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Cuban car crash: Driver contributed financial support for dissidents

The Spanish driver in a crash that killed two Cuban dissidents last week is being held while charges are formalized. Could his support for dissidents play into a diplomatic crisis?

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Spanish citizen Angel Francisco Carromero speaks during a press conference via pre-taped video footage that was shown during a press conference organized by Cuba's International Press Center, in Havana, Cuba, Monday, July 30.

Franklin Reyes/AP

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A Spanish politician and member of the youth branch of its governing party faces possible charges of manslaughter for the deaths of two Cuban dissidents, including the well-known opposition leader Oswaldo Payá. Spain is now trying to contain a potential diplomatic crisis with Cuba.

Spaniard Angel Carromero was driving the rental car that hit a tree, killing Mr. Payá and Harold Cepero on July 22. According to Mr. Carromero’s videotaped statement released on Monday, he lost control on a segment of the highway under repair in the province of Granma. A Cuban investigation found he was speeding and did not heed warning signs.

Jens Aron Modig of Sweden, affiliated to the conservative Christian Democratic Party, was riding in the passenger seat when the crash occurred. He has since been allowed to return home. Both men denied a version of events from dissidents and family members of Payá that claimed Cuban security services forced their car off the road.

Carromero, a leader in the youth movement of the ruling Partido Popular in Spain, is being held in Havana while involuntary homicide charges for the two deaths are formalized, according to Granma, the Communist Party newspaper. Spanish diplomats have visited him and said he is in good condition.

“I ask the international community to please concentrate on getting me out of here and to not use the traffic accident that could have happened to any other person for political ends,” Carromero said in a video statement released by Cuban authorities.

'Subversive' mission

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