14ymedio, Havana, 31 May 2023 — “We have been warned that we cannot return to Cuba,” says Héctor Manuel Meizoso González,the unlce of Elizabeth, the girl who died last October in the sinking of a boat after being hit by a Border Guard boat in Bahía Honda, Artemisa. He managed to leave Cuba with his sister a month ago and relates his fears to this newspaper.
This Wednesday, from the police unit known as the Cuatro Caminos Technician, in Guanajay, the family that remains in Cuba received a phone call making it clear that they should not return to the Island. Meizoso González, 21, fears that the situation for the relatives who were left behind may worsen after his departure.
Little Elizabeth’s grandmother “could not travel,” emphasizes the young man and confirms that the minor’s mother, Diana Meizoso, arrived in Miami a month ago through humanitarian parole, a path established since January of this year to ensure safe migration between Cuba and the United States.
After arriving in Miami, the minor’s uncle again rejected the version of the Ministry of the Interior, which pointed out the Bahia Honda case as “human trafficking.” At the time, an official note assured that “there were no invasive or aggressive actions” and argued that the crash was inevitable because the boat “had stood in the way” of the Border Guards.
In an interview for the Univision network, the migrant denied the official version. “That’s not what happened; they left out some of the video in Cuba.” He reiterated that on October 28, the Cuban Border Guards rammed the boat on which 28 people were trying to leave the Island, including six of their relatives, causing the death of Elizabeth, Yerandy García Meizoso, Aimara Meizoso, Israel Gómez, Indira Serrano Cala, Nathali Acosta Lemus and Omar Reyes Valdés.
The most recent statement by Diana Meizoso’s brother coincides with the one he gave to 14ymedio in November last year: “That was not an accident, that was murder, because it was done on purpose,” he said then. The intention of the Border Guards was to sink the speedboat.
In the interview broadcast this week through social networks, Meizoso González explained that the boat had left the Griffin behind, but when they “stopped they felt that the boat was moving” and that was when the Border Guards’ boat fell on top of them.
The young man, who is still affected by the disaster, also mentioned that when he went to obtain the official document on the cause of death of his niece, he was denied. “A friend who works there told me that she didn’t die from drowning, she died from the blows that were given.”
Diana Meizoso was arrested last November by State Security and taken to headquarters in Villa Marista, Havana, to change her statement. She refused to do it, said Héctor.
The Cuban interviewed by the Univision network said that there was pressure for several of the survivors to change their statements. “My brother (Héctor Eduardo Meizoso Chiong, who was traveling with his wife, sister and a cousin) was beaten; that’s why they put on his coat. In the video disseminated by the Cuban authorities he said “things were not true, we were not clear about what had happened, we said that it was a murder and it wasn’t like that.”
Meanwhile, Luis Manuel Borges Álvarez, the boatman who also survived the sinking of the boat in Bahía Honda, is in prison, awaiting trial. In a statement edited by the authorities like the ones they usually do to discredit dissidents and which was broadcast on official television, he blamed Héctor Meizoso Fabelo, the uncle of the young people, as the main organizer of the attempt to leave the country.
Translated by Regina Anavy
COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORK: The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.