The president of the Bishops' Conference of Cuba, Archbishop Dionisio Garcia of Santiago, has mourned the sudden death of Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya, leader of the Christian Liberation Movement.

"This was really a great loss for us because he was someone very committed, a faithful Christian. He was also someone very committed to his ideals, and this is very sad," Archbishop Garcia said during an interview on EWTN Radio's Spanish language program "Mas que noticias" on Monday.

Oswaldo Paya, a leading voice of the dissidence in Cuba, died July 22 in an alleged traffic accident in the eastern part of the country. Members of the Christian Liberation Movement are questioning the government's account of the accident, as Paya was constantly the target of death threats and harassment by the Castro regime.

In his remarks, Archbishop Garcia said he always knew Paya to be "a Catholic very committed to his parish at El Cerro.  Later I was with him at the National Cuban Ecclesial Encounter.  He was always a very committed person, him and his family, his father and his brother."

The archbishop said that when he learned of Paya's death, he called his family, "and this morning I offered Mass for him. I pray God will bring good to our country and fulfill the desires that he had to seek the wellbeing of all Cubans."