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U.S. Anger As Cubans Deported To Havana

A FLORIDA Congresswoman yesterday vowed to continue to put pressure on the Bahamian government following the repatriation of 24 Cuban nationals, who were at the centre of a months-long protest and a hunger strike, to Havana, Cuba.

The announcement of the repatriation came from the Department of Immigration and follows months of protests by Cuban-American human rights activists in Miami over claims that undocumented migrants have been abused to “the point of torture” while detained at Her Majesty’s Prison and the Carmichael Road Detention Centre in Nassau.

Two members of the Miami-based Democracy Movement staged hunger strikes and there were demonstrations in front of the Bahamian Consulate and near the piers where Bahamas-bound cruise ships embark.

The protest drew support from members of the US Congress and Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado.

The Democracy Movement claimed that the detainees had been beaten by guards, denied access to adequate food, water and medical care, and deprived of the ability to file asylum claims, claims all denied by The Bahamas’ Immigration Minister Fred Mitchell.

Mr Mitchell said that the government had not received any specific, credible claims of abuse and no investigation had been conducted. He said officials had looked into a ‘video’ released by supporters of the detained Cubans allegedly showing men being struck by guards in the detention centre and determined that it was “cleary a staged event.”

Originally it was thought that the men would be taken to Panama after that country granted the Cuban detainees visas and territorial asylum. 

Yesterday, Congresswoman Illeana Ros-Lehtinen protested the government’s decision to repatriate Cubans to what she called “the Castro Dictatorship”.

“Members of my staff and have been coordinating with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) personnel who are on the ground in Nassau. The UNHCR officials inform us that the Cubans who are being repatriated may not be the same ones who have been offered asylum in Panama,” the Congresswoman said in a statement.

“The Bahamian government has finally acknowledged that the beatings that were caught on video occurred and we hope that the new security cameras, as well as the removal of these abusive guards, will have some positive impact on the lives of these freedom seeking Cubans. It is shameful that because the Bahamian government rejected their refugee status, the State Department policy states that the US cannot take them in after proper vetting. 

“I will continue to monitor this sad situation and I will continue to press the Bahamian government that it must cease the deplorable detainment conditions under which Cubans are not fed adequately nor treated humanely; it must honour the generous asylum protections offered by third countries, such as Panama and it must coordinate with US officials and the UNHCR so that the present conditions of a lack of information ceases,” she said.

Comments

TalRussell 6 years, 3 months ago

The Comrade Madame Congresswoman's own Republican Party has never demonstrated the high level of respect for Cubans as any of our respective Bahamaland's government administrations have always extended.The present US practice toward Cubans is to stop them from reaching American dry land. Those Cubans who are not lucky enough to reach the shore are Immediately returned to Cuba, unless they fear persecution there, but only those who meet the definition of asylum refugee are accepted to eventually be resettled to a THIRD country. Even when our Bahamaland's own illegal or trouble makers enter the US, they are eventually deported back home. Minister Freddie stick to your guns. It might hurt the red shirts, if they stood alongside a minister who has proven time after time, that he is not detached from the seriousness of illegal immigration problems...and they are serious. Some of his own cabinet colleagues and MP's need to take a break away from bad mouthing the minister behind his back.

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SP 6 years, 3 months ago

Fred Mitchell & Bahamas government....STAND YOUR GROUND!!

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cx 6 years, 3 months ago

“The Bahamian government has finally acknowledged that the beatings that were caught on video occurred and we hope that the new security cameras, as well as the removal of these abusive guards"

Come again when did the government say this. This woman talking out her ass

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proudloudandfnm 6 years, 3 months ago

Fred needs to clarify with this lying congress woman that the video was a fake. Period. How can she make that statement about us admitting detainees were beaten? My God man can't republicans EVER TELL THE DAMNED TRUTH!?!?!?

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Stapedius 6 years, 3 months ago

Don't worry man. She's simply pandering to the South Florida block of voters who are by and large Latino Americans. Remember that there is always an election around the corner, so the right things must be said.

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TheObjectiveVoice 6 years, 3 months ago

Someone needs to tell this Congresswoman, we don't play this kind of thing over here... this is the wrong place and we don't go looking for trouble. We didn't even tell the Cubans to set sail this way... Next time, we need to turn the boats back around and let them keep sailing. We will save a ton of money from detention and repatriation efforts and put it into educating our kids. Where is my unmovable, unshakeable Fred.... She don't know what can of worms she just opened up because he does not back down. I want to know what pressure she is going to put on what governmentttt...she needs to put pressure on the Cuban government not ours. Those folks are back home now... we're done.

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getrightbahamas 6 years, 3 months ago

Are Haitians to black to get press? I guess the Republican party has decided to try at the Cuban vote but their dislike for Haitians is to strong to lobby for them. help me somebody.

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Stapedius 6 years, 3 months ago

So true man. It amazes me the attention that Cuban asylum seekers get in comparison to Haitians. Haiti with its social, political and economic turmoil can't even get meaningful help from the French who once enslaved them. Yet, everyone is up in arms about Cuba. The whole 'Wet Foot, Dry Foot' policy began under Clinton was unfair and had racial discrimination written all over it. The Cuban-Americans would have thrown a fit had the same policy been applied to Haitians who were adrift at see and found their way to U.S. shores. You, see the policy is only suppose to be for them. No one else has suffered hardship more than them it seems. Pathetic.

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gangof4 6 years, 3 months ago

Actually, the Cuban (Refugee) Adjustment Act (CAA) is a US federal law, enacted in 1966 during the Johnson Administration, which gave Cubans special dispensation with regards to immigrating to the US, when compared to any other country. The "wet foot, dry foot" policy, enacted during the Clinton Administration in 1994, and a further revision to the act in 1995, was an amendment/revision to this "special law", when the status quo of U.S. policy toward Cuban migrants was altered significantly. Whereas before, there was basically an open door policy towards Cuban migrants, the Clinton revisions actually made it more difficult for them to enter the US. The point of the new laws was basically to create a more safe, legal and orderly policy. Prior to 1995, the US had been reluctant to repatriate people to Cuba and the Cuban government typically had also refused to accept Cuban migrants back - probably the Mariel boat lift ("Scarface") when Fidel emptied out his prisons and institutions for the criminally insane and sent them to the States had a lot to do with this. At the end of the day, Cubans are treated differently because a special act of congress, passed nearly 50 years ago, during the height of the Cold War.

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concernedcitizen 6 years, 3 months ago

very informative post ,,,i learned something new about our region ,,thanks

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Stapedius 6 years, 3 months ago

Thanks for that. I am probably too young to know that bit of history so its great that you can fill in the gaps for us. I appreciate it.But still I think the policy has its political and racial bias. This is a point that has been argued by many illegal immigrants coming to the United Staties. I once heard a Mexican make the point and in some respects he is correct. Most of the Southwestern US was once Mexican territory and they are geographically joined yet there is no special conditions for them. I wouldn't talk about Haitians. Their supporters have argued for years that the policy is not fair and that Haitians are in just as much economic turmoil and danger at sea as Cubans. The Cold War is over and Castro has one foot in the ground. Isn't about time the US rethink its policies. But, in saying that I would also say that we as a country really need to sort out our immigration policies. I'm all for migration of people, but we need to make clear policy decisions so that we don't find ourselves in such awkward positions. Again, thanks for the history. I will take the time and go look this info up.

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spoitier 6 years, 3 months ago

I use to thing that it was racial, but if you look deeper at it one would see that just maybe it could be other reasons. First, I love my Haitian brothers, however, most Haitians that goes to the U.S on a boat isn't that educated due to the fact of what is going on in Haiti, and on the second hand a lot of those Cubans that goes have undergrads, advance degrees, excel in athletics, music, etc. So if you look at it, a lot of them can help the U.S immediately. A lot of the Haitians go on to have productive live in the U.S by educating themselves and bieng outstanding citizens, but even that will be a strain on a countries resources to get them to that stage.

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John 6 years, 3 months ago

The actions to send the Trouble-making Cubans back to face Castro wasn't taken a moment too soon. Send a loud and clarion message that anyone that comes here (illegally) and attempts to destabalize this country's economy will be dealt with accordingly. Let them send video to Miami now and show what they have to face back in Cuba. This congresswoman kept her mouth full of peach cobbler all the while the protests against the Bahamas was going on, but when the Bahamas decides to take action to bring the matter to an she can bbble all over the headlines. These people have no respect for Bahamians and don't be surprised if their intention was to destroy the Bahamas tourism product. Remember we are South Florida's closest competitor in Tourism and Cuban migrants comprise the majority of South Florida's residents and business people

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