Cuban couple deported after opting to come ashore

| 26/04/2011

(CNS): A Cuban couple who arrived in the Cayman Islands last month by boat have been repatriated, Immigration officials revealed on Tuesday. The married couple did not apply for asylum, immigration stated, and were both returned to Cuba almost two weeks ago on Wednesday, 13 April. The migrants had opted to land after the vessel in which they arrived, carrying 21 persons, was intercepted on 10 March off the north coast of Grand Cayman. They were the only ones who decided to come ashore and were subsequently processed by Immigration staff. Their companions opted to continue their journey to Honduras. (Photo Dennie WarrenJr)

So far this year, three Cuban vessels have arrived in Cayman waters and to date the man and wife were the first to choose to land and face deportation rather than continue on what is often a treachorous journey risked by other migrants.

Cayman policy dictates that the Cuban migrants cannot be assisted by the Cayman Islands if they wish to continue with their journey away from Cuba. If they request help, even food, water and fuel, they will be taken into custody and eventually repatriated to Cuba. If the migrants choose not to be deported they must leave Cayman waters unassisted. 

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  1. Baldric says:

    "As a result of an MOU between the Cayman Islands and the neighbouring island of Cuba migrants cannot legally be assisted by anyone in the Cayman Islands to continue their journey from Cuba." 




    The essence of the MOU is the ‘understanding’ that Cuba accepts the repatriation of any Cuban who sets foot on the Cayman Islands but does not claim asylum. Cayman patrols Fidel’s borders to molify him and avoid him triggering a ‘Mariel’ style boatlift on the Cayman Islands. 


    One person who may legally render assistance is the Chief Immigration Officer – The Immigration Law(2009 Revision) Part VII (12) Where a person who has applied for or intends to apply for asylum is desirous of voluntarily leaving the Islands for a country in which he hopes to take up residence, the Chief Immigration Officer may render to him- (a) advice and other help in relation to his proposed journey; and (b) financial assistance to defray the cost of his travel and upkeep. 


    When Manderson was the Chief Immigration Officer he created and propogated the myth that handing out a bottle of water to a Cuban was somehow illegal in and of itself – even though the power to assist was clearly vested in his offical role. He’s was a son of the soil OK, quick to cite the law but slow to obey it.


    CNS: You are right that we were wrong about the MOU – I have changed that in the story – but you are right and wrong in the last several paragraphs. The immigration law refers to people who intend to apply for asylum, which is not the case for most migrants – the US wet foot-dry foot law means they don’t have to. I have attached the 2005 policy passed by Cabinet and the GIS press release that came with it FYI. As far as I know this policy is still in effect. I’ll put the MOU and other stuff in the library when I get a minute, including the 2004 policy, which I think I still have, which states that the migrants could be given basic assistance by Cayman officials. 

  2. Dennis says:

    They are picked up at the airport and after a medical check taken back to their Government built house. Come on do we really believe that this couple and other Cubans would go back to Cuba if others go missing?

    Many of the Cuban nationals who come here have made repeated attemps to leave Cuba.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I wonder if they do investigations as to what happens to the Cubans who have absconded and were repatriated back to Cuba against their will. I have heard some of them go missing.

    • Anonymous says:

      That is not true, they are given a medical examination, and held in detention for three days to have this done, then they are transported back to their individual homes.
      The only problem is that if they had a job before leaving, they will loose that job to someone else, and will have to apply for another. Dont fool your self, Cubans dress better than me and you. Some of them, and I repeat some of them struggle for a few things. But they wear the latest designer clothes, the best weave hair, nails and toes done, have the best cell phones but will sell their food and clothes to but an expensive cel. They have recorders, Ipod, laptop, internet and everything we have. They just want more, trust me when I say this because I live there.

      • Anonymous says:

        That’s the biggest load of absolute rubbish I’ve ever heard. Cubans with laptops, ipods and designer clothes?

        Anybody that’s every been to Cuba knows what it is like and how poor the people are. 


      • Anonymous says:

         dude! Miami is NOT Cuba!

      • Anonymous says:

        You are totally wrong. You need to walk a mile in their shoes to understand. Have you ever lived under Castro’s oppressive regime?
        Do you know what happens to repatriated Cubans when they are returned to Cuba? They are jailed and many disappear altogether. Family members are told they must have drowned at sea. You are very ignorant and naive. Cayman Island’s policy of not rending help, providing food and water as well as medical assistance often amounts to a death sentence to these freedom loving people who will rather continue to Honduras or another safe haven rather than risk the almost certain reality of being repatriated. We treat them worst than animals. Even a dog will get food and water if he needs it. As I drive through this beautiful paradise and see so many churches of many denominations I can’t help but notice the irony. Where is the heart of the Caymanian people, people that have a history of slavery and oppression very similar to thatof many Cubans today.