Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 December 2014, 12:47 GMT

Cuba: Information on the treatment of family members of Cubans who defected and did not return from abroad while on government business

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 1 August 1996
Citation / Document Symbol CUB24877.E
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Cuba: Information on the treatment of family members of Cubans who defected and did not return from abroad while on government business, 1 August 1996, CUB24877.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6ad2c30.html [accessed 25 December 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

 

In a 27 August 1996 telephone interview, a researcher from Radio Martí noted that this type of government response to defections has occurred in the past and cited the example of the high profile defection of MIG fighter pilot Orestes Lorenzo; his family members were repeatedly refused permission to leave Cuba to join him.

 The source stated that she has heard reports of direct and indirect repercussions for family members of individuals who have left Cuba illegally. Although the source is aware of anecdotal evidence of family members of defectors having difficulty in their jobs and being subject to wiretapping, she was of the opinion that the reaction of the Cuban government would be on a case by case basis and difficult to ascertain. The source felt that the higher the visibility of the defector, the greater potential for negative publicity towards the Cuban government and possible repercussions to family members.

In a 27 August 1996 telephone interview, a representative of the Cuban Committee for Human Rights (CCPDH) stated that there is evidence that family members of individuals who leave illegally are at risk of mistreatment. Family members of balseros (rafters) have been subject to verbal attacks, police harassment and actions by neigbourhood defense committees. In comparison to balseros, the source noted that usually there are stronger repercussions for family members of individuals who defected while representing official government interests; there are cases of spouses being demoted, losing their jobs or being stripped of their professional qualifications, and children being denounced at school by classmates belonging to state youth groups or being prevented from registering for high school or university. The source noted that the government also can prevent or delay reunification of the family by not permitting the family members in Cuba to travel outside the country.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the DIRB within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.

References

Cuban Committee for Human Rights (CCPDH), Miami. 27 August 1996. Telephone interview with representative.

Radio Martí, Washington DC. 27 August 1996. Telephone interview with researcher

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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