Miami: Just released Cuban refugees detained in the Bahamas tell of beatings and sexual abuse
Cuban arrivals from Bahamas allege beatings and sexual abuses
The first Cubans to arrive in Miami from a notorious migrant detention center in Bahamas this month alleged Friday that guards regularly beat some of the male inmates and sexually abused some of the women.
One of the women repatriated from the center to Cuba earlier this month arrived pregnant by a guard, according to the Democracy Movement, a Miami group that has been helping the undocumented migrants detained in Nassau.
The movement led a string of protests against the Bahamas government this summer after detainees at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre smuggled out cell phone images of inmates sewing their lips together in protest and an alleged guard kicking prisoners.
Randy Rodriguez, 31, his wife Misleidy Olivera, 30, and their two children were the first detainees to speak in person to journalists about conditions at the center after they arrived in Miami on a flight from Nassau.
“That video is real, and after the video came the beatings” by guards as punishment for the negative publicity, said Rodriguez.
Bahamas Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell has said the video is a fake, though Bahamas news media reports this week indicate it is real. He said recently that the allegations are under investigation.
“I wish to say that no one from the Bahamas government has admitted that there was any abuse of detainees by the Bahamas government,” he said in an Aug. 18 statement.
Detainee Alexander Vásquez said he suffered a punctured lung from two broken ribs and his brother suffered a cut on his head that required 17 stitches in a hospital. Rodriguez said he still has a lump on his forehead, from a kick, that refuses to go away.
One night the guards tear gassed the wards to force everyone outside despite a heavy rain and then kept them, face down on the ground and lined up should-to-shoulder, from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m., he said.
One hefty guard then counted the inmates, twice, by walking on their backs, each step counting one prisoner, he added.
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