Cubans still on hunger strike as CIG considers release

| 12/07/2018 | 57 Comments
Cayman News Service

Cuban asylum seekers in the Cayman Islands planning to go on hunger strike

(CNS): Eight Cuban asylum seekers held at the Immigration Detention Centre (IDC) have continued to refuse the meals and refreshments provided, but officials said that they have been consuming some personal food items and they have all been seen by doctors. The purpose of the hunger strike, which began at the beginning of this month, was to draw attention to how long their cases are taking to be concluded. The authorities have accepted that the Cubans have faced an “inordinate delay” and stated that they are considering their release.

The Immigration Detention Centre, which is near the women’s prison at Fairbanks in George Town, is currently detaining 13 Cuban migrants, with just one woman among them. The group of eight men on hunger strike are members of the unofficial Cuban opposition party, the PNC. They are seeking political asylum as refugees but some have been detained for more than two years as that process unfolds.

Those who are refusing meals have been put under an hourly watch as the authorities monitor their situation. Although all eight detainees have been assessed on multiple occasions by HSA doctors, all but one has refused any kind of treatment. But officials stated that doctors will continue to observe their health and safety, and food and water will continue to be offered to them.

Officials said that the prison staff and immigration officers who are responsible for the detained Cubans will continue to monitor the situation closely to ensure their well-being is properly maintained.

“The Cayman Islands Government remains attentive to the safety, security and well-being of all migrants detained at the IDC as a matter of critical importance,” the authorities said in a release, adding that the Ministry of Human Resources and Immigration and the DOI are currently reviewing alternatives for detention going forward.

“Given the inordinate delay in finalising the detainees’ immigration status, the acting chief immigration officer has agreed to review the continued detention of the migrants. However, in reviewing their detention, any potential risks posed to the community by their release will be the paramount consideration,” the government said.

Describing the situation as sensitive, the government said that further details will not be released to the public until government decides the best way forward.

The situation raises a number of questions for government, as there are questions about the incarceration of people who claim to be refugees while their cases are being heard. CNS contacted the Human Rights Commission after learning about the hunger strike, which was exposed only because some of the migrants were able to access smart phones and post the details of their situation and the planned hunger strike on social media. The HRC has not responded to the request for comment.

The men were able to broadcast a video about the strike and to contact journalists via a smart phone, though government officials said that cellular devices are not allowed within the facility due to safety and security concerns. The Cubans had also claimed that the regular phones at the detention centre were not working and they had been unable to contact their families.

Officials said that the migrants at the IDC do have access to external communication that is provided and coordinated by IDC management. Two landline telephones are available for use within the facility, one of which has been working throughout and a second was returned to service Monday .

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Hungry strike? Blah! They are used to that from where they’re coming from. trump ushering them back home and this lot is caught due to engine failure or the condition of their vessel trying to et to te USA. Sorry folks you have one option a return ticket on Cayman Airways.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Just another way to waste money

  3. john says:


  4. Anonymous says:

    Surprised that a Cuban Nationalist would want to run away…. Kind of an oxymoron?

  5. E. Nygma says:

    These comments from Cayman’s “Christian” population
    Didn’t Mary and Joseph seek refuge from Herod in another land, doesn’t the bible specifically say how to treat foreigners in your land?
    As much as these bible beaters talk down onto certain people like the LGBTQ community and muslims they continue to pick, choose and in many cases refuse to actually take the bible for what it is worth
    Hypocrites one and all, anyone who takes them seriously while they talk out of both sides of their mouths about Caymankind and cultural traditions of acceptance here in Cayman is truly lost
    Feast your eyes on the reality of Cayman, selfish, thoughtless hypocrites who relish the idea of others suffering when there is something we can do to assist them even if temporarily
    an Island built off the backs of men who went to sea or to seek work in foreign jurisdictions now attacks people who do the same here

    Cayman Kind my ass
    As a Caymanian I will always point out the injustices and hypocrisy, especially of our own
    Too many people think Cayman is beyond reproach and above criticism
    It isn’t and it sure as hell isn’t the Utopia many claim it is
    Say what you want about the US, Uk, Europe etc they make their positions known whether you like them or not,
    Here in Cayman we will smile at you and look you right in the eye as we stab you in the back and push you off the boat, and wave while we are sailing off into the sunset

    It’s despicable

    • Anonymous says:

      Did you have breakfast? You seem really upset because youre angry at laws that are specifically in place for a reason.

      • E. Nygma says:

        Your comment addresses nothing I said
        You don’t have to like it
        You don’t have to agree with it publicly, Many Caymanians are aware of the way we act and say nothing about it
        But the fact that your response doesn’t challenge mine in any significant way speaks magnitudes
        You know the truth,
        What you do with it, or say about it, is your business.

        • Anonymous 1 says:

          E. Nygma,

          We may help foreignors in need. But we shouldn’t be so foolish as to help them and deprive our own people!

          Now, you may say granting a small number of Cubans asylum because they want a better economic life, is not going to hurt anyone.

          But how I see it, the numbers do matter. Every Caymanian out of work, affects family conditions.

          Are you saying Cuban families are more important than Caymanian families???

          Also, note, they came here illegally and didn’t have to.

    • Rick says:

      Its ok for Caymanians to make criticism, but as we know if an expat makes any kind of criticism they will be deported. They will never have their work permit renewed. You are correct Cayman is full of back stabbers

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t know what ivory tower you live in but, as a Caymanian things are tough for me too. I am held accountable to the same governing body that will dictate to those who control the fate of these Cubans. I say treat us all equally, if by law we need to put them in a boat and shove them off so be it. I’m not getting free food, free clothing, free shelter, free medical or hell a free phone and time. They say they have it tough? Take the phone away, no more free clothes, put them in conditions a regular prisoner would be in and let them hunger strike then.

      The laws are clear, decide what these Cubans are and follow MOU. Either ship them back or ship them out and stop wasting valuable resources on a bunch of ungrateful people.

    • Bernie Miller says:

      I laugh.

    • Anonymous says:

      Please spare us your sermons and judgements. And why do you think it is appropriate for you to scold the entire population of the Cayman Islands?
      It is an insult to all charitable organizations, volunteers and all good people.

      • E. Nygma says:

        It is the job of every responsible citizen to hold their people to account and to stand for the ideas,principles and morals they think are right
        Just because you don’t or won’t doesn’t mean that everyone else will say nothing
        Notice you didn’t contradict any points made, you just question why I brought it up
        Because all people care about here is perception and framing, out of sight out of mind is our motto here
        You are fine with knowing the truth, but don’t want it brought up

        Silence is complicity, you may feel that you have nothing to do with it because you might not do those particular things
        But if you sit by and watch it happen you are just as guilty

        • Anonymous says:

          It’s these same responsible citizens that created the laws you are complaining about. Their downfall if that they either ignore it when it suits them or don’t act at all.

    • Anonymous says:

      cayman christianity….the biggest joke going…

    • E. Nygma says:

      Take a good read Cayman
      and imagine spending two years of your life in these conditions
      Convicted criminals get better (literally)
      And what do you know 3 of them have been released (and are now being treated like humans not animals)

      Who would have thought

      and for all all the thumbs downs and comments (that conveniently address nothing of substance)


      Don’t act surprised when you are called out

      • Cym.. says:

        We have to keep them in a facility until approval from Cuba to send them back home!

        What do you want us to do? We don’t have the money to build a luxurious facility to house hundred of Cubans. We are not rich.

        Maybe you can help government by donating millions instead of criticizing government.

  6. Elvis says:

    2 years hehe typical cayman speed, money to burn staffing it it seems

  7. Jg says:

    You enter Cuban waters with no passport and cant speak Spanish see what will happen to you. This process deters migrants from coming here. Its sad yes but its also the law. For them to have no issue they have to have passports and inform Port Authority like everyone else.

  8. Anonymous says:

    ‘The group of eight men on hunger strike are members of the unofficial Cuban opposition party, the PNC.’ Are they really members of the PNC or just using this to cover up the fact they’re economic migrants?

    I did a visit to the IDC a few years ago and bluntly these Cubans are so full of ***t you can’t believe a word they say. We heard claims that if the detainees were sent back they’d be locked up or killed then discovered some of them had already been here two or even three times but clearly survived their repatriations.

    I’ve worked with genuine refugees including Vietnamese boat people and the people in the IDC just looked to me like a bunch of dodgy chancers in comparison.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Let’s get them to Cuba now. You are not on hunger strike if you are eating ” on the side”. Kayla at the compass has been taken for a ride by the Cubans. She had so much to learn.

    The Cubans are playing the system and dragging out the process and then complain that everything is taking too long.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Who is in charge of asylum claims? Is the FCO involved? How can this take two years?

  11. Anon says:

    So eating some ‘personal items…’ does not count as food? Oh, ok then.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Of course it’s taking long….it’s Cayman!

  13. Anonymous says:

    The population of Cuba is 11.5 million… What if they all decide to come to Cayman and go on a hunger strike?

    Release them to Cuba!

    • Diogenes says:

      Surprised you had enough lubricant for this enormous and ridiculous slippery slope


    • Common sense says:

      They entered the country illegally
      Everyone is satisfied that they are economic migrants.
      They claim to be part of a cuban opposition group… if we release them can you imagine if they continue some political campagne from Cayman….what a disaster that would be. Also we can expect many more cubans arriving claiming the same position. What a disaster that would be.
      I say send them all back ASAP.

      • Anonymous says:

        Maybe their friends and advocates in Florida and Texas will take them in. Yeah, right!

  14. Anonymous says:

    “they have been consuming some personal food items”

    I don’t want to appear pedantic but that’s not really a hunger strike is it? Perhaps the headline should be “Cubans still eating what they feel like”? Although I suppose that doesn’t get as much attention?

    • Anonymous says:

      Obviously they are not committed to the cause. Too lazy to even starve themselves right. Ship their asses back to Cuba our put them in a boat and push them into the tide.

  15. West Bay Premier says:

    Do we see how people sticks together in unity to get things done .

  16. Anonymous says:

    Why don’t we blow the dust off their case file and decide whether to (a) send them back per MOU, or (b) let them continue their voyage in defiance of MOU, or (c) grant them asylum. Are we waiting for new choices? It’s not that hard. Three boxes: tick one and move along. We can’t warehouse people indefinitely and for no reason – false imprisonment is a human rights crime.

    • Anonymous says:

      I absolutely agree, emigrating is not a crime. There are people there for more than 2 years in search of their freedom, that is more than a punishment

    • Anonymous says:

      I saw uphold treaties and send them back to Cuba.

    • Diogenes says:

      You comment isn’t wrong

      You just went wrong in imaigining people in Cayman and the CIG care about the ‘leftist” idea of human rights and respecting all person’s (including non citizens)

      I recently saw an article that reminded me that Anne Frank and her family were denied entry to the US as refugees, food for thought I think


      • Anonymous says:

        There is no fascism, concentration camps or war in Cuba. Comparison to Anne Frank is inappropriate.

        • Diogenes says:

          What comparison?
          At what point did I say Cuba was Germany rounding up persons and throwing them into camps?

          The mention of Anne frank purely illustrates that not all who seek asylum legally and actually deserve it are given the opportunity
          Take a second and separate what you are inferring from what I actually said next time
          The only thing inappropriate is your attempt to create a nonexistent assertion, when the original comment lies mere centimeters above it

          Try again buddy,

  17. Anonymous says:

    Detained for 2 years? Our Government has no heart.

    • Anonymous says:

      No heart? You call having free clothes, food, phones, a place to sleep and medical care is heartless? How many Caymanians are struggling with affording one or all of those and they work 40+ hours a week. I’d say CIG is being generous to a bunch of ungrateful sods.

      • Anonymous says:

        Clearly you have never been to the abysmal IDC facility. It’s a real dump. They are not living in luxury. Their cases should have been determined and they should have been sent back under the MOU already. The punishment doesn’t fit the crime. They are being treated as prisoners when all they did was run away. We have hardened criminals doing far less time only to be released to do it all again. That is illogical.

        • Anonymous says:

          Not saying they are living in luxury, but they should have either shipped out by now either way and not taking up resources.

          • Anonymous says:

            How can they ‘slip out’ when they are being held against their will by the Cayman authorities?

            • Anonymous says:

              Who said anything about “slipping out” I said sHip out.

            • George Towner says:

              These migrants could be criminals, and we dont know! Or, terrorist … Are you suggesting we release them in our society?!

              They are currently detained until we have the green light from Cuba to send them back!

              Dont be foolish!

        • Anonymous says:

          We have more than enough problems here now, and letting them into the public would add more problems to what we already have. Send them packing back to CUBA.

      • Jotnar says:

        And no liberty of course – you forgot that. These people arrived here not with the intention of staying but because their boats couldn’t continue. Then they get locked up for 2 years when CIG could either repair their boats and let them continue or hear their asylum appeal and determine it, but instead takes 2 years with no resolution. You can not compare their being given fee food and accommodation when the government has chosen to deprive them of their liberty with Caymaniabs who would welcome free food and clothes but expect to stay free rather than be imprisoned.

  18. Its sad but what can u do :/ says:

    Hey, I wouldn’t waste anymore time with these Cuban migrants. They are proven to be here for Economic reasons.

    Send them back to Cuba ASAP!

    • X says:

      They should send you too

    • Caymanian says:

      Be careful how you treat them. The tables could turn when Caymanians will need Cuba, and perhaps we may have to be housed there as a transit. Yes we have our economic problems, but always remember two things: karma and the golden rule ✌????

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