Another fatal crash, another visitor detained
Screen capture of Damian Buksa
on YouTube: Long stay in Cuba.
AGAIN CUBA is preventing a Canadian tourist from leaving after a serious car accident. Like Cody LeCompte, Eli Raffoul and others before them, Damian Buksa has been ordered to remain on the Caribbean island until authorities determine whether charges should be laid.Buksa, 34, of Mississauga, has been in Cuba since July, when he arrived for what he thought would be a two-week holiday. His story became public only this week, however, as friends and relatives stepped up calls on the Canadian government to pressure Cuba for Buksa's release.
Cuban investigations are slow, even in cases that might seem straightforward. Here, however, the circumstances are far from clear.
Buksa, visiting the Guardalavaca area, rented a car and engaged a Cuban man to act as his guide. He says he was asleep in the back seat and the guide was driving when the car left the road and rammed into a tree.
The men had been at a bar, drinking with two women. Buksa says he returned to the car with one woman and fell asleep. The guide, accompanied by the second woman, took the keys from his pocket, the Canadian told police.
The Cuban man died on the way to hospital. One woman was seriously injured.
Unusually for Cuba, video exists from the crash scene. It was taken by Buksa himself, probably with a phone camera, and posted, somehow, to YouTube.
Buksa's behaviour is odd, even for someone who has been in an accident – he turns the camera on himself to show cuts on his face and leg – and who no doubt still feels the effects of alcohol. He holds the camera for a long moment on the guide, sprawled across the front seat, and then on the woman who lies bleeding on the ground. Online viewers of the video have questioned why he didn't try to help the victims.
In another segment, he films rescue workers cutting open the car to free the guide. "I was in the back," we hear him insisting over and over.
Cuba's police may lack the forensic tools employed by authorities in other countries, but they share the suspicious nature of cops everywhere. In a murky, alcohol-drenched case such as this, they'll take as long as they need to satisfy themselves that all facts are known.
Damian Buksa may be in Cuba for a while yet.
Update: Home in Canada