Bitter sweet is the feeling Raul Garcia is feeling tonight.
That’s because for the first time since 1986 he is heading home.
This evening Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Barbados reported that the Government of Barbados and the Government of the Republic of Cuba had reached a successful conclusion in the negotiations to have Garcia repatriated to Cuba.
Speaking to Barbados TODAY via telephone he said that on one hand he felt good but on the other he was extremely sad.
”I am feeling good because I am going home but I am going to miss Barbados. I have been here for many years and along the way I have met so many good people and we became close they are like family. I have received tremendous support from the public so it will be sad to leave,” he said.
The NIFCA award winner said he still did not know the exact date of return but he was mostly looking forward to seeing family and just sitting, relaxing and enjoying them on his arrival to Cuba.
In a news release issued through the Government Information Servic, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that the negotiations for Garcia’s repatriation have been ongoing since the Barbados Foreign Ministry wrote to the Cuban Embassy on October 15, last year, requesting assistance with his return to that island. On December 12, the Cuban Foreign Ministry replied that he did not qualify for repatriation to Cuba under its laws. However, on January 14, 2013, a new Immigration regime took effect in Cuba, with significant changes in the categories of people eligible for repatriation.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean, wrote her Cuban counterpart, Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla, on February 12, again requesting that Garcia be accepted, in light of the immigration amendments, the release stated. Regular follow-up discussions between the Foreign Ministry and the Cuban Embassy finally resulted in a bilateral meeting between the two Foreign Ministers on Friday, September 6, in Grenada, in which the matter was resolved and a process outlined for the repatriation of Garcia.
Via the release this evening the Ministry expressed appreciation to the Government of Cuba for the successful resolution.
Garcia was released from prison earlier this year after being incarcerated for more than 20 years on a drug related offence. (KC)