By Caribbean News Now contributor
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados -- The ministry of foreign affairs and foreign trade in Bridgetown has announced that the governments of Barbados and Cuba have finally reached a successful conclusion in the negotiations to have convicted drug trafficker Raul Garcia repatriated to Cuba.
Raul Garcia (Photo: Nation)
Garcia served a 20-year jail sentence for drug trafficking but, on his release from prison in March 2010, was taken into custody by immigration authorities pending his possible deportation.
However, Garcia was not allowed to return to his native land of Cuba because he did not qualify for repatriation to Cuba under its laws, or to the United States, where he had lived from the age of ten.
After being held in continued custody by the immigration department for three years, in February 2013 the Barbados court ruled that, with no country willing to take him, Garcia could not be detained indefinitely and ordered his release.
On January 14, 2013, new immigration regulations took effect in Cuba, with significant changes in the categories of persons eligible for repatriation. The Barbados minister of foreign affairs and foreign trade, Senator Maxine McClean, wrote to her Cuban counterpart, Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla, on February 12, again requesting that Garcia be accepted, in light of the immigration amendments.
Regular follow-up discussions between the foreign ministry and the Cuban embassy finally resulted in a bilateral meeting between the two foreign ministers on Friday, September 6, in Grenada, in which the matter was resolved and a process outlined for Garcia’s repatriation.