If you believe Cuban authorities because you choose to ignore five decades of lies, propaganda and deception, then you believe that Cuban dissidence leader Oswaldo Paya was killed in a single-car accident.
But if history makes you skeptical, if you know of the many atrocities the Cuban government has tried to conceal, then you may want to consider that the Castro brothers are, once again, getting away with murder.
This time, since Paya was a well-known dissident who was protected by his notoriety abroad, instead of using their kangaroo courts to stifle or eliminate their opposition, they had to branch out to other forms of murder, something more imaginative, such as a car accident with only one car.
While Cuban authorities claim Paya was killed on Sunday, July 22 because he was a passenger in a speeding car that spun out of control, his family claims the car was rammed repeatedly by another vehicle and forced off the road.
The truth will not be known until Cuba releases the driver, Spanish citizen Angel Carromero, and if the Castro brothers ordered Paya's murder, this traffic "accident" could keep Carromero in a Cuban prison for a very long time.
Prosecutors already are seeking a seven-year jail sentence for his allegedly causing the crash where Paya and another Cuban dissident, Harold Cepero, were killed. The Cuban state-controlled media announced Monday that Carromero's negligent homicide trial would begin Oct. 5.
The government will argue that it has Carromero's own testimony, admitting that he was speeding, that he ignored road construction warning signs, and that he braked abruptly on an unpaved road, lost control and hit a tree.
But Paya's family, other Cuban dissidents and skeptics all over the world say there are grounds to believe that Paya and Cepero were murdered, that they were forced off the road and out of this world by a dictatorship that wanted to eliminate the leader of a freedom and human rights movement it had been unable to stifle.
That's because there was a fourth person in the car, Swedish citizen Jens Aron Modig, who reportedly sent text messages to Sweden after the crash where he allegedly claimed that their car had been repeatedly rammed by another vehicle.
Carromero and Modig, both political activists in their respective countries, had reportedly gone to Cuba to support Paya and his Christian Liberation Movement. When the crash occurred on a rural highway near the town of Bayamo, they had been traveling in a rented car from Havana to the eastern city of Santiago de Cuba.
While the two Cubans sitting in the back of a Hyundai sedan were killed, the two Europeans suffered minor injuries. You would expect them to give us a clear explanation of what really happened, right? In free countries, you couldn't keep the truth from surfacing on such an important event as the death of a prominent opposition leader.
But in Cuba, where the dictatorship is in complete control of society, the truth can be thrown in jail and government goons can throw away the cell key.
After being detained and kept away from international journalists for several days, and after apparently receiving industrial quantities of government coercion and intimidation, Carromero and Modig participated in a Cuban-government-orchestrated press conference where they denied the rumors that their car had been rammed off the road.
Carromero accepted responsibility for the crash, basically submitting himself to the mercy of a tyrannical justice system, and has been held at an Interior Ministry facility in Havana pending his trial. Modig claimed he was sleeping when the crash occurred and was allowed to return to Sweden, where he has remained disturbingly, and perhaps very tellingly, SILENT — claiming only that he doesn't remember the crash and expressing concern for his friend Carromero.
To Cuban dissidents and Paya's family, this is a clear indication that even Modig has been coerced into participating in an elaborate cover-up of a state-sponsored murder. They believe Modig is not talking about the text messages he allegedly sent after the crash because he is apparently fearful of recriminations that could be taken against Carromero. After all, when he made a statement to the international media in Havana, Carromero pleaded that world attention should not focus on how Paya died but on "getting me out of here."
Still, Carromero's chances on seeing freedom in the near future are slim to none. If he can stop the Castro brothers from concealing such a high-profile murder, he may never come out of prison alive.
The truth is in jail in Cuba, as it has been for a long time.
To find out more about Miguel Perez and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.