Oswaldo Payá, well-known Cuban dissident, killed in car accident on the island
Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas was known as a crusader for human rights in Cuba.
Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas , one of the most respected names in the Cuban dissident movement and a tireless crusader for civil society, was killed in a car crash Sunday afternoon in eastern Cuba.
Rosa María Payá, his daughter, told CNN en Español that Payá was traveling near Bayamo, the capital city of Granma province, with a fellow dissident, Harold Cepero, when their car was struck by another vehicle. “There was a car trying to take them off the road, crashing into them at every moment. So we think it’s not an accident,’’ she told CNN en Español. “They wanted to do harm and they ended up killing my father.”
The Cuban Foreign Ministry’s confirmed the death at 1:50 p.m. local time and said the crash occurred in La Gavina, about 14 miles from Bayamo.
But a foreign ministry spokesman told the Spanish news agency EFE that Payá’s rented car “lost control and smashed against a tree, according to eyewitnesses.’’ The spokesman said Cepero, a native of Ciego de Avila, was also killed.
Payá’s official website said that two other men, whom it did not identify, were traveling with him.
A Mass in Payá’s honor was scheduled for 2 p.m. Tuesday at Ermita de la Caridad, known as the Shrine of Our Lady of Charity. It will be celebrated by Father José Luis Menendez, pastor of Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Miami.
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