By Anita Nembhard
Free Lance Reporter
After being shipwrecked, rescued, and brought to shore on Tuesday, the hope for freedom was dashed for five Cubans.
Two fled after reaching the mainland in Belize City. One male managed to escape, while the other was captured, and up to Thursday all four were detained behind bars.
On September 15, 2015, five male Cubans, destined to the United States ended up in Belizean waters after their vessel capsized. Fortunately for the group, they were rescued by a fishing vessel that transported them into Belize City.
Ironically, the men disembarked the vessel in the river behind the Supreme Court building, elated that they had made it to shore. Witnesses say they claimed “freedom, “ in the hope of making a new life in Belize. Their happiness was short lived, however, as they walked into police officers on duty at the court.
When spotted, they were asked for documentation. They could not produce permits and as a result, were taken into custody. While waiting for the arrival of the Immigration Department, two of the Cubans made a dash for freedom.
Shortly after, one of the two men, 45-year-old Pedro Lion, was detained.
After a night in custody, the four remaining Cubans were later identified to be 45 year-old Pedro Ariel Rosales Lion, a mechanic, along with businessman, Alexei Rodriguez Garcia, 35, a security guard, 28-year-old Alexander Alvarez Romero, and 29-year-old agriculture farmer, Luis Miguel Torres.
The group of four were arraigned before Magistrate Deborah Rogers, where they were deemed prohibited immigrants. No charges were imposed, but the Immigration Department made a request for their removal, which the magistrate granted.
The four Cubans remain in custody at the Belize Central Prison until arrangements can be made by the Immigration Department and the Cuban Embassy.
While witnesses say the group consisted of five, interviews with the men claim there were only four of them.
One of the Cubans who escaped remains at large.