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“We need help” – Cubans detained at IDC on hunger strike

A group of eight Cuban migrants currently being held at the Immigration Detention Centre on Wednesday (30 January) was pleading for help, as their asylum claim to stay in the Cayman Islands continues to be processed.

The group arrived in September. Four of the detainees are currently on hunger strike.

“We need help. We need help. This protest is because: no lawyer, no answer,” Carelia said, explaining why she was refusing food.

One of her compatriots was in the hospital and the other two who were refusing to eat were behind bars with her at the Detention Centre.

She said her detention felt like “prison.”

Juandre was another one of the group refusing food. He revealed he and Carelia have been held there before.

But he said they were still waiting for answers; he claimed they had received “no help, nothing.”

There are eight Cubans being held at the IDC since they were picked up in September.

They told Cayman 27 their human rights were being violated as they have been prevented from sending letters to the Human Rights Commission.

Carelia sighed that after four months it was “later, later, later. No answer for this problem.”

When Cayman 27 returned to the IDC on a second occasion to speak to the detainees, we were prevented from filming.

The warden said any letters the group wants to send must go through the Department of Immigration.

Carelia confirmed her health was being monitored while she continued her hunger strike, but the strain of the protest – and her detention – has already taken its toll.

She added her blood pressure was low and she felt very tired.

So while the asylum process remains underway, this group feels it has been abandoned.

Carelia wiped away tears as she reiterated “no help, no help.”

Cayman 27 approached the Department of Immigration on Wednesday (30 January) for official permission to speak to the Cubans on camera.

We also asked for answers to the group’s allegations contained in our report. We were told the Department was preparing a response for the following day.

About the author

Caroline James

Caroline James

Caroline joined Cayman 27 in September 2018 after seven years working for Sky News in London, both as a Producer on the World News programme and, latterly, as News Editor on the Foreign Desk, where she led coverage on the ground of stories as diverse as the 2016 US Election, corruption allegations surrounding FIFA and The Oscars. Before this, she worked as a Producer for Associated Press Television News (APTN) for two years, based in their London headquarters. Caroline graduated with a BA Hons degree in Arabic, French and German from Durham University, before gaining an MA in Television Journalism with distinction at City University, London. When not hunting down stories in Cayman, she can be found playing tennis, practicing Bikram yoga or enjoying a beer on Seven Mile Beach. You can reach Caroline at or 326-2243.

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