Yurizan Gonzalez thought his ordeal was over after his kidnappers made a cut on his ear in a room of an old abandoned house in Cancun, the resort southeast of Mexico where he was held captive.
But the torture session continued, he said, when the captors removed the cloth plug they had placed in his mouth to mute his screaming and replaced it with a gun muzzle.
"Right there I thought they were going to kill me," Gonzalez said in an interview with El Nuevo Herald at Las Agujas Immigration Station south of this city.
Gonzalez, 31, is one of several undocumented Cubans who, during the first two weeks of September, were tortured, beaten and threatened by a band of human smugglers. Some of his captors were Cubans from Miami and others were Mexican, according to the victims' descriptions given to El Nuevo Herald and Mexican officials.
The Cubans said their captors were outraged because they had refused to pay for the smuggling trip as they promised upon arrival in Mexico. They were ushered out of Cuba on a fast boat that took them to Mexican beaches, then beaten and tortured to send a frightening message to their relatives in the United States and Europe. Some were subjected to electric shocks, two of them said.
Gonzalez said that when his face was bloody and he had the gun in his mouth, one of the captors took a picture of him with his cellphone and told him the photo would be sent to his relatives in Oregon.
Gonzalez's relatives in Portland did not get the photo, but they received a call in which they heard his screaming in the background, said Gonzalez's cousin, Yunia Curbelo.
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