Cuba: Sandy latest in decade of devastating storms

Tropical storm Sandy had become a Category 2 hurricane by the time it slammed into eastern Cuba early Oct. 25. Eleven were killed in the eastern provinces of Santiago and Guantánamo. Official sources reported that 132,733 homes were damaged in Santiago province, of which 15,322 were destroyed; 1,052 homes were leveled in just two villages, Banes and Antilla, on the northeastern coast in neighboring Holguín province. The dozen homes that made up the small fishing village of Tortuguilla in Guantánamo province were swept away. In the central provinces, heavy rains caused flooding; an official in Encrucijada municipality, Villa Clara province, told the local press the floods there were the worst in 30 years.

Cuba: Spanish rightist sentenced in dissident's death

Cuban television announced on Oct. 15 that a court in the eastern province of Granma had found Spanish national Angel Francisco Carromero Barrios guilty of causing an automobile accident that killed the well-known dissident Oswaldo Payá and another dissident, Harold Cepero, on July 22. Carromero, the leader of the New Generations youth movement of Spain's governing right-wing Popular Party (PP), had been visiting Payá and was driving the dissidents in a rented car when the accident occurred. Prosecutors charged that Carromero had been speeding, while the defense blamed the condition of the road and a lack of warning signs. The court sentenced Carromero to four years in prison instead of the seven years requested by the prosecution. Spain's consul in Cuba, Tomás Rodríguez, described the trial as "clean, open and procedurally impeccable."

Cuba: blogger detained as trial starts in dissident's death

Angel Francisco Carromero Barrio, the leader of the New Generations youth movement of Spain's right-wing Popular Party (PP), was tried on Oct. 5 in Bayamo in the eastern Cuban province of Granma on charges of causing a car accident in which Cuban dissidents Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero died. Carromero was driving with the two Cubans and Jens Aron Modig, chair of the youth wing of Sweden's center-right Christian Democratic Party, on July 22 when they entered an area where the road was being repaired and Carromero lost control of the rented car. Prosecutors said he was speeding and called for a seven-year prison sentence. It isn't clear when the five-judge panel will announce its verdict.

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