Thursday, July 29, 2010

Harper Government Frees Teen Stuck in Cuba

Cody LeCompte, a teen who has been stuck in Communist Cuba since April will soon be coming home possibly next Tuesday.  He had gotten into an accident while driving a rental car and was never charged with anything and could face up to three years in jail but had to stay there.  Jailed in Cuba, how awful!

Thank God the Harper government has finally intervened and has an agreement with Cuban authority. Cody can come home providing he return for a possible trial (let's hope and pray that doesn't happen so he doesn't have to go back) and he pay for the repair of the other vehicle that was damaged.
In an exclusive interview with the Toronto Sun moments after a tentative deal was worked out with Cuban authorites, Cody was also emotional as he thought about the prospect of finally going home.“I am very surprised,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting this.”
The relieved teen thanked the Canadian government for getting involved in the case.
And Cody also expressed his gratitude to the thousands of Canadians across the country who have been “so supportive.”
“It’s nice to know that people care,” he said.
After 13-weeks of being trapped at a Cuban resort as police investigated a car crash, the teen’s family posted bail of $2,000 Cuban pesos (about $2,200) Wednesday that should allow him leave.
“In exchange for promising to appear at a future trial date if need be, they agreed release Cody,” his elated uncle, Gary Parmenter, said. “It’s obvious that some pressure was put on the Cuban and Canadian governments as a result of the articles the Sun ran.”
Parmenter said after weeks of nothing happening, things suddenly started to move Wednesday on the heels of the Canadian government issuing a news release indicating holding Cody any longer could affect tourism.
The deal to pay the bail was worked out in the town of Minas, about 30 minutes from the Gran Club resort in Santa Lucia, where Cody has been stranded.
“It’s a win-win for both governments.” said Parmenter “They both get to save face.”
The meeting came after comments made in Ottawa by Peter Kent, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas), who hinted holding a Canadian for this long could have repercussions on Canadians deciding on Cuba as a vacation destination.
Parmenter said Cuban officials have indicated they will now work with the family to get Cody on the plane Tuesday.
There is, however, one more hurdle to clear — the cost of repairing the damage to the truck that allegedly broadsided the Hyundai Accent Cody was driving.
Cuban officials want to check with the driver to see if he expects the family to cover the estimated $500 in repairs.
No problem, says the family: “It would cost us a lot more than that to keep Cody here so I don’t foresee it as an issue” said Parmenter.
Danette said although she wishes the federal government had stepped in sooner, she’s happy they finally “came through.”
 She’s not ready just yet to think about the possibility of Cody having to return to the communist country for a potential trial or about the $30,000 of debt she’s accumulated during this ordeal.
“I’m just focused on getting my son back on Canadian soil,” she said. “Nothing else matters right now.”
This is wonderful news.  Cody will soon be back home.  I say thank you too to Minister Peter Kent and PM Harper for finally coming to bat for this innocent young man who did nothing wrong.  This maybe is a lesson  for anyone else who travels to Cuba, don't drive in that country, you could end up in the same boat.
I wish Cody and his mom all the best.  I hope they can get their lives back in order soon!