Cuban dissident Oswaldo Payàwas killed on Sunday in a car accident. He was 60.
While Cuban authorities claim Payà's vehicle crashed into a tree, Payà's daughter claims his vehicle was run off the road. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has called for an independent investigation into Payà's death.
Payà, a Catholic layman, is best known for being the driving force in the late 1990s and early 2000s behind The Varela Project, a petition drive demanding the Cuban government hold a referendum to allow Cubans to determine their fundamental rights. There is a provision in the Cuban constitution which provides for a referendum if more than 10,000 signatures can be collected. Despite collecting more than 11,000 signatures, the Cuban government unsurprisingly ignored the petition and would later jail a large number of Cuban dissidents in 2003 although Payà was spared imprisonment.
The collision also claimed the life of fellow dissident Harold Cepero. Two other people in the vehicle sustained minor injuries. They have been identified as Jens Aron Modig, Chairman of the youth wing of Sweden's Christian Democratic Party and Angel Carromero, Deputy Chairman of the youth wing of Spain's Popular Party.
Here's an excerpt from the 2002 documentary Dissident: Oswaldo Payà and The Varela Project.
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