By Marc Frank | Reuters –
HAVANA (Reuters) – One of Cuba’s best-known dissidents, Oswaldo Paya, leader of the Christian Liberation Movement, died on Sunday in a car crash, religious and dissident sources said.
Paya, 60, was travelling in eastern Granma province at the time of the accident, the details of which are not known, the sources said.
According to dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez, who broke the news on Twitter, Paya’s death was confirmed by the bishop of Granma, Carlos Amador.
Paya’s family was not immediately available for comment.
In 2002, Paya spearheaded a petition campaign calling for a referendum on one-party rule and submitted more than 30,000 signatures.
The petition drive was rejected by the government, but Paya emerged as the leading advocate of peaceful democratic change in Communist-run Cuba.
Paya received the European Union’s top human rights award in 2002, the Sakharov Prize, named after the late Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov.
He was nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize by former Czech President Vaclav Havel.
A devout Catholic who was sent to a labour camp in the 1960s for his religious beliefs, Paya overcame intimidation and harassment to build Cuba’s first nationwide opposition initiative.
Category: World News