R.I.P. Oswaldo Payá. Was his death an accident?

Cuban dissident Oswaldo Payá (1952 – 2012) died in car crash. Rosa María Payá, his daughter, told CNN en Español: They wanted to do harm and they ended up killing my father.

Questions:

1. He was probably the best known Cuban dissident. How would you describe his role in Cuban dissident movement?

2. I do not want to speculate too much, but anyway, if somebody like Oswaldo Payá died in car crash, there are some speculations. Would you rule out foul play or not, and why?

Answer:

Wayne Smith, Director, Latin America Right & Security, Cuba Project, Center for International Policy

I am deeply saddened by Oswaldo Paya’s death. I knew him well and had great respect for him. He was one of the most principled of Cuba’s dissidents. I have no information concerning the circumstances of his death, but note that a highly respected organization which favors dialogue and engagement between Cuban Americans here and Cubans on the island, Cuban Americans for Engagement, has noted that given the comments of his daughter concerning the circumstances of his death, an investigation to clarify the matter would seem necessary.

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