The murder of Oswaldo Paya: A Year After the Crime

Regis Iglesias in

A Year After the Crime
Oswaldo Paya and Regis Iglesias
Regis Iglesias (left) and Oswaldo Paya (center)

On Sunday July 22, 2012, a friend from Madrid phoned and asked me to contact our Cuban friends to inquire after two young people who had gone to Cuba to visit them – Angel Carromero, a Spaniard, and Aron Modig, a Swede. She said that she had unconfirmed information that the two got into some trouble. Angel Carromero was the leader of the youth organization New Generations of the Spanish Popular Party and Aron Modig worked as the chairman of the Young Christian Democrats of Sweden.

I dialed the home-phone of Oswaldo Paya. “He is not at home”, I heard a voice from the receiver. It was his eldest son who answered the phone and told me that his mother had gone to the grandma’s but that he could go and get her. After a while I could finally talk to Ofelita, Oswaldo’s wife and co-founder of MCL in 1988, she promised that she would investigate the matter.

Only minutes later, around 9:15pm, I got another phone-call. The friend who had called before begged desperately that I try to get more information because as far as she knew from a text message sent from Modig’s mobile phone from Cuba to Stockholm, the car with Modig and Carromero had been chased by several vehicles of the Cuban Secret Police, one of which hit it and rammed it out of the way. As my friend informed me, three people were admitted to a hospital and the fourth was missing. “Please, find out who were the two Cubans travelling with Carromero and Modig,” the voice from the receiver pleaded.

My phone was almost out of credit then. Trying hard to ignore the apprehension I was filled with, I took the phone and texted Ofelita the information I had just received from my Madrid friend. Only a few seconds after I had sent the message, the uncertainty I felt became unbearable. Something deep inside of me made me shivered all over, as if it were a warning. I found an old phone card with a credit for a few-minute call, so I took it and called to Cuba. “Ofelita, I had just sent you a message because there are people here who are concerned about what had happened. Do you happen to know who were the two Cubans travelling with the lads (Carromero and Modig)?” Ofelia answered, nervously: “Regis, they were travelling with Oswaldo and Harold. With the two of them.” A lump formed in my throat. I told her that I would post the news on our website as it was necessary to protect the two men. “Do it immediately,” said Ofelita and got back to trying to reach Oswaldo.

A while after that, Rosa Maria Paya, Oswaldo’s daughter, confirmed: “Regis, I called on my daddy’s mobile and the person who answered it told me that the owner of that phone had died…“ No!,” I shouted, “They have said this only to make us worry, to disturb us. He can’t be dead!,” I continued, desperately. “Regis, they have killed my father,” said Rosa Maria…

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