U.S. Public Official Detained in Cuba

Friday, October 29, 2010
From WBIR in Knoxville, Tennessee:

The chair of the Knox County Commission is glad to be back on American soil after being detained by Cuban Immigration officials.

The Cuban Government stopped Mike Hammond, along with three others on a [religious] mission trip from leaving the airport or the country. The four Americans declared themselves political prisoners and demanded to speak to the Swiss Embassy.

Hammond believes talking to those Swiss officials got the ball rolling and the group was finally allowed to fly into Mexico before returning to the U.S.

"I understand now what it's like to lose your rights, and to have no rights. when they tell you you can't make a phone call and they've seized your passport. You'll eat when they tell you you can eat and you are confined to an area. That's not a good feeling. I understand now, lack of freedom, and what happens when you don't have freedoms," said Hammond.