MIAMI June 13, 2023– The Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba applauds the conclusions published today by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights that Cuban opposition leader and 2010 Sakharov Prize winner of the European Parliament Oswaldo Payá Sardiñas, along with Harold Cepero, were indeed assassinated by the Cuban government in July 2012, in what the Cuban government fraudulently presented as a car accident.

The investigation was initiated in December 2021, when the court, a body of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, listened to testimonials from Rosa María Payá and Ofelia Acevedo, the daughter, and widow of Payá respectively, as well as from Angel Carromero, a Spanish citizen. Carromero was the driver of the vehicle in which both Payá, the leader of the Christian Liberation Movement, and Cepero tragically lost their lives.

Carromero, originally charged with vehicular homicide in Cuba, was coerced into providing a false testimony, which was subsequently broadcast by Cuban state media. However, after leaving Cuba, he told The Washington Post that his vehicle was pursued and then rammed by another car with government license plates near the city of Bayamo, causing him to lose control and crash.

Payá was one of three Cubans awarded the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Conscience, along with Laura Pollán, founder of the Ladies in White, and Guillermo Fariñas, who led a prolonged hunger strike that resulted in the release of political prisoners during the Black Spring of 2003. Pollán also died in suspicious circumstances in a Havana hospital, treated by a doctor later exposed as a state security agent infiltrated into the opposition.

John Barsa, Executive Director of the Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba, stated, “Although the court’s conclusions are just a step towards the justice that Oswaldo Payá, Harold Cepero and their families deserve, they carry a potent moral authority, highlighting the Havana regime’s brutal and murderous nature. It once again unmasks this dictatorship, demonstrating their willingness to commit heinous crimes, embodying the Machiavellian belief that the ends justify the means.”

Oswaldo Payá, who spearheaded the historic Varela Project and gathered tens of thousands of Cuban signatures supporting changes to the communist system, will always be remembered in Cuban history. In contrast, his murderers will be consigned to the dark annals of Cuba’s past, representing the most sinister period of Castro’s totalitarian regime.

Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba

Miami, June 13, 2023

Press Contact: Maite Luna (

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