CUBA: Criminals attempt to hijack fishing boat

July 23, 2003


On July 14, three Cuban adults were killed and a child was hospitalised after being shot in the head when three men lengthy criminal records attempted to hijack a fishing boat in the Cuban port of La Coloma.

The hijackers, armed with a pistol and a 34-centimetre knife, knocked out the dock guard, seizing his hand gun and boarded a fishing vessel that was about to leave the dock.

The hijackers threatened to kill a woman and her two sons, one aged 17 and the other 10, whom they had taken hostage unless they were provided with a pilot to take the fishing boat to the United States.

Within an hour of the hijacking, shots were heard coming from the boat's interior. The teenager fled from the boat carrying his younger brother, followed by their mother.

They were immediately taken by ambulance to the nearest hospital.

After another hour, Cuban police boarded and entered the boat and found the three hijackers lying immobile, two of them dead and the third unconscious from a shot to the head. He was rushed to a hospital, where he subsequently died.

According to a statement issued on July 15 by the Cuban interior ministry, an investigation of the incident has concluded that the first shot was fired by one of the hijackers at the 10-year-old boy. A gun fight broke out among the hijackers.

According to the hospital report, although the child is suffering from facial paralysis, there are hopes that he will survive.

The interior ministry statement noted that this "This repugnant incident is the direct result of the crude and gross [legislative] act that for almost 40 years has granted the exceptional privileges of asylum, residence and immediate employment rights to Cuban individuals of that sort who reach the United States illegally."

From Green Left Weekly, July 23, 2003.
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