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Ex-Cuban prisons official accused of abuse flees U.S. — again

Posted on Sunday, 08.11.13

Ex-Cuban prisons official accused of abuse flees U.S. — again
BY JUAN O. TAMAYO
JTAMAYO@ELNUEVOHERALD.COM

A former Cuban prisons official, who fled Miami after he was accused of
abusing inmates and lying on his U.S. visa and residency documents, has
apparently again left his latest U.S. home in a hurry, amid fresh news
reports on his case.

Crescencio Marino Rivero, 71, and his wife, Juana Ferrer, lived in quiet
retirement in Miami until October, when several dissidents accused him
of abuses when he was a top prisons official in Villa Clara province. He
rushed back to Cuba soon afterward.

Rivero quietly returned in late 2012 or early this year and was living
with relatives in a three-story building in the New Jersey town of
Kearny, next to Newark, according to knowledgeable persons in Miami and
New Jersey.

But he rushed to the Newark airport last month, and apparently took a
flight to Canada and went on to Cuba, just days after El Nuevo Herald
and Miami’s Spanish-language TV stations reported that Rivero had
returned from Cuba, the sources said.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has been investigating Rivero
and Ferrer, partly for the human rights complaints — which Rivero flatly
denies — but mostly because the couple allegedly lied on their U.S. visa
and residency applications.

The couple, both former Ministry of Interior officers in Villa Clara,
have said they retired from the ministry years ago and moved to Miami in
2010 to live with a daughter who has a young child.

Ferrer told El Nuevo Herald on July 10 that her husband was living in
Cuba and accused the media of harassing her and her family and forcing
the couple to live apart.

But people who know the family in Miami and New Jersey said he returned
to the United States late last year or early this year and settled in
with a relative in Kearny, believed to be a sister, in hopes of avoiding
the glare of publicity in Miami.

Rivero applied for subsidized housing in New Jersey, added the sources,
who requested anonymity. U.S. government officials in Miami halted their
refugee assistance to Rivero and Ferrer in December, according to other
sources.

But he grew nervous after the media picked up his trail again last
month, said one of the sources. Four or five days after El Nuevo Herald
published a story about him on July 11, he told relatives he was taking
a flight to Canadaand left for the airport.

Rivero flew on to Cuba, but his current whereabouts are unknown. Calls
to the Kearny home went unanswered.

His daughter, Anabel Rivero, said her father does not face any U.S.
immigration charges and that as a legal U.S. resident can “enter and
leave this country whenever he feels like it.” She declined to comment
further.

ICE has declined to confirm or deny that it is investigating Rivero and
Ferrer, and a spokesman said Friday that it could not comment on the
reports of Rivero’s departures and returns because of privacy regulations.

A half-dozen former political prisoners have accused Rivero of abusing
them or ordering guards to abuse them when he served as a senior
official in juvenile detention centers and later adult prisons in Villa
Clara in the 1980s and 1990s.

One of the dissidents, Rafael Perez, said that he was more concerned
about the former Cuban government official’s apparent ease in obtaining
U.S. visas and entering, leaving and then returning to the United States
despite the ICE inquiry.

“I don’t understand it,” he said from his home in Houston. “Shouldn’t
this be a matter of national security for this country?”

Source: “Ex-Cuban prisons official accused of abuse flees U.S. — again –
Cuba – MiamiHerald.com” –
http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/08/11/3556914/ex-cuban-prisons-official-accused.html

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