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'This is how Cubans are treated everyday': Modig

The Local · 10 Aug 2012, 08:30

Published: 10 Aug 2012 08:30 GMT+02:00

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27-year-old Modig was one of four people in the car that struck a tree in the southeast of Cuba, killing Oswaldo Paya, a winner of the Sakharov Prize for human rights, and another Cuban dissident, Harold Cepero Escalante.

“I don’t remember the accident. I have some memories of the car swerving off the road. Then I woke up in an ambulance not knowing where I was,” Modig told daily Dagens Nyheter (DN).

When Modig woke up again at the hospital, he found two police officers next to his bed who wouldn’t leave his side for the entire hospital stay.

The next day he was taken to the local police station where he was questioned by police and got to see the Swedish ambassador to Cuba, Caroline Fleetwood, with whom he was allowed to have dinner at a local hotel.

The following day he was brought back to the station where he was kept all day. Later he was flown to Havana, escorted by two officers, he told DN.

It struck Modig that as he was being moved, no one would know of his whereabouts.

“And that is not good in a dictatorship. So of course I was worried.”

After touching down in Havana, Modig was driven to a secret location where he was to stay for the next five days in a windowless room furnished with just a bed.

There, he was interrogated extensively. Sometimes the questionings went on for hours, sometimes for only 15 minutes, Modig told DN.

“They kept asking me the same thing: ‘Why are you here? Who has sent you?’ Every other statement was a telling-off. ‘You shouldn’t come to our country to interfere!’," he told the paper.

One day he was brought to the migration authorities where he was allowed to see the ambassador. Toward the end of the week they gave him better clothes and let him shave for the first time during his ordeal.

After a press conferece he was brought to the ambassador’s residence and the same night he was onboard a plane to Sweden.

According to a CNN report, Oswaldo Paya's daughter has forwarded claims that a further car was involved in the crash and that the vehicle deliberately drove into the car carrying Aron Modig.

This information was however denied by the Cuban government in a statement on Sunday, citing eye witnesses.

At the press conference Modig said that as far as he knew, the crash was an accident.

Modig told DN he is relieved to be back in Sweden but worried about those he left behind.

Story continues below…

“What I bring with me back is the concrete knowledge of how different our systems are. I went there to help contributing to a freer Cuba, but was jailed and interrogated. That’s how Cubans are treated every day,” Modig told DN.

The Local/rm


The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

10:51 August 10, 2012 by playmobil
"Of course, if Modig had been let go, almost immediately, we would be hearing about how Castro's people plotted their assassinations."

Thats exactly my feeling too!
11:57 August 10, 2012 by robban70226
I wonder if they where drunk returning from a party..
12:13 August 10, 2012 by Rishonim
The should have kept him there.
14:30 August 10, 2012 by tamohamo
You hit people while driving 1000 miles and what kind of treatment dou expect ?
14:44 August 10, 2012 by Marc the Texan
That's Cuba dude. What were you expecting? Live, learn and quit your whining.
15:23 August 10, 2012 by tadchem
It is not 'One World', and as long as there are people who have power and wish to control other people, it will never be One World.
15:39 August 10, 2012 by skylarkpilot
Modig needs to understand a basic principle of visiting other cultures.....wind your neck in and stay out of trouble. He was there for political ends and was involved in an incident where two people lost their lives. Questioned for a week...poor baby !
17:08 August 10, 2012 by riose
So this guy was a foreigner financing illegaly a party. And then killed a guy in a car accident.


In Sweden, the illegal financing can lead to 6 years in jail. Imagine the same in the US.

Cuba treated him pretty good, he can't complain.
17:12 August 10, 2012 by STST
The Christian dude should be grateful. Ambulances always arrive in time when you need them in Cuba, unlike Sweden.
23:57 August 10, 2012 by orangetree

is there any illegal party in Sweden? I am curious so just asking.Can any political party be illegal in Sweden due to their view?
01:56 August 11, 2012 by Zhorka

What riose is saying is that in Sweden it is illegal for foreigners to finance Swedish political parties, irrespectively of whether those parties are legal or illegal.

Somehow Swedish politicians feel that they can break any law when it comes to Cuba.
18:47 August 12, 2012 by OUIJA
"That is how Cubans are treated everyday"

Moron. You go there as a tourist, perform as a political intruder to help Payas in his efforts against Castro. You are involved in a car accident that cost the lives of two of your idols and you think that you have the right to say whatever you want.

When will Swedes understand that you don't do in other countries what they would not like to be done in Sweden.

An no, Zhorka, Swedish politicians do not feel that they can break any law when it comes to Cuba. They feel they are the heirs of Elliot Ness (The Untouchables9 and can break any law in any country. Just ask the nincompoop of Carl Bildt
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