Portofino Resort- Now with a new BEACH BAR!!
Page 1 of 2 1 2 >
Topic Options
#231798 - 03/08/07 03:26 AM Fleeing Cubans land in Caymans, sent off quickly
Marty Offline
Fleeing Cubans land among the cruise ships in Grand Cayman
Published on Wednesday, March 7, 2007 Email To Friend Print Version


By John Evans, Cayman Net News

GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands: Eleven Cubans, nine men and two women, fled their country and braved rough seas in a makeshift boat to sail into George Town harbour in Grand Cayman last Friday.


On their way to Honduras, the Cubans restart their vessel and wave goodbye to Grand Cayman. Photo by John Evans
They had made the journey from Cuba through waters off Cayman Brac, where they had been sighted on Thursday afternoon. Early Friday morning, they were spotted heading west by residents in South Sound, Grand Cayman.

At 9:30 am they were greeted at George Town’s North Terminal - used by millions of cruise shippers - not as welcomed guests but as an embarrassment to the assembled officials.

In the past, these landings have taken place well away from the main tourist areas but, by design or luck, this latest arrival took place under the scrutiny of hundreds of visiting tourists.

With their hands tied by the terms of the Cayman Island’s notorious Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Cuba, Immigration Officers were forced to give the refugees two simple choices – land and be repatriated or continue on your way with no help.

The MOU dictates that no assistance of any sort be given to Cuban migrants who choose to continue their journey. In the past this has been applied to the letter, with boats being denied basic supplies like water, food and fuel. However, under the watchful eyes of local media and cruise shippers, the officials gave some assistance to the boat people.

After initial discussion, a crate of bottled water was provided. Seven of the refugees were then allowed ashore while the other four completed repairs to a broken propeller shaft.

All the time, George Town was full of tourists. Many of them stopped to ask what all the fuss was about and to take photographs.

The reaction of those who found out what was happening reflected shock and disbelief. A couple from Canada said they could not believe that a British colony would treat refugees in this way. They questioned the legality of the action and the credibility of the UK government.

Visitors from the USA added that they now viewed the Cayman Islands in a completely different light. For them, the picture they had on arrival of an idyllic vacation resort had been shattered.

On the dockside and along the road, sympathy for the Cubans was clearly evident. People whose cruise ship had sailed through rough weather the night before, marvelled at the fact the Cubans had reached George Town safely and expressed concern that the Cayman Islands Government was planning to force the refugees to continue their journey.

Women openly wept when they heard what was happening, people protested to the officials present and tried to provide assistance.

On the boat, the Cubans set about making repairs, baling out water and getting ready for the next leg of the journey – over 400 miles to Honduras.

On shore, local taxi drivers tried to provide food. Immigrations officers agreed to allow it through, but there were delays. People tried to pass money and clothing to those on the boat but these were not let through. One concerned person obtained the telephone number of the parents of one of the refugees, then called them to say he was safe.

As the repairs neared completion, the officials appeared to be deciding to hurry matters along. Tourists collected money to buy Kentucky Fried Chicken, which was passed to the boat. More bottles of water arrived, and even hats and a pair of sunglasses were brought to the travellers.

With the repairs complete, the boat’s engine was started and it made a short test run round Hog Sty Bay before picking up the last passengers.

Almost exactly at 1:00 pm, escorted by the port patrol boat and waved on by a crowd of well wishers, nine of the Cubans set out to try and reach freedom while their two companions, who had decided to stay, were led away by Immigration officers.

Amongst those observing events were many Cubans - passengers on a visiting cruise ship - who themselves had fled the Castro regime in improvised boats. One man told Cayman Net News that he had reached Florida in 1963 after making the journey in a small boat. He wished the departing refugees a safe voyage. “With God’s will they are going to reach Honduras, but I fear you are sending them to their deaths,” he said sadly.


Top
#231825 - 03/08/07 04:04 PM Re: Fleeing Cubans land in Caymans, sent off quickly [Re: Marty]
Otteralum Offline
Not a fan of U.S. policy toward Cuba, but I am certainly no fan of Cuba either. Cuba is to be commended for its disaster response and medical establishment, but these are pin-points of light in a dark dark land.

Unfortunately, if Chavez's oil wealth dries-up we will see the same thing in Venezuela.

You can only blame the Caymans for so much here. CARICOM nations are forced to deal with anti-American sentiment and take sides between warring ideologies in the region. Not fair, but that's the game. It's a bad idea to alienate the U.S. and a bad idea to alienate Castro/Chavez if you want to have credibility in the region. Catch-22 for smaller nations like Belize and the BWI.

You can blame the West for starving Cuba, but this is a bad argument. Socialism doesn't work people.
_________________________
I will have a Belikin -- put it on klcman's tab.

Top
#231850 - 03/08/07 06:39 PM Re: Fleeing Cubans land in Caymans, sent off quickly [Re: Otteralum]
Anonymous
Well said, O. Concise and accurate!

Top
#231853 - 03/08/07 07:17 PM Re: Fleeing Cubans land in Caymans, sent off quickly [Re: ]
Sir Isaac Newton Offline
Well stated Otter!

It's the US though that is usually blamed, not the West.
_________________________
Check out my site: www.ambergriscayerealestate.net

Top
#231855 - 03/08/07 07:42 PM Re: Fleeing Cubans land in Caymans, sent off quickly [Re: Sir Isaac Newton]
Bobber Offline
I also would like to see normalized relations with Cuba. the nationalization of US assets in Cuba, and even the missile crisis are far in the past and should be relegated to the history bin. Unfortunately, as long as the socialist government is in power (and Castro), this probably won't happen.
_________________________
Been there, done that, the washing machine ate the T-shirt

Top
#231888 - 03/09/07 12:31 AM Re: Fleeing Cubans land in Caymans, sent off quickly [Re: Bobber]
2MILESNORTHOFCUT Offline
Any one who gets up to Tranquility resort AKA Tackle Box north (Near turtle mans place and Robels point) Take a look at the homemade Cuban boat that is on the shore by the dock. I was told that some Cuban refugees ran it on the reef and got deported. The construction of the boat is interesting, very crude but usable, Check it out someday.

Top
#231912 - 03/09/07 03:06 PM Re: Fleeing Cubans land in Caymans, sent off quickly [Re: 2MILESNORTHOFCUT]
Otteralum Offline
I said something that SIN and Rykat both agree with???

Let me check the book of Revelations -- I'm sure there's something in there about this moment.

smile
_________________________
I will have a Belikin -- put it on klcman's tab.

Top
#231919 - 03/09/07 04:08 PM Re: Fleeing Cubans land in Caymans, sent off quickly [Re: Otteralum]
KC Jayhawk Offline
Otter, I saw a movie about this phenomenon once, called "When Worlds Collide". shocked
_________________________
When you find a big kettle of crazy, it's best not to stir it.

Top
#231945 - 03/09/07 07:02 PM Re: Fleeing Cubans land in Caymans, sent off quickly [Re: KC Jayhawk]
Sir Isaac Newton Offline
But isn't China a communist state? Oh, I forgot they will be the next world power, we all should be nice to them (even despite their obvious human rights violations). General Tzao's chicken anyone?
_________________________
Check out my site: www.ambergriscayerealestate.net

Top
#231948 - 03/09/07 07:24 PM Re: Fleeing Cubans land in Caymans, sent off quickly [Re: Sir Isaac Newton]
Otteralum Offline
Ahh, but what changes have they embraced that have allowed them to be interpreted as the next world power? Hint: It ain't communism.
_________________________
I will have a Belikin -- put it on klcman's tab.

Top
Page 1 of 2 1 2 >

Links
Click for excellent scuba lessons with Elbert Greer!


Things to do

News
Daily News
Daily Weather

Classified Ads
BelizeNews.com
San Pedro Sun
Ambergris Today
SP Town Council
Channel 7
Channel 5
Amandala
Love FM
The Reporter
Caye Caulker
Chronicles

PLUS TV
TV Newscasts
Radio Stations

Click for our
Search thousands of Belizean-only websites

Event Guides
Event Calendar
Specials & Events
Things to Do
SanPedroScoop
iTravel Belize
Paradise Theater

Blogs
San Pedro Scoop!
Tia Chocolate
Tacogirl
My Beautiful Belize
I-Travel Belize
Belize Adventure
Belize Hub
Romantic Travel
Bound for Belize
Conch Creative
As The Coconuts Drop
More Blogs...
Search thousands of Belizean-only websites
Chaa Creek is an award-winning luxury Belize Resort, rated as one of the worlds best Eco Lodges. We are a pioneer in adventure travel to Belize since 1981!
White Sands Dive Shop - 5 Star PADI Dive Facility - Daily diving, SCUBA instruction and Snorkeling
Caribbean Inspired All Natural Condiments & Spice Blends, Over 100 are Gluten Free!
We manage a variety of homes, apartments, condos and commercial properties here on Ambergris Caye. Our minimum lease on ALL properties is six months.
Conch Shell Inn: All rooms are right on the beach in the heart of San Pedro, so within walking distance to anything and everything!!
Lil’ Alphonse has snorkel equipment to fit anyone as well as Marine Park Tickets and flotation devices to assist those not as experienced.
Coastal Xpress offers a daily scheduled ferry run to most resorts, restaurants and private piers on the island of Anbergris Caye. We also offer  private and charter water taxi service.
Mini Chat

Cayo Espanto
Click for Cayo Espanto, and have your own private island
More Links
Click for exciting and adventurous tours of Belize with Katie Valk!
December
S M T W T F S
1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31
Who's Online
0 registered (), 58 Guests and 3 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
18,672 Registered Members
44 Forums
64,021 Topics
462,210 Posts

Most users ever online: 1,262 @ 06/10/07 07:16 PM




AmbergrisCaye.com CayeCaulker.org HELP! Visitor Center Goods & Services San Pedro Town
BelizeSearch.com Message Board Lodging Diving Fishing Things to Do History
BelizeNews.com Maps Phonebook Belize Business Directory
BelizeCards.com SanPedroDaily.com Picture of the Day

The opinions and views expressed on this board are the subjective opinions of Ambergris Caye Message Board members
and not of the Ambergris Caye Message Board its affiliates, or its employees.