Department of double standards: Ángel Carromero

Carromero's deathtrap

Carromero’s deathtrap

Ángel Carromero: How the Spanish media are covering the legal impunity of a homicidal driver

José Manzaneda

Translated by Manuel Talens/Edited by Machetera – (español)

Imagine a man who had his driver license revoked after 46 traffic tickets, 6 of them for high-velocity speeding. Imagine that he then caused the death of two people as a result of driving at excessive speed in a construction zone. [1] The Spanish Criminal code defines this action as “reckless driving resulting in death” and imposes a sentence of several years in prison. [2] No one would believe that such a reckless driver could have TV news and leading newspapers at his beck and call, demanding his release without being countered in any way.

However, if this person is a) a youth leader of the Spanish Popular Party (PP), and b) the crime was committed on a Cuban road and c) the victims were two Cuban political cronies of the European Popular Party, in other words, two Cuban “dissidents,” everything changes.

I’m talking, of course, about Ángel Carromero, sentenced to four years of imprisonment in Cuba for “homicide as a result of reckless driving,” according to Cuban criminal terminology. [3] After only five months in prison in Cuba and through the application in record time of a bilateral agreement between Cuba and Spain regarding criminal penalties, he is now supposedly serving the rest of his sentence in a Spanish prison.

The Spanish mainstream media assume – without the slightest questioning of the remarkably clear legal impunity it implies – that Ángel Carromero will shortly be released to house arrest[4] and also that before long the Spanish Government will pardon him [5].

Popular Party leaders have monopolized the media regarding the case, presenting it as a “diplomatic success” by the current government. [6] In contrast, let’s remember that there are 2,440 Spaniards imprisoned in other countries – many of them due to crimes of lesser importance than Carromero’s – who have been waiting years for any kind of help from Spanish diplomacy. [7]

During the negotiations between the governments of Cuba and Spain, the Spanish rightwing leaders were necessarily prudent in their public statements. However, once Carromero arrived in Spain, Esperanza Aguirre, President of the Popular Party for Madrid, opened the spigot of insults and threats against the Cuban government [8].

Accusations from Aguirre, who even described the prison conditions in Cuba for her party colleague as “torture,” stand in stark contrast with statements from other sources. [9] José María Viñals, an attorney from the Spanish Lupicinio legal firm who coordinated Carromero’s defense with Cuban lawyers said that the defendant “did not complain of his treatment (in prison)” and that “Cuban lawyers and I […] were able to work independently.” [10] Several weeks prior, Tomás Rodríguez Pantoja, General Consul of Spain in Cuba, described the trial in the Cuban city of Bayamo as “correct,” “clean” and “procedurally flawless.” [11]

In an article by Aguirre, published in the right wing Madrid newspaper ABC – where she demonstrated her lack of knowledge of Cuban history by confusing the final year of the war against Spain (1898) with the formal independence of the country (1902) – she summoned all the hatred she had managed to restrain over the past several months and described the Cuban Revolution as a “sinister and abject dictatorship.” [12]

She also publicly insisted on an “international investigation” to clarify the circumstances of the accident in Cuba. [13] Such an absurd proposal of legal intervention in a sovereign country – patent proof that colonialism has not disappeared from the minds of certain Spanish politicians – was supported by other rightwing ultra-nationalist parties in the country, such as the Union of Progress and Democracy (UPyD). [14]

Let’s recall that the family of the late Oswaldo Payá is pushing the idea of an “international investigation.” Far from blaming Carromero, Payá’s relatives still maintain that the cause of the accident was the onslaught of an unmarked Cuban government car [15]. This theory has been denied by both Carromero [16] and Aron Modig, the Swedish politician who was also in the vehicle at the time of the accident. [17] Of course this conspiracy plot feeds the yellow press at various websites, who insist that the Spanish government paid the Cubans a “ransom” of millions of Euros in exchange for the young politician’s freedom. [18]

Other Popular Party leaders have joined this media disinformation campaign. Íñigo Henríquez de Luna – a Popular Party spokesman at the Madrid autonomous government – stated: “The fact that Ángel Carromero was working against the regime in Cuba was used as an aggravating factor for a wrongful conviction.” [19] But the reality is just the opposite: Cuban prosecutors only filed reckless driving charges against the Spaniard. [20] Had he been accused of both giving cash and organizational support tasks to the Cuban “dissidents” – as some sources claim – Cuban anti-foreign interference laws could have been applied to him, and his sentence would have been much higher without the possibility of applying a repatriation agreement. [21] This is how the Spanish media continue giving shelter and propaganda space to those involved in a scandalous case of legal impunity and diplomatic privilege, providing further evidence of the political and moral decadence of the Spanish regime.

Manuel Talens and Machetera are members of Tlaxcala, the international network of translators for linguistic diversity.  This translation may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the source, author, and translators are cited.






















2 responses to “Department of double standards: Ángel Carromero

  1. Glad to see this, we missed ya! keep up your great work.
    Got it out far and wide.

    Rojo Rojito

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