Saturday, December 29, 2012

Did the U.S. pay for fateful Cuba trip?

Ángel Carromero is back in Spain today to finish a four-year prison sentence for vehicular manslaughter in connection with the July 22 deaths of Cuban activists Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero.
Carromero had traveled to Cuba with a Swedish Christian Democratic activist named Jens Aron Modig. Carromero was driving when their rented Hyundai car slammed into a tree in eastern Cuba, killing Payá and Cepero.
Annika Rigö
Unanswered questions about the crash remain. As one story goes, someone in Cuba sent a text message to Swedish activist Annika Rigö, saying that another car forced Carromero's vehicle off the road, causing the crash.
Cuban authorities dispute that version of events, saying Carromero was driving too fast, lost control and hit the tree.
Another unanswered question: Who paid for Modig and Carromero's trip to Cuba?
I don't know the answer, but it would not surprise me to learn that the money came from Rigö's organization, the Christian Democratic International Center in Stockholm, Sweden. Its partners include the National Democratic Institute, or NDI, and the International Republican Institute, or IRI, both of which rely on U.S. government financing. That means that it is conceivable that money for the Cuba trip that killed Payá and Cepero could be traced back to the U.S. government.
Modig's Tweet saying he met with representatives of IRI and NDI.
On July 15, a week before the car crash, Modig said in a Tweet, translated from Swedish to English:
Democratic and Republican international bodies, NDI and IRI, respectively, are both active in Georgia. Today we listened to their views on the political climate.

Screenshot of KIC website
Rigö is secretary general of the Swedish organization, also known as the Kristdemokratiskt Internationellt Center, or KIC.
KIC's website states:
KIC has a long history of cooperation with Movimiento Cristiano Liberación (MCL), which is led by Oswaldo Payá.
The efforts of KIC in Cuba have focused on strengthening MCL and, until the crackdown in 2003, this cooperation entailed educational seminars.

Today, KIC’s support focuses mainly on the families of political prisoners and other political activists. KIC is also lobbying for increased European pressure on the Cuban regime, to persuade it to release these prisoners and to ensure that the European Union and Sweden continue to condemn the regime’s methods.
KIC also focus its work in Cuba on reinforcing the independent media. In 2006, a media project started to defend, support and promote the rights of independent journalists in Cuba. The professional consultation and specialised journalistic skills provided by the organisation has made it possible to establish a team of twelve journalists. Despite numerous challenges, this team has managed to produce an independent newspaper, La Primavera de Cuba, which is published quarterly.
The support of this group has also included training in digital media, resulting in the establishment of the web publication Semanario Digital Primavera. Editorials, news articles, leading articles and more are updated weekly. The aim is to reinforce the efforts of independent Cuban journalists, to help establish a viable alternative and multi-party source of information.

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