Canadian free to leave Cuba to attend son's funeral
Published Thursday, February 6, 2014 12:42PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, February 6, 2014 3:53PM EST
A Toronto woman who feared she’d miss the funeral for her three-year-old son has been told she will be allowed to leave Cuba and return home.
Justine Davis’s son, Cameron, was killed six weeks ago while he and his mother were visiting Cayo Largo, off the main Cuban island. The pair was travelling on a scooter when it collided with a truck. Davis was injured in the crash; Cameron was killed.
Cuban law enforcement officials told Davis she wouldn’t be allowed to leave the country while they investigated the accident. With Cameron’s funeral scheduled for Saturday, the Toronto mother feared she wouldn’t be able to return home to attend.
But on Thursday, Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Consular, tweeted that Cuban officials had decided to allow Davis to leave the country.
“I personally appealed to #Cuba to request help on Ms. Davis’s case on compassionate grounds,” Yelich tweeted. “Pleased to relay that Ms. Davis is free to leave #Cuba. We appreciate Cuba’s efforts to resolve this situation.”
In a statement later emailed to CTV News, Yelich’s spokesperson said that Canadian consular officials will continue to help Davis “to facilitate her return home to her loved ones in Canada.”
Davis’s friend Amber Hussey also sent an email to CTV News and other news outlets confirming the news and adding that it’s unclear when Davis will be returning. But she said the hope is that Davis will be back by Saturday.
“We are absolutely overjoyed by her pending return, but it is coupled with the deep sadness and grief that Cameron will not be hand-in-hand with her as well. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts,” Hussey wrote.
Hussey then asks that Davis be given time to adjust upon her return “and continue her healing.”
The federal government’s travel website says that traffic accidents in Cuba are a frequent cause of arrest and detention of Canadians. It says road accidents resulting in death or injury are treated as crimes, with the onus on the driver to prove innocence.
According to the website, it can take five months to a year for a case to go to trial, and in most cases, the driver is not allowed to leave the country until a trial has taken place.