Cuban dissident dies in car accident
updated 7:01 AM EDT, Mon July 23, 2012
- NEW: Cuban government statement says two people died in accident, two more injured
- Daughter of Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya Sardinas questions government account
- Rosa Maria Paya says her father died Sunday in Granma province in a car accident
- Paya was known far beyond Cuba for his criticisms of the island's socialist government
Havana, Cuba (CNN) -- Prominent Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya Sardinas died in a car accident Sunday, his daughter Rosa Maria Paya told CNN. He was 60.
She said her father died after the car he was traveling in was struck by another car in Cuba's eastern Granma province.
The car crash took place at 1:50 p.m. near Bayamo, Cuba, according to statement released by the Cuban government's International Press Center.
In Spanish: Government statement
Baseball diplomacy with Cuba
Cuban dissident testifies, disappears
Castro's daughter on Cuba's future
Paya and passenger Harold Capero died in the accident, the statement said. Two other passengers -- a Spanish citizen and Swedish citizen -- were injured and taken to a hospital, it said.
The government statement says there was not a second car involved in the crash and said the rental car that Paya was traveling in lost control and crashed into a tree. Cuban police are investigating the crash, the statement said.
On Paya's website, his daughter Rosa Maria posted an audio clip saying his family believed that a second car had been involved and that it had intentionally struck the car in which Paya was traveling.
A devout Christian and an engineer, Paya was known far beyond Cuba for his criticisms of the island's socialist government.
Cuban doctors battle to control cholera outbreak
In 2002, shortly before former U.S. President Jimmy Carter's visit to Cuba, Paya delivered petitions containing 11,020 signatures calling for democratic elections and freedom of speech to Cuba's National Assembly.
Although the initiative -- called the "Varela Project" -- was ignored by Cuba's government, Carter later spoke of Paya's signature drive during a speech that was broadcast on state television in Cuba.
The speech was the first time Cuba's government had allowed an American leader to address the populace as well as the first time that many Cubans had heard of Paya's efforts to change the country's political system.
Opinion: Should U.S. raise a fist or offer a hand to Cuba?
Internal opponents to Cuba's government are routinely labeled as traitors by the state-run media.
In 2003, Paya received the European Parliament's Sakharov prize for freedom of expression. The award is named for Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov and is awarded to those who work to promote human rights and democracy.
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:26 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
updated 7:09 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
updated 1:01 PM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
updated 10:48 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
updated 12:07 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
updated 7:15 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
updated 7:06 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
updated 7:37 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
updated 2:18 AM EST, Fri February 8, 2013
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.