MIAMI — The trial of the Spanish politician charged with causing the death of Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya in a car crash did not start Friday as expected, while Paya supporters pushed their allegations that government agents had a hand in the crash.
Two Spanish newspapers had reported that Angel Carromero’s trial on charges of vehicular homicide would start Friday in the eastern city of Bayamo, closest to the scene of the July 22 crash in which Paya and dissident Harold Cepero died.
But Cuban authorities made no announcement Friday, and Bayamo residents said that although there were signs of preparations for an important event at the auditorium of the city’s Manuel Munoz Cedeno Provincial Art School, no trial had started.
Telephone company workers have been installing equipment in the auditorium for a few days and neighbors say they believe the Carromero trial could begin next week, said Bayamo dissident Yoandri Gutierrez.
The Spanish Embassy in Havana said there was no official information at all on the trial. Prosecutors have accused Carromero of causing the car crash by speeding and will reportedly seek a seven-year prison sentence.
Carromero, a Madrid official of New Generations, the youth wing of Spain’s ruling Popular Party, was driving the car. Next to him was Jens Aaron Modig, president of the youth League of the Christian Democratic Party of Sweden. They were not seriously injured and Modig was allowed to return to Sweden.
Paya, who founded and led the opposition Christian Liberation Movement, and Cepero a CLM member, were in the back seat, which bore the brunt of the car’s crash against a tree. They were not wearing seat belts, according to the government version.
Paya’s family and supporters have repeatedly alleged, however, that they have information that Carromero and Modig complained to friends in Europe after the crash that another vehicle rammed them and forced them off the road.
A New Generations leader, Borja Alcedo, told a Spanish radio station Friday that Carromero telephoned him immediately after the crash and told him of an “accident” but the call dropped off. Alcedo provided no further details.