Thursday, June 4, 2015

Cuba 2015: State security still murders fleeing refugees

 Totalitarian terror remains unchanged in Cuba

Yuriniesky Martínez Reina, in orange, with his dad and son (L). Shot in the back (R)
An extrajudicial execution 
On April 9, 2015 a group of men in their 20s and 30s were building a small boat to escape Cuba when they were shot at by the head of state security, Miguel Angel Río Seco Rodríguez, in the municipality of Martí in the province of Matanzas in Cuba. Shot in the back and left for two days in a lagoon, before being found by his brother, was 28 year old Yuriniesky Martínez Reina. Unlike the families of many other victims who are intimidated into silence, Yuriniesky's family spoke out, identified his killer and demanded justice in a video published on April 27, 2015 by Libertad Press.

Not the first time
The extrajudicial killing of fleeing refugees has been an ongoing practice of the dictatorship in Cuba. Well documented cases, prior to this one, included a formal complaint in 1993 by the United States government.

Cuban gunboat patrolling waters near Guantanamo, Cuba
Long term pattern of killing and cruelty
U.S. soldiers patrolling the perimeter of the Guantanamo naval base had been surprised by the sounds of explosions then horrified by what they observed. This led to a formal diplomatic note to the Cuban government by the Clinton Administration. This in turn led to a front page story in The Miami Herald on July 7, 1993 which described what the soldiers had witnessed:
Cuban marine patrols, determined to stop refugees from reaching the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, have repeatedly tossed grenades and shot at fleeing swimmers and recovered some bodies with gaff hooks, U.S. officials charged Tuesday. At least three Cubans have been killed in the past month as Cuban patrol boats attacked swimmers within sight of U.S. Navy personnel at Guantanamo.
A year later on July 13, 1994 the tugboat "13 de marzo" was surrounded, attacked and sunk by regime agents in a massacre that killed 37 Cuban refugees, the majority women and children.

Extrajudicially executed by Cuban government agents on July 13, 1994
Incidentally on December 16, 2014 the day before President Obama announced a new policy on Cuba, and that the White House had been engaged in 18 months of secret negotiations with the Castro regime, the Cuban coastguard rammed and sank a boat with 32 Cuban refugees on board. On this occasion one refugee is missing and presumed dead, Liosbel Díaz Beoto (age 32) while the others were repatriated to Cuba.

Liosbel Díaz Beoto (age 32) Missing, presumed dead

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