By KHRISNA VIRGIL
Tribune Staff Reporter
A FORMER Cuban detainee at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre has told a Florida talk show host that he suffers from psychological problems and chronic spinal pain more than a year after he was allegedly beaten by Royal Bahamas Defence Force marines.
The testimony of Alexander Vazcuez is the last piece of evidence the prosecution needs to wrap up its arguments in the ongoing hearing into abuse allegations at the Detention Centre. Mr Vazcuez made his comments as a guest on the Maria Elvira Salazar show on Tuesday. He alleged that two of his ribs were broken and lungs perforated because of the beating.
Attorney Lorenzo J Palomares-Starbuck, who is representing Mr Vazcuez, told The Tribune yesterday that his client is willing to testify via Skype or through a deposition at the law offices of the Palomares-Starbuck and Associates in Miami.
On Tuesday, attorney Wayne Munroe who is representing the marines accused of the alleged abuse, said the proceedings were suspended to give the Ministry of Foreign Affairs time to locate Mr Vazcuez.
“Mr Alexander Vazcuez is here in the United States, in particular, Miami, Florida, under counsel’s advisement and counsel,” Mr Starbuck said. “He has sought admission to the United States through the Cuban Adjustment Act and is pending adjustment and documentation. At the present time he is under parole consistent with Cuban Adjustment Act. Mr Vazcuez is available to testify via Skype or through a deposition in my law office.”
Mr Starbuck is representing Mr Vazcuez in all matters related to the alleged violation of his civil rights that were committed at the Detention Centre.
While on the show, Mr Vazcuez told Ms Salazar that he did nothing wrong and was unsure of whether he was targeted for abuse.
The show is a Spanish language programme, however the interview was translated by an interpreter for The Tribune.
He said: “It was a morning like any other. They showed up and told everyone to get outside. And there they threw us on the floor. It was raining. They grabbed me, Yordan (Canter) and two other Cubans. They separated us from the other Cubans and they (allegedly) gave us a beating that broke two of my ribs, the ribs perforated my lung.
“In Cuba they took me to psychologists because I wake up in the early morning thinking I’m still in the Bahamas with that beating they gave me. My spine still hurts, I have to take painkillers because my spine continues to hurt. My lung still doesn’t work the same.”
He added: “Listen, when I suffered that, they weren’t going to take us to the hospital or anything, they left us thrown in a corner without even putting us back with the other Cubans. So the other Cubans who were there launched hunger strikes so they would take us to the hospital.”
The men were allegedly beaten after they tried to escape from the facility on May 20, 2013. Following a series of protests against the Bahamas and statements by a Florida Cuban exile group, the Democracy Movement, the hearings started last November. They have been postponed since early December.
The matter resumed on Tuesday. Mr Cantero, accompanied by two Cuban police officers, was flown from Cuba to testify on Tuesday. Carlos Pupo spoke before the panel last year.
Mr Munroe noted that there were several inconsistencies with Mr Cantero’s account of the events that took place.
He said: “In brief I can say that what Cantero had to say was different from Pupo’s remarks and extremely different from that of the Immigration officers who took them to the hospital and spoke with them after the incident. The base executive officer came to the centre and talked to them – he denies that. Overall he denied some very fundamental things.”
According to documents obtained by The Tribune last year, a young Defence Force marine admitted that on the direction of his superiors, he punched, kicked and beat unresisting Cuban detainees with a stick until they screamed.