People smugglers caught in the act
Campaign News | Monday, 10 April 2006
One of them says he had to do it to pay off his debts
Havana, Apr 8 (Prensa Latina) Identity has determined criminal records of the three crew members of a speedboat arrested in Cuba Wednesday during a foiled act of illegal immigration.
The operation caused the death of one of the three, whose names were released Saturday by Cuban authorities.
The deceased was named Jeovel Gonzalez Morera, and he had left Cuba illegally less than a month ago in a similar operation, indicated by evidence found aboard the craft.
The other two smugglers, now out of danger thanks to the medical attention they received in a Pinar del Rio hospital in western Cuba where the action took place, are named Rosendo Salgado Castro and Julio Rafael Mesa Farinas.
Mesa Farinas said that to take his wife and son from Cuba, he had to commit himself to doing this kind of activity to settle a debt of more than 20,000 dollars with Mexican traffickers.
According to what reporters said on a Havana news program, survivors were wary of cooperating with Cuban authorities, thinking to do so could jeopardize their family members, some still in possession of their "creditors."
Salgado Castro left Cuba illegally in 1994, but had been legally processed in 1992 for illegal economic activities and embezzlement. After he was arrested, he was submitted to medical tests, and his urine analysis contained traces of marijuana.
Both Mesa Fariñas and Salgado Castro have been processed in Miami, Florida for different crimes, including robbery.
The deceased Gonzalez Morera had been arrested for threatening people and robbery in Cuba. He is also thought to have become involved in people trafficking to settle his debts.
Journalists on the televised news program revealed that the organizer of the doomed operation is Cuban origin Joan Alberto García Núñez, alias El John.
Originally from Cienfuegos, he emigrated to the US in 1988, but later lived in Mexico and from there has directed a network of people trafficking in which participate his wife and brother living in Miami.
Trafficking in persons and death travel on speedboat with US passport
EDITORIAL from Granma Newspaper, 05 April 2006
ANOTHER grave event, as a consequence of the irrational U.S. policy toward Cuba and the implementation of the murderous Cuban Adjustment Act, took place early yesterday morning off the southern coast of Pinar del Río province, when a speedboat with U.S. registration entered our territorial waters to carry out a human contraband operation.
According to information gathered thus far, at 3:45 a.m. on April 5, the crew of a small patrol boat deployed east of the San Felipe cays detected the presence of a speedboat that was traveling in a northeast direction, entering Cuban waters.
One hour later, at about 4:50 a.m., the crew of a fishing boat that was three miles south of Punta Caraguao, a coastal point of the Pinar del Río municipality of Los Palacios, communicated that they had observed a speedboat heading for Bacunagua Cove on the southern coast of that municipality.
With our Border Guard Troops activated, at 5:10 a.m., about two miles south of Bacunagua Cove, surface units detected the approach of a 40-foot speedboat (about 12 meters) with inboard engines, similar to those frequently used in operations for trafficking in persons via this same route south of Pinar del Río.
When the Border Guard units ordered the speedboat’s crew to halt, the traffickers responded with a defiant attitude and aggressive actions, including the violent ramming of the Border Troop crafts, which suffered multiple damage and was in danger of flipping over, thus endangering the lives of its combatants, who were maneuvering in conditions of darkness and poor visibility.
The Operations Chief ordered the crew to fire on the aggressor boat. The latter was immediately brought to a halt and seized. Two of its three crew members were injured, one of them seriously. They were evacuated to the town of San Diego and from there to the Pinar del Río provincial hospital, where, in spite of doctors’ efforts, the most seriously injured person died that afternoon.
Investigations confirm the participation of this speedboat in previous human contraband operations in areas off Pinar del Río’s southern coast. The aggressive conduct of its crew on repeated occasions made the boat recognizable by our units. This past March, during its last registered incursion, this same craft rammed and damaged a Border Guard Troops speedboat during one of the former’s routine operations in trafficking of persons.
Inquiries have made it possible to identify two of the traffickers, both of them Cuban citizens with U.S. passports, named Rafael Mesa Fariñas and Rosendo Salgado Castro. The name of the dead crew member has not been ascertained yet, given that he did not possess any identification documents and his accomplices in that illegal adventure have not cooperated in determining his identity.
Background history indicates that the seized craft, with Florida registration, belongs to a Cuban-born U.S. citizen named John Roberto (who calls himself the "Blue Shark"), associated with the trafficking of Cubans to Mexico via southern Pinar del Río.
The passports confiscated from the traffickers show entry authorization to Quintana Roo, Mexico, on March 13, 2005 (Rosendo Salgado) and March 29, 2006 (Rafael Mesa).
As is known, publications in that Mexican state and our own media have exposed the growing trafficking of Cuban nationals via Cancun, Islas Mujeres and other points of Quintana Roo into the United States, an operation involving Cuban-born speedboat operators, Mexican fishermen, authorities in that state of Mexico, and elements of the anti-Cuban mafia who reside in the area and have connections in Miami.
It is worth recalling that, utilizing this route frequented by those who traffic in persons in recent years, Cuban-born terrorists organized the entry into the United States of the criminal Luis Posada Carriles, who remains in that country under the protection of U.S. authorities.
As a consequence of this human trafficking attempt, 39 people were detained in the coastal area of Bacunagua: 20 men, 12 women and 7 children, some of whom - mainly women and children - have been returned to their homes after statements were taken from them. The rest of the participants in this operation of trafficking in persons remain detained while the events are cleared up and responsibilities are defined.
The events early yesterday morning in the waters off southern Pinar del Río confirm the irresponsible, criminal and aggressive nature of the U.S. government policy toward Cuba, particularly the deliberate use of the migration issue against the Revolution via a cynical regulation like the Cuban Adjustment Act, which not only encourages illegal departures from Cuba - as an immense wall is being built along the U.S. border with Mexico, and there are attempts to criminalize illegal migration from other nations - but also causes the useless and tragic deaths of thousands of Cubans, including many women and children. The world is witness to this conspiracy of hypocrisy and perfidy that turns human beings into victims of the ignoble interests of the empire.