The following statement was read by Oswaldo Paya's daughter in a press conference in Cuba on August 1, 2012. It has been translated to English below and offers important information and new questions surrounding the deaths on July 22, 2012 of Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero.
Rosa María Payá Acevedo and her mother Ofelia Acevedo
As we have been told, Captain Fulgencio Medina, criminal instructor, reading the witness statements of the events that took the life of my father, and of Harold, told the following to everyone in one of the halls of the hospital:
The captain said he would tell how it happened, reading the statements of the witnesses, saying:
Witnesses of the bike and of the tractor said that there was a red Lada traveling parallel to the wrecked car.
In a moment the wrecked car goes ahead of all, the bicycle, the tractor and the red Lada and at that moment comes the change of pavement, of the pavement to the embankment.
The cyclist says he only sees the dust when the car drops (but it seemed normal).
The individual in the tractor comments that it seems that something happened. The officer says that another tractor was coming from the front but apparently the road was wide enough and the tractor was far enough to cause any reaction in Angel. There was no danger of impact.
Those in the red Lada come to the rescue, in the words of the witnesses on the bicycle and in the tractor.
The officer said that witnesses say that when the persons in the Lada approached to help the Spaniard , he reacted saying: Who are you and why are you doing this? First they take out the Spaniard and there was one complaining (which apparently was Harold), but he had a very sore leg and was touching his chest, as if it hurt a lot. With the other they do not do anything because they say they touched him and realized he was dead.
They first removed the two foreigners, and the red Lada takes out a cell phone that they had and say: send an ambulance over here there has been an accident. At that moment a blue van arrives and some of the injured are placed on it and leave for the hospital.
Receive a call from the girl and say they don’t know who the cell phone belongs to because everything was a mess. First attended by a traffic officer and then by a legal doctor.
Fulgencio Medina said he knew the daughter had called because the legal doctor who had been in the ambulance answered.
This ends the information that has come to us about what Captain Fulgencio Medina said that evening in that room with other officers and all others who were there.
It seems to us very strange:
1. That a legal doctor would arrive in the ambulance.
2. That in none of the official versions is this red Lada mentioned and the people traveling in it.
3. But for the people traveling in the red Lada who could then have called the ambulance.
4. The reaction, according to witnesses, Angel had at the time of being rescued.
5. Who and how was the premature diagnosis of the death of my father made.
We have received other information, including:
We have information that the ambulance was requested by a lieutenant colonel and that in an ambulance they took Harold to the hospital, but first made a stop in a children's hospital.
We have also information that the doctor who attended Harold (called ¨ The Kid ¨, son of Dr. Perez Profet) expressed contempt for him. And he told the other doctors and nurses that these people were bringing drugs to Santiago and to plant bombs.
This raises questions about the care my friend received in that hospital.
We have been informed that Angel arrived at the hospital accompanied by an officer who said he was an eyewitness to the accident, and that there Angel said twice that the car had been rammed from behind.
I ask myself, if this officer was a witness:
What was he doing there?
Why not transfer the injured in his car?
If it was he who called, how did he know the hospital phone?
Would he be one of those in the red Lada?
I also have doubts regarding the technical condition of the car carrying my father and Harold.
To our friends, people who represented us that day in the hospital until my mother could get there, they would not let them see the body of my father until after 8 pm. They told us that the corpse had a syringe placed at the top of the leg, a shirt, … and shoes and that at that time the body was still without treatment, storage, or refrigeration.
About Harold’s state, a physician told them that the boy was going to die because he was brain dead. This data, the latter, does not coincide with the official version of the cause of death of Harold Cepero and is also very strange because witnesses say they saw Harold conscious according to information we received about the words read by Captain Fulgencio Medina.
Our friends did not have access to the survivors until after Angel was sedated so that they could never talk to him. With Aron they could barely identify themselves because they do not speak English.
Aron, Angel and I met Friday afternoon and talked, as three young people converse with social concerns without interfering agendas and money involved.
My father faced the power of a state, a totalitarian state with 53 years experience. And that state is dropping all its force against a family, my family for many years now. Once more I fear for the lives of my brothers, my mother and my whole family. I reiterate that I hold the government responsible for the physical integrity of the members of my family.
We have the support of many within and outside Cuba, we thank you deeply. On the other hand, we know that these events have become a matter of state and we know that sometimes between states there are pacts and silence, but while others remain silent we will not be silenced, and we will not stop seeking the truth even if it means remaining alone. My father, the Christian Liberation Movement and my family have seen ourselves alone before. We do not fear solitude. We know, because we seem to have been touching it in recent days, that only evil fears the truth.
August 1, 2012
Original Spanish text available here. Take action by signing the petition requesting a transparent and independent international investigation into the deaths of Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero. The regime in Cuba has a long track record of this type of behavior. Others such as Lech Walesa have joined the call for getting at the truth of what happened.