Tue, Jul 24, 2012 - Page 7 News List

Renowned Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya dead in crash

Reuters, HAVANA

One of Cuba’s best-known dissidents, Oswaldo Paya, leader of the Christian Liberation Movement, died on Sunday in a car crash, government and opposition sources said.

Paya, 60, was traveling in eastern Granma Province at the time of the accident, the details of which are not known, the sources said.

According to dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez, who broke the news on Twitter, Paya’s death was confirmed by the bishop of Granma, Carlos Amador.

Another dissident died in the crash, and a Spaniard and a Swede were injured, after the car left the road and hit a tree, government officials said.

In 2002, Paya spearheaded a petition campaign calling for a referendum on one-party rule and submitted more than 30,000 signatures.

The petition drive was rejected by the government, but Paya emerged as the leading advocate of peaceful democratic change in communist-run Cuba.

Paya received the EU’s top human rights award in 2002, the Sakharov Prize, named after the late Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov.

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