Another Canadian tourist held for ransom by Cuba’s Castro dictatorship
When you vacation on an island ruled by an international crime syndicate, you always run the risk of becoming another one of their victims.
Mississauga man trapped in Cuba after car accident
Damian Buksa, a 34-year-old Mississauga man, fell asleep in the back of his rental car. His guide drove the car and crashed into a tree. Now Buksa can’t leave the country.
A back-seat nap turned into a nightmare for Damian Buksa, who says an evening at a bar in Cuba ended with his guide dying in a car accident and the Mississauga man becoming stranded in the country for months.
Buksa, 34, says he was asleep in his rental car after leaving the bar when his guide fatally plowed into a tree. Buksa was questioned by police, who allowed him to keep his passport but advised him not to leave Cuba.
That was nearly three months ago. Buksa still has little information on when he will be permitted to leave.
“When I woke up . . . I didn’t know we were in a different place. I felt something on my forehead and wipe my hand and see blood. I looked around the car — carnage. I knew something bad had happened,” he said in a phone interview.
Buksa said the guide took the keys from his pocket while he slept. Two women they had been drinking with at the bar were in the car with them, he said. Both women survived.
Buksa, who is trained as an electronics engineer, said he sought help from the Canadian Embassy and was told to listen to the Cubans.
He was billed $7,000 for the rental car and about $2,000 in medical costs for himself and another injured passenger. He said he has paid up but was still told not to leave the country.
Buksa is not the first Canadian to be stranded in Cuba after a car accident. Cody LeCompte, then 19, spent three months there in 2010 after his rental car was sideswiped by a truck. Police also told him he must stay while the investigation was ongoing.
“Traffic accidents are a frequent cause of arrest and detention of Canadians in Cuba,” according to the Canadian government’s Cuba travel advice. All accidents are treated as crimes and those involved may be asked to stay in the country until the trial is done. The document says cases can take between five months and a year to go to trial.
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