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Cubans to testify in Bahamas abuse hearings
Published on February 6, 2014 Email To Friend    Print Version

By Royston Jones Jr.
Nassau Guardian Staff Reporter

NASSAU, Bahamas -- Cuban ambassador to The Bahamas, Ernesto Soberon Guzman, said on Tuesday that while his government is still in talks with the government of The Bahamas about two Cuban men reportedly involved in an alleged detainee abuse scandal returning to The Bahamas, they will be able to testify “one way or the other”.

guzman.jpg
Ernesto Soberon Guzman
His comments come more than a month after Bahamian officials requested that the men – Yordan Cantero and Alexander Vazcuez – be given permission to return.

The men are at the centre of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force abuse hearings.

“We are working on that with the Bahamian authorities,” said Guzman, who was interviewed by The Nassau Guardian during a break on Guardian Radio 96.9 FM’s Darold Miller Live.

“We are suggesting some alternatives to do that, but definitely we will cooperate in this matter.

“...At the end of the day they will be able to testify in the [hearing] by one way or the other, but they will testify.

“I think that this is a most important thing that they testify in the [hearing], and they tell the people their version of the story.”

It is alleged that several Cuban detainees were severely beaten at the Carmichael Road Detention Centre after they attempted to escape the facility last May.

When asked when the Cuban government could provide a response, Guzman said he did not know.

Attorney Wayne Munroe, who represents five marines accused of abusing the detainees, has said in the event the men are not granted permission to travel, the parties involved in the hearing should travel to Cuba.

Asked whether this was one of the alternatives the Cuban government is proposing, Guzman said, “It could be, but now we [do] not [have] a definite solution to that.

“We are working on that. That is one way and it could be that they come here...We have different options on the table.”

Guzman said both governments have been in talks over the matter since the alleged abuse at the detention center came to light, but he could not say when the matter was last discussed.

“As I have told you before, this is not an issue because we have the ability and the will to sit and talk about it and find a solution,” he said.

So far, 23 people have testified in the hearing, according to Munroe.

His clients deny the allegations.

Carlos Pupo, a former detainee who alleged that he was abused, testified in December, according to the attorney.

He said Pupo testified that he was beaten from 3 am to sunrise.

A defence force officer, who is also a lawyer, is prosecuting the matter.

The hearings are closed.

Republished with permission of the Nassau Guardian
 
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