By Taneka Thompson
Nassau Guardian Senior Reporter
MIAMI, USA -- A Miami-based Cuban activist group, Democracy Movement, plans to move its protests against The Bahamas to Florida airports that have flights to the islands.
Ramon Sanchez, spokesman of Cuban activist group Democracy Movement, holds a photo of detainees who alleged abuse. Ahvia J. Campbell
The new round of protests will focus on the rights of women who are housed at a detention centre in The Bahamas, group spokesman Ramon Sanchez said on Friday.
Democracy Movement also wants to meet with the Human Rights Commission of the Organization of American States (OAS) to discuss alleged abuse of Cuban detainees at the facility.
On Thursday, Sanchez told The Nassau Guardian the group met with representatives from Carnival Cruise Lines last week to discuss the alleged abuse.
A Carnival representative confirmed on Friday that executives met with Democracy Movement but did not offer further comment.
Sanchez said the group will not relent until the government releases the final report on an investigation into alleged abuse at the centre.
The group also wants the government to put in place measures intended to prevent abuse of detainees and expand its investigation to include allegations of sexual abuse.
Sanchez said Democracy Movement is tired of hearing of delays in the investigation.
“We are certainly not going to rest until this issue is dealt with in a professional and substantial way,” he said. “We have several meetings lined up in the next few weeks.
“I can tell you that we are doing efforts to take the case to the Organization of American States, the Human Rights Commission.
“Unless the Bahamian government does something substantial that indicates to us that it’s willing to acknowledge what was taking place and do something effective to prevent these things from happening again, we have no choice but to continue knocking at the different doors. And we have a lot of them to knock at.
“These issues need to be considered by the government so that we are at ease on the issue and that they will not repeat themselves.”
Attempts to reach Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration Fred Mitchell were unsuccessful.
About 40 protestors held a “silent” demonstration outside The Bahamas Consulate in Miami on Friday.
Sanchez said the protestors wore handcuffs, covered their mouths and held pictures of female Cuban detainees they allege were mistreated at the center before being repatriated. Democracy Movement began protesting against the alleged abuse of Cuban detainees in The Bahamas after a video aired on a Spanish language TV station in Miami.
The video purported to show Cuban detainees being abused by Bahamian guards. The Bahamas government has said the video was staged.
Republished with permission of the Nassau Guardian