Posted on Tuesday, 09.22.09
Cubans tell of capture and torture on journey
A group of undocumented Cubans share a harrowing tale of capture and
torture in Mexico by a band of human smugglers.
BY GERARDO REYES
El Nuevo Herald
MEXICO CITY — Yurizán González thought his ordeal was over after his
kidnappers made a cut on his ear in a room of an old abandoned house in
Cancún, the resort southeast of Mexico where he was held captive.
But the torture session continued, he said, when the captors removed the
cloth plug they had placed in his mouth to mute his screaming and
replaced it with a gun muzzle.
“Right there I thought they were going to kill me,'' González said in
an interview with El Nuevo Herald at Las Agujas Immigration Station
south of this city.
González, 31, is one of several undocumented Cubans who, during the
first two weeks of September, were tortured, beaten and threatened by a
band of human smugglers. Some of his captors were Cubans from Miami and
others were Mexican, according to the victims' descriptions given to El
Nuevo Herald and Mexican officials.
The Cubans said their captors were outraged because they had refused to
pay for the smuggling trip as they promised upon arrival in Mexico. They
were ushered out of Cuba on a fast boat that took them to Mexican
beaches, then beaten and tortured to send a frightening message to their
relatives in the United States and Europe. Some were subjected to
electric shocks, two of them said.
González said that when his face was bloody and he had the gun in his
mouth, one of the captors took a picture of him with his cellphone and
told him the photo would be sent to his relatives in Oregon.
González's relatives in Portland did not get the photo, but they
received a call in which they heard his screaming in the background,
said González's cousin, Yunia Curbelo.
“I overheard the beating, and he was screaming. . . . They called many
times, at every hour, threatening that they were going to send him to me
in pieces, but we didn't have that money,'' Curbelo said.
Minutes after Curbelo heard González screaming, her boyfriend, Carlos
Téllez Nápoles, received a call on his cellphone. “They told me the
money was not necessary anymore,'' Téllez said. “That they had already
The next day, Sept. 12, the kidnappers denied killing him and demanded a
ransom of $5,000. The men demanded that the deposits for the ransom be
made through a bank account in Miami, Téllez said.
In a visitors area at the immigration station, González showed an El
Nuevo Herald reporter the stitches on his left earlobe and still-fresh
bruises from the beating with flat machetes on his back, his legs and
his left shoulder.
According to González, the kidnappers also cut the ears of other three
Cubans, this time with a knife. Another two were given electrical shocks
with a lamp cable.
“They peeled the ends of the cable and applied it to their tongues or
to body parts, leaving them dizzy and almost unconscious,'' he said.
According to testimony by relatives and victims, the people involved in
watching, torturing and calling to demand ransom money, live or have
lived in Miami.
Ditsán Farradaz Ulloa, arrested in Mexico and charged with kidnapping,
appears in Florida's public records with addresses in Kissimmee and
Miami. Several messages at a telephone registered under the Kissimmee
address were not returned.
Farradaz was in charge of the custody of the Cubans at the house in
Cancún, but did not take an active part in the torturing, the victims
said. The people in charge of torturing were two Mexicans and three
Cubans who showed up at the house every afternoon beginning Sept. 9,
apparently drunk or drugged, the victims said.
Then they started calling the relatives to collect the $10,000 fee for
getting the captives out of Cuba. When they learned the relatives
couldn't pay, they began beating the captives with flat machetes and
sticks, according to accounts.
“I had never heard of any situation this serious and savagely violent
against undocumented Cubans,'' said Cuban attorney Eduardo Matías López,
director of the Cuban-American Civic Association.
Threatened that they would be sent to another house where the Mexican
torturers would cut off their fingers with cigar clips and rape them,
the Cubans wrote S.O.S. messages that they threw to the streets and
yards neighboring the house in Cancún.
They were rescued by the Mexican military two weeks after they arrived
Cubans tell of capture and torture on journey – Americas –
MiamiHerald.com (22 September 2009)