I did not arrive of my own free will in this magnificent and hospitable country, which I admire and respect and where I have stayed for over four and a half days.

I was at the apartment where I lived in Washington as an official of the Cuban Interests Section in the United States. I had been wrongly accused of doing intelligence work against that country, therefore, I was declared persona non grata and required to leave.

The reason for that absolutely false accusation was a conspiracy concocted in Miami by a terrorist mob of Cuban Americans in an attempt to definitely discredit the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) whose Commissioner, Mrs. Doris Meissner, had acknowledged the right to paternal authority to Juan Miguel Gonzalez Quintana, a Cuban citizen living in our country who is the father of a six-year-old Cuban boy, Elian Gonzalez, already known all over the world whose mother perished during a shipwreck off the United States coasts.

The illegal journey had been organized by the child's stepfather, a violent man with gruesome penal records, who unknown to the father and without his consent took the boy away from his school, his maternal and paternal grandparents, his ambiance and his homeland as well as from the only parent with the full right to paternal authority. The child, who miraculously survived the wreckage, was provisionally placed in the hands of a distant relative living in Miami. This person is an ambitious and alcoholic man who has caused traffic accidents in the United States while driving under the influence of alcohol for which he has been tried and convicted.

As for his background in Cuba, American journalists have unearthed and confirmed unpublished events that took place at the time he was a professor of Physical Education and Sports in a school for children who he sexually molested. Such behavior shows that the man is absolutely unfit to receive the custody of any child in any civilized country of the world.

Following instructions from the Cuban American Foundation, the distant great-uncle has kept the child. The INS had decided that he should be turned over to his father but then a corrupted Miami judge gave the child's custody to the sinister character. The U.S. Attorney General had endorsed and supported the INS through a legal resolution thus overriding the judge's decision. Then, the Foundation mobsters filed an appeal with a Florida Federal Court contesting the Attorney General's resolution.

The hearing on the case was scheduled for February 22, but four days before that decisive step, a senior INS official was publicly charged of espionage activities involving both the former vice consul and myself.

I have felt the unavoidable need to provide the Canadian people with this background information.

In order to prove my innocence and the absolutely false charges brought against the INS official as well as to save that Cuban child who has been kept captive in Miami for over three months in violation of every standard of International Law, the Convention on the Right of the Child and the most basic ethical principles, I decided to resign my position in the Cuban Interests Section in Washington and the diplomatic immunity thereof, to stay in the United States' territory and to declare myself on a hunger strike. This I did at great personal risk and assuming all the consequences therein.

For that reason, at 8:35 p.m. that same day I was arrested and brought to Canada on an American airplane. I had not applied for a visa, nor did I know what would happen with me. I decided to continue with the hunger strike at my country's embassy in Canada. I had not made any pledge to anybody. So, this is the true story behind my presence here. I did not intend to come to Canada, I wanted to remain in the United States facing up to the lies and the slanders and defending the rights of the child whatever the consequences.

I harbor no complains against the Canadian people. I neither want to accuse the authorities of this country who undoubtedly acted in good faith. Perhaps, they were trying to help me when they accepted that I was forcibly brought here.

After a reasonable solution was found with honor and dignity for my homeland and for me, I begged the Cuban ambassador in Canada that as soon as I departed Ottawa for my homeland he delivered this message to the press since out of courtesy and respect for the governmental authorities I had refrained from making any public statement while on this country that on extremely difficult days was friendly towards Cuba, a blockaded nation subjected to a harsh economic warfare. I hope that, whatever the lies and the slanders, the Canadian people will understand what happened and believe in the sincerity of this message.

Jose Imperatori Garcia

9:35 a.m., March 2, 2000