Remember the case of the three Cubans who escaped from the Curacao Drydock Company where they were working under horrific conditions as slaves? There´s a disturbing story from Canada about four Cuban sailors jumping shiip last week.
Four Cuban sailors who jumped ship in Saint John citing brutal working conditions are now claiming refugee status.
The sailors left the Greek-owned cargo ship Dimitra G docked at the New Brunswick port last Tuesday.
The men described poor working conditions on the ship, said interpreter Angel Negreira, with no heat or air conditioning.
“These people work a minimum of 84 hours a week. They have to work continuously.”
The men’s hands are covered in heavy calluses and torn skin. Their pay was between $2.50 to $3 per hour, Negreira said.
Negreira said they will be seeking refugee status in Canada on the grounds of the political and economic situation in Cuba.
Here’s the rub:
On Friday, the Cubans, escorted by an inspector from the International Transport Workers’ Federation and Negreira, boarded the ship in search of approximately $12,000 in back pay.
“They’re confiscating their pay to give it back to their families in Cuba,” inspector Gerard Bradbury said he was told after meeting with the captain of the vessel.
In the Curacao Drydock Company case, the regime parcelled out the workers as slaves in payment to the company for services rendered rather than part with cash. You have to question just how many Cuban workers are involved in what appears to be a slave trade with international shipping companies.
Transport Canada detained the ship following an inspection Friday.
Spokeswoman Tracey Hennessey said the vessel was detained for safety violations, though she couldn’t say whether or not the detention was related to the Cuban sailors’ claims.
“It does not meet some of the required safety standards, including those under safety of life at sea,” Hennessey said in an interview Sunday.
The ship would have to address those safety concerns before Transport Canada allows it to leave, she said.
After leaving the ship, the sailors walked to a local police station where immigration officials were called.
“They just want their self-respect back,” Negreira said. “They have no clothing. They have no place to live. They have nothing.”
They four men had to spend a night in a holding cell because there was nowhere else to send them in town, but are now staying with a local Spanish-speaking family. They have still not spoken to their families in Cuba because they can’t afford the telephone call.
Immigration Canada is expected to make a decision regarding their case by Nov. 6.
I’m hoping that some of our Canadian readers will somehow contact these men and give them a hand, or email us the info and we’ll get them some assisstance. ~Coño~
Read the whole story here.