"Working together for a free Cuba"




Open Letter to Bahamas Prime Minister.

P.O. Box 5072, North Bergen, NJ 07047
Tel (201) 868-1310.

October 8, 2004

The R.T. Honorable Perry G. Christie, Prime Minister of The Bahamas.
The Honorable Ruud Lubers, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
The Honorable Louis Arbour, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
The Honorable Janice Marshall, UNHCR, Senior Regional Protection Officer for the Caribbean.
Mr. Santiago Canton, Secretary Executive of the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights.

Esteemed Honorable Officials:

The Committee to Aid Human Rights Activists (CAHRA) a non-profit organization based in New Jersey, the United States of America, respectfully urges you to intercede on behalf of the refugees who are being held at the Nassau Refugee Detention Center in The Bahamas. Several days ago, a commission of our organization visited said refugee center. We were appalled at the brutally inhumane treatment these refugees are receiving. The first impression we had was that the locale looked like a concentration camp. We arrived on visitation day, September 28, 2004. When we asked where the visitation quarters were, we were told: “Over there.” The visitation area is a pigsty of weeds surrounded by wire double fences which separate the visitors from their relatives. The visitors are not able to embrace members of their own families. The space between these fences is so great that everyone has to shout, and often one cannot understand what is being said. The whole situation is pitiful.

But what we saw was nothing compared to what we heard: “This is a hell-hole where everything is lacking, except police brutality –essential hygiene items, medicine, and adequate food.” Even though the refugees arrive without having had a bath for days, smelling so strong that would even repel a skunk, they are provided neither soap nor toothpaste. Visitors have to provide essential hygiene items to their relatives. The refugee who gets no visitors receives nothing… Medical attention is totally lacking. In the Center, a woman, Mayresis Diaz Garcia, who had had a thyroid cancer operation before she left Cuba, is being denied medicine necessary for her treatment. The food, which is given once a day, is unworthy of the name. Worst of all, according to what we were told, the guards sell the good food to those who have American dollars--worse yet for little children who are not even given milk.

On Friday, October 1, 2004, two Cuban refugees, Rene Mendoza and Jorge Luis Conde, who had fled from police persecution in Cuba, were severely beaten. Then a guard named “La Cuca” pointed a gun at their heads and threatened to kill them. After such an incident, one of them was taken to an empty room where several guards at the same time beat him mercilessly. When asked why this was done, the refugees who had witnessed such vile behavior, answered, “They do it for their masochistic pleasure. Here they beat us for anything. Even the guards’ faces show signs of drug addition.”

In the camp, men and women alike get a beating regardless of their being there for reasons of conscience, political beliefs, or economic necessity. It makes no difference if the refugees are from Ghana, Haiti, or Cuba. Among those beaten on October 1, 2004, is Jorge Luis Conde, who arrived at the Carmichael Road Detention Center on September 6, 2004, along with six other Cubans, who were forced to leave Cuba because of their democratic activities. The seven Cubans belong to the Democratic Party 30th of November “Frank Pais” (Partido Democratico 30 de Noviembre “Frank Pais”), a non-violent opposition organization founded in Cuba in 1991.

So extremely barbaric is the treatment of these refugees in the Nassau Detention Center that possibly not even the upper echelons of the Bahamian government of Prime Minister Christie knows about it. The whole matter is disgusting. Therefore, we strongly urge the government of Prime Minister Christie and the competent international organizations, among them the High Commissioner for Refugees of the United Nations in the Caribbean Region and, the Human Rights Organization of the United Nations and the Organization of American States to order an immediate inspection of said Refugee Detention Center in Nassau, and thus live up to their responsibilities.

Furthermore, it is imperative that basic hygienic materials be given to the refugees, and that adequate medical attention and essential food also be given. Also needed a roof to protect the refugees and their family visitors from scorching sun, drenching rain, and the common courtesy of tables and chairs which are required and is signs of a civilized society. The refugees are human beings. Remember, women and children are among those refugees. The Cubans number 67 men, 10 women and 5 small children. Many refugees in that Center have spent months, even years, without their cases being attended.

Finally, we strongly urge that refugees for reasons of conscience and political beliefs not be returned to their respective countries because they will face condemnation to long prison terms. We strongly request respect for them and that they be given visas to enter the United States or at least to go to another democratic country as soon as possible.

Awaiting your prompt response, we remain,


Luis Israel Abreu
Executive Director

Cc: The Honorable Cynthia A. Prat, Minister of National Security of The Bahamas.
The Honorable James Smith, Minister of State of The Bahamas.
The Honorable Vincent Peet, Minister of Labor and Immigration of The Bahamas.
The Honorable Melanie Griffin, Minister of social Services of The Bahamas.
His Excellency Joshua Sears, Ambassador of The Bahamas in the United States of America
His Excellency Edison Bethel, Consulate General of The Bahamas in New York.
Her Excellency Paulette Bethel, Ambassador to the Permanent Mission to the United Nations .

Web site: http://www.30november.org  E-mail: m30november@hotmail.com