US asks for investigation into Cuban dissident's death

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, has called for an investigation into the death of the founder of the Christian Liberation Movement, Oswaldo Paya, who died in Cuba last year.

Diplomatic sources said Powers spoke with the Cuban chancellor, Bruno Rodriguez, during a lunch hosted on Tuesday by Argentine President Cristina Fernandez for the delegations that took part in the U.N. Security Council debate.

News of the conversation follows claims by Spanish national Ángel Carromero that Paya was deliberately killed by Cuban secret service agents rather than in an accidental car crash.

In an interview published by the newspaper El Mundo, Carromero said that he had been in a car with Paya when another vehicle began to follow and harass them. The vehicle, which Paya identified as belonging to the Communists, then began to ram them from behind and forced them off the road.

Claims that Paya died in a car accident were "the perfect alibi to cover up the death of the only opposition figure that could have the lead the transition in Cuba," Carromero said.

Rosa Maria Paya, the daughter of Oswaldo Paya, expressed gratitude over the news of the ambassador's conversation with Rodriguez in a post on her Twitter account. 

"Thank you Ambassador Power for your words to the Cuban foreign minister. The UN can help to put an end to the impunity of the Cuban government," she said.

In statements to Diario Las Americas, Paya said there is will in the Cuban government to clarify the facts surrounding the death of her father, despite evidence that contradicts the official version of events, including testimony from eyewitnesses and from nurses at the hospital where Oswaldo Paya the other three men involved in the crash were taken.

She also said the government never provided her family with results from the autopsy performed on her father, despite their repeated request and the fact that such results are usually provided to families within a month.  

"We trust that a serious investigation will be opened, but we understand that it is a long process that could take several months," she added.

More than 100 world leaders recently marked the first anniversary of the death of Oswaldo Paya by joining together to call on the United Nations to carry out an independent and international investigation.

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