Completed 20 year sentence in Barbados prison – held illegally for 2 years since then!
August 19, 2012: Day 186 since Prime Minister Stuart ‘promised’ to transfer Raul Garcia out of a punishment facility. Garcia still illegally imprisoned at Dodds.
Hey… if you can’t rely upon the word of the Prime Minister, who can you trust?
Update: March 9, 2009 – Nation says that Prime Minister Stuart visited Garcia at Dodds Prison last Tuesday and “assured him that Government was working on his case.”
February 25, 2012: Garcia’s lawyer says move delayed by Royal visit.
Cuban Raul Garcia could be out of prison by next week.
Attorney-at-law David Comissiong told the SATURDAY SUN that arrangements for Garcia’s transfer to a non-punitive facility controlled by the Barbados Defence Force (BDF) had been delayed as a result of security preparations for the visit of the Earl and Countess of Wessex.
More in The Nation
February 15, 2012: Day 31 – Newspaper says Raul Garcia ended hunger strike and is eating without being transferred from prison or freed
Raul Garcia ended his strike without achieving his goal to any extent. The Nation indicates “Mr Garcia is eating porridge and is now on a liquid diet,” the source said yesterday. “He has indicated his actions are intended to give Government time to pursue certain options regarding his status.”
Barbados Today has a more complete story, saying: “Prisoner shift – Cuban-American Raul Garcia has ended his hunger strike at Dodds Prison following assurances yesterday that efforts are underway to have him relocated from that location.
Garcia, who has been on hunger strike since mid-January, was alerted yesterday by attorney-at-law David Comissiong that discussions with Prime Minister and Minister of Immigration, Freudel Stuart, had gone well.
In a statement today, Comissiong revealed: “I was able to convey good news to Mr. Garcia. Having had several discussions with Prime Minister Stuart …, I was able to inform Mr. Garcia that concrete steps were underway to have him removed from Dodds Prison, and transferred to a non-punitive facility.
“I explained to Mr Garcia that although he would not be a ‘free man’, he would be relieved of the indignity of still being confined in a prison after having served his time and paid his dues to society. He would also be relieved of a number of restrictions and privations that are an intrinsic part of the Dodds’ prison culture,” said the attorney.
After two years of holding the prisoner illegally and 31 days into Mr. Garcia’s hunger strike why would the government need more time? Mr. Garcia will still be held illegally at whatever new facility he is transferred to, according to the court decision we referenced on February 13th.
February 13, 2012: Day 29 – Barbados court decision indicates Raul Garcia held illegally
February 12, 2012: Day 28 – US Government says Raul Garcia not a citizen
Raul Garcia moved to the USA with his parents when he was 4 years old. Despite living most of his life in the USA (until his arrest in Barbados) he was not a US citizen. Perhaps he couldn’t have gained citizenship if his family were illegals – I don’t know the story.
But that is how he now finds himself without citizenship for any country. Should he be kept in jail until he dies of old age? That is the current policy of your Barbados government.
The Nation: Not in US!
February 10, 2012: Day 26 – Barbados Government sends feelers to Raul Garcia
Word from The Nation newspaper is that attorney-at-law David Comissiong visited Mr. Garcia yesterday, and that if government transfers Raul Garcia to a “non-punitive” facility, he will stop his hunger strike. Remind me: how long did Bobby Sands last?
February 8, 2012: Day 24 of hunger strike
Attorney General challenges David Comissiong: You don’t really care about Raul Garcia
February 7, 2012: Day 23 of hunger strike
The UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has started discussions with a non-governmental organization (NGO) here in Barbados and also plans to engage Government on Garcia’s status as an imprisoned person under duress. (Nation: U.N. on the case)
February 2, 2012: Day 17 of hunger strike
Garcia’s sister tells The Nation that he is prepared to die if not released.
January 31, 2012: Day 15 of hunger strike.
CNN iReport: Raul Garcia placed in solitary confinement as he won’t stop hunger strike
CNN iReport says that Raul Garcia has lost 27 pounds. The CNN post here states he is on day 20 of the hunger strike. A letter from Raul states the 17th was the start day which would make today Day #15 by our count.
Would the family please provide an update even if to say you have no other information.
January 28, 2012: Day 12 of hunger strike.
The Nation finally picks up this story: Jailed Cuban wants out
Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite confirmed he had received correspondence yesterday indicating Garcia had stopped eating. “It’s not a simple case of just deporting him or releasing him,” Brathwaite said.
What is the prisoner’s condition?
Son Frank Garcia reported on January 26th that his father had lost 16 pounds and continues his hunger strike. Raul Garcia is also known to have a heart condition and high blood pressure but has been unable to obtain medical treatment while in prison.
Dear readers of Barbados Free Press
It is with the greatest of respect that I address myself to the entities of the Barbados Government which are currently responsible for my present incarceration at Her Majesty’s Prisons Dodds, St. Philip. The entities are namely:
• The Attorney General’s Office
• The Immigration Department
• The Barbados Prison Service
I would also like to include in this Communique the Government of the Republic of Cuba, or any government, body entity or person that may sympathize, empathize, or in any other way take an interest in bringing this matter to a successful and satisfactory conclusion.
On the 11th. Day of March 2010, I Raúl García of Cuban Nationality completed a twenty (20) year sentence of imprisonment at Her Majesty’s Prisons. Upon my release, I was placed in the custody of the Immigration Department for deportation. However, because of the form of past laws in the Cuban Government, they denied my repatriation, such that, I ended up being held at the Grantley Adams International Airport as a detainee for nine (9) months.
After this prolonged period, I was returned to Her Majesty’s Prisons Dodds, St. Philip without being charged or sentenced, far less, by any order of the Courts of Barbados. To date, I have spent a total of twenty-two (22) months imprisoned after I should have been a free man.
It must be stated that while I was held as a detainee by the Immigration Department (and this is not to be desired), the treatment meted out to me differed vastly from that to which I am now being subjected.
Her Majesty’s Prisons Dodds is a maximum security facility, and as such, there is no differentiation or consideration for persons being kept there. In essence, I am treated the same as any other prisoner who has been sentenced by the Courts of Barbados for an offence, or as prisoners on remand pending court matters.
I wish to further add that my case is not a unique or unprecedented one. They were two instances which closely parallel my situation. These are Sotero vs the Queen and a group of Africans vs the Queen which resulted in these persons being released into the society until their matters could be decided.
It might also be noted that while those persons were unknown quantities, a report has been submitted by Her majesty’s Prisons in respect of me, outlining my conduct while in prison and any rehabilitation programme that I would have attended.
This report has clearly shown that I have never contravened or engaged myself in any conduct contrary to the good governance of Her Majesty’s Prisons, Barbados in the fifteen that I served. Also, through my work programme, I was able to become an artist of note, to the extent that I have won Gold Medals in the Island’s Premier (showcasing of talent) NIFCA (annual) competition.
During this time I was also allowed, due to my classification from Her Majesty’s Prisons, to show, explain and sell art of this event and of any others that would have arisen (Holetown Festival, Barbados Labour Party Annual Conference etc.).
Now, as a result of my being under the total rigors of a maximum security prison with the said consideration and treatments; placed under the same conditions as any other prisoner who has been sentenced to a term of imprisonment including life or Queen’s Pleasure; unrecognized as an Immigration Detainee; unable to even receive proper medical attention for my heart condition; imprisoned indefinitely, which is to be decided by the Government of Barbados and not the Law Courts; and because there is no humane consideration towards reunion with my children, very old parents that have been waiting for seventeen (17) years for my release, and the rest of my family; and because the opportunity for me to be free again and continue my roles as father, son and husband has been denied:
Today the 17th. of January in the year 2012, I Raúl García declare myself in Hunger Strike!
This state of affairs will continue until a solution is found for my plight, or my death occurs… My objective is to gain my freedom, but the discrimination, lack of consideration and indolence that has been demonstrated by the Government in every respect of this matter have carved in my heart an end to my hope, faith and beliefs that this situation is being dealt with genuineness.
I have come to the conclusion that this matter has become a personal vendetta against me for the illegal act that occurred seventeen (17) years ago, which I fully paid for with seventeen (17) years of imprisonment, making it now two (2) years over what the Courts of Barbados had stipulated that I should serve.
At this juncture I would have it noted that under no conditions do I intend to resort to any rebellious behavior with the use of violence or resentment, much less disobedience of any kind to the authorities of Her Majesty’s Prisons Dodds. Also, that I will under no circumstances opt in any way to terminate my life by suicide. My determination in this instance is to stop ingesting anything of food, drink or anything of a nourishing nature until and not before my problem is resolved, or, my death ensues.
If any member of the relevant ministries feels that my death is preferable, then that shall be my fate. It will be the decision of the government to cause my death and not me myself, for at the end and everything is taken into account, I am subjected to conditions that leave me alive but yet dead. However, I appeal to the relevant Ministries and Departments of the Barbados and Cuban Government and any other Government, Body Entity or Person to render me any and all assistance they can, because I have pursued all avenues that were open to me in this final effort to have my plight recognized and resolved.
I thank you in advance for any assistance rendered.
Raul Garcia is a redeemed man! He deserves to be free!
Here is a link to his bio and his artwork as well as his mission statement.