Spanish national Angel Francisco Carromero Barrios, sentenced to four years in Cuba after being convicted of causing an automobile accident that killed Cuban dissidents Oswaldo Payá and Harold Cepero on July 22, was flown from Havana to Madrid Dec. 29 accompanied by four Spanish Interpol agents. Carromero will serve out his sentence in Spain under a 1998 agreement between Cuba and Spain. Another Spanish citizen, Miguel Vives Cutillas, was with Carromero on the flight; under the same agreement Vives will stay in Spain for the remaining 14 years of an 18-year sentence imposed by a Cuban court for drug trafficking.
From AP, Dec. 19:
Truck Causes NY Traffic Pileup; 1 Dead, 33 Hurt
A tractor-trailer smashed into several vehicles on a major highway on Wednesday afternoon, setting off a chain reaction of fiery crashes, killing one person and injuring 33 others, police said.
The accident on the Long Island Expressway, about 70 miles east of New York City, left at least two dozen vehicles strewn across several hundred yards of the eastbound lanes. At least three vehicles, including the tractor-trailer, which was carrying storm debris, caught fire and were still smoldering into the early evening, a fire official said.
We were pleased as punch last month when South Korean rapper PSY's irresistible "Gangnam Style" video became the most-viewed clip of all time on YouTube, with 806 million views, surpassing something by that pisher Justin Bieber. (LAT, Nov. 24) How can this be anything other than an advance for humanity? The young YouTube star XiaoRishu, a London vlogger of Chinese-Vietnamese background, has a devastating video taking down the stateside xenophobic backlash to K-pop's ascendence, as exemplified in another vid from some redneck punk somewhere in the US heartland sputtering (all too literally) a racist anti-Gangnam Style rant (no, we're not gonna give him a link). What makes it even better is that "Gangnam Style," as its Wikipedia page informs us, is intended to poke fun at the well-heeled residents of Seoul's upscale Gangnam suburb—the song is a proletarian statement against the bourgeoisie, even if the video's legions of fans in places like Bel Air or Roslyn, Long Island, don't have a clue about this. So it is no surprise that "Gangnam Style" has now officially entered the USA's tiresome and interminable culture wars...
Well, we're back online after four days of the electricity being out in Lower Manhattan, and our rage level is even higher than usual. Where to even begin? For starters, with the most obvious reality. This blogger is 50 years old and grew up in New York City. Never in my life have I experienced a storm of anywhere near this magnitude (actually prompting the mayor to announce a "mandatory evacuation" of low-lying areas) until Hurricane Irene last year—and now it just happened again, even worse (much worse) one year later with the Hurricane Sandy "Frankenstorm." Pretty ominous evidence that something is way out of wack.
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."
From the New York Times, Oct. 8:
4 Die in Crash at Notorious Turn on L.I. Road
All five were teenage friends from Queens, and four had been classmates at Richmond Hill High School. Some had started college and were planning for careers years away, and they were all out for a ride early Monday in a car that one of them — a 17-year-old with a learner's permit — had recently started driving.
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.
From NY1, Sept. 23:
East Side Car Accident Kills Pedestrian, Injures Another
An elderly man died after police say he was struck and killed by a car while hailing a cab on Manhattan's East Side on Saturday night.