Spaniard in Cuba crash has history of speeding

AP News
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Posted: Aug 03, 2012 10:53 AM
Spaniard in Cuba crash has history of speeding

HAVANA (AP) — Cuban officials are highlighting earlier traffic violations by a Spaniard involved in a car crash that killed prominent dissident Oswaldo Paya, saying he was notified recently that his driver's license was being revoked.

State-run website Cubadebate published Spanish government documents late Thursday saying that Angel Carromero received the maximum fine of 520 euros ($640) and was docked six points for a 2010 infraction in the city of Cuenca, a penalty applied when a motorist is caught driving at double the speed limit or greater.

It said Spanish authorities began the process of pulling his license in May of this year, presumably for an accumulation of violations.

Details of Carromero's driving record were first reported by Spanish media.

Cubadebate did not say whether it could affect Carromero's court case in Cuba, where he faces vehicular manslaughter charges punishable by one to 10 years in prison.

Carromero was behind the wheel of the subcompact car when it crashed July 22 in the eastern province of Granma, killing Paya and a second dissident who were riding in the back and not wearing seatbelts.

Cuban authorities have released testimony from Carromero and Swedish citizen Jens Aron Modig that he braked abruptly after entering an unpaved section of road under repair, lost control and spun into a tree. Investigators say he was likely driving more than 75 mph (120 kilometers), double the 37 mph (60 kph) limit for roadwork zones.

Paya's family has rejected the official report, suggesting another vehicle may have been involved and saying they don't trust state agencies that characterize dissidents as "counterrevolutionaries" intent on toppling the government.

Modig was cleared to travel and returned to Sweden this week. He canceled a news conference scheduled for Friday in Stockholm, apparently to avoid prejudicing Carromero's legal case.

Cuban authorities have seized on the crash to complain again about foreign backing for the dissidents.

Carromero and Modig, conservative party political activists in their home countries, acknowledged traveling to Cuba on tourist visas and meeting with government opponents.

Cuba says they brought 4,000 euros ($4,900) for Paya's dissident organization, though Paya's family denies that he received any money from the Europeans.