In a story contrary to initial testimony of the survivors and relatives of the victimsthe Havana regime assured on Tuesday that “there were no invasive or aggressive actions” by the Border Guard Troops against the boat that was transporting Cuban immigrants on October 28, 2022, in a tragic sinking in Bahía Honda, Artemisawhich left seven dead and several injured.
On October 31, Diana Meizoso, one of the survivors and mother of 2-year-old Elizabeth Meizoso, one of the fatal victims of the tragedy, told Radio Martí that the boat was hit by border guards. in a premeditated action.
“We got on the boat and, when we got out, he (boatman) slowed down because it was closed on all sides, because another boat was coming. When we passed them, he (border guard officer) said: “Now I’m going to split them in the middle”, and then it rammed us and split it in the middle,” Meizoso explained to Radio Martí.
The fatal victims of the hundimiento were identified as Elizabeth Meizoso, Aimara Meizoso León, Indira Serrano Cala, Nathali Acosta Lemus, Omar Reyes Valdés, Yerandy García Meizoso and Israel Gómez.
In the version of the authorities, which comes a month after the eventsthe senior Criminal Investigation officer of the Cuban Ministry of the Interior (MININT), Víctor Álvarez Valle, said that the 26 people boarded the boat, originally designed to transport six passengers, after 8 pm on the 28th.
“About 150 meters from the coast of Bahía Honda, on a dark night with a new moon and with swells of 0.5 to 1.5 meters in height, the border guards meet the boat. The boatman, seeing them, starts the engines and violently turns in front of the boat (…) The boatman yells at everyone on board: ‘The boat is coming. Griffin’, it makes a sharp turn to avoid the border guard and there is a blow that the witnesses refer to as an engine knock. After this, the border guards are placed on the left line of navigation as established. Later it would be known that this impact had been against the seabed,” he said. Alvarez Valle.
According to his interpretation of the events, some 1.8 miles from the coast, the boat with immigrants “made a sharp turn to the left towards the direction where the border guards were coming (…) The turn, together with the weight of the people , the fuel tanks and the counterweight movement cause the boat to list to the left”.
However, the mother’s account offered to Radio Martí said that the border guards’ launch rammed them with all purpose: “Straight for us. Right. At full speed. She (the MININT launch) turned, and when she went, it went straight. She hit us on the left side… She left, if I saw the pieces of the boat, and I lost consciousness from the blow that hit me on the head, and that’s when I lost my girl in my arms, and the wave threw me over a piece of the boat. And that’s when I reacted and started yelling at my brother, that my girl where she was, ”said the young woman.
In Tuesday’s program, Juan Manuel Jiménez Hernández, head of the Navigation Safety Department of the Cuban Maritime Administration, assured that “The moment the collision occurs is because the offending boat establishes a cutting course, of intersection with the patrol boat” and added that the commander of the border guard vessel It slowed down to practically zero.
The sister of Yerandy Meizoso, another of those who died in the sinking, denounced to Radio Martí that she was threatened by the Cuban authorities after publishing videos in which the survivors recounted what happened.
Dianelis Portales Meizoso said that State Security officials made her relatives change, under pressure, their initial statements about what happened, and they will single her out for filming and broadcasting the audiovisuals.
One of those who changed his testimony was Héctor Eduardo Meizoso Chiong, who assured before the cameras of his interrogators: “I said things that were not true, we were not clear about what had happened, we said that it was a murder and it was not like that.”
The International Commission for Justice Cuba, created in order to bring to international justice those responsible for human rights violations in Cuba, echoed the complaints of survivors and relatives of the deceased and suggested that it could be a “crime against humanity”.
The Cuban Border Guard Troops have been pointed out as the cause of similar tragedies such as the sinking of the Tugboat March 13, occurred on July 13, 1994, when four boats equipped with hoses rammed the ship that was fleeing the island with 72 people on board and the massacre of Río Canímar, on July 6, 1980, which left 56 fatalities.