on behalf of the CIA and immediately executed along with three others.

Meanwhile, Payá's family continues to insist that the accident was caused by a Cuban security police vehicle that rammed into Carromero's car.

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