In the face of a threat by Florida-based Cuban exile groups to mount a tourism boycott, The Bahamas today agreed to review the status of undocumented Cubans.
The Miami Herald today reported that The Bahamas is also considering moving Cubans currently in maximum security into the general population. This the Herald said was according to a letter sent to U.S. Rep. Joe Garcia, D-Miami, from the Bahamas Consulate General office in Miami.
“The implementation of the mutually agreed-upon points in their letter will benefit both countries,” Garcia said. “We pledge to continue to work with the Bahamian government to address unresolved issues”, the Herald quoted him as saying.
Garcia and Bahamas Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe met yesterday to discuss the furore that arose after a video purportedly showed a guard kicking detained migrants in a Bahamas jail surfaced. The Herald said that Bahamian officials say the video is a forgery. Cuban exile groups have called for the boycott, accusing The Bahamas of not respecting human rights.
Nassau’s Prime Minister Perry Christie said in Miami today that the Bahamas is in a very difficult position, geographically and politically.
“The great difficulty for us, whether they are Haitians, whether they are Cubans, they all want to get into the United States,” Christie said. “When America decides they don’t want you in, Cuba decides ‘we don’t want you back.’ Then they are stuck in the Bahamas and they are sometimes unruly”, the Herald reported him as saying.
Meanwhile, Caricom today released a terse statement endorsed by the Fifth Special Meeting of the Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR) condemning the threatened boycott but without elaborating on the matter.
The statement said “The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) deplores the threatened economic boycott of The Bahamas and attacks on Bahamian economic interests in Florida by certain interest groups based in Miami.
“CARICOM supports the legitimate efforts of the Government of The Bahamas, in conformity with international law, to ensure that its borders are not breached by unlawful immigration.”