Crime in Cuba: Just because it’s not reported doesn’t make it safe
Crime in Cuba: Just because it's not reported doesn't make it safe
Today we learned that Lara Jones, a 26 year old British woman who was "a highly experienced and cautious traveler", was murdered in Cuba last year. The young woman according to news accounts was attracted to the Caribbean island, by its boasts of enjoying the lowest crime rate in the Western Hemisphere.
Unfortunately, the claim that Cuba has the lowest crime rate in the hemisphere is most likely untrue. In addition to the non-reporting on cholera and dengue outbreaks there is a history of delaying and not reporting serious crimes in Cuba. An exchange student studying Spanish in Havana was gunned down and robbed by Cuban soldier(s) in Havana on March 29, 1997.This is not a new or isolated phenomenon.
The Miami Herald on December 19, 2001 reported on the roadside murder of a family of five in Cuba stating:
Florida residents as Ada Lorenzo, 52, and Celedonio Placencia, 60, who were assaulted late Sunday or early Monday as they traveled from Havana to their family's home in Santa Clara.
The three other victims lived on the island: one of the couple's twin daughters, 28-year-old Yailén Placencia; their grandson Daniel Osmani Placencia Pérez; and Domingo Delgado, a family friend who picked them up at José Martí International Airport in Havana.
The couple had flown to Cuba on Sunday to visit Celedonio Placencia's gravely ill mother, family members said. Their bodies were found along a stretch of the Ocho Vias highway near Matanzas. Relatives in Florida said they were shot and stabbed and that the couple's daughter had her throat slit.
In the same article other killings and disappearances were reported:
In May 2001, an American priest was strangled in his home in central Havana, a month after he returned to Cuba to help the poor. The Rev. George Zirwas, 47, originally from McDonald, Pa., near Pittsburgh, was found by a neighbor. A State Department official said his apartment was ransacked.
In January 1999, two Cubans were sentenced to death for the September 1998 murder of two Italian tourists. A foreign press agency said the two Cubans also confessed to killing a German tourist in
November 1997 and a Canadian of Iranian descent in August 1998.
In November 1999, Claudia von Weiss de Venegas, a German married to a Bolivian with business ties in Cuba, disappeared from the Playa Giron area. She is still missing.
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