The mother of an Ontario teen stranded in Cuba for months after he was involved in a traffic accident says the family has struck a deal with Cuban authorities for his safe return.
Cody LeCompte, 19, of Norfolk, Ont., was in a car accident in Santa Lucia in April that sent him, his mother and other family members to hospital.
He has been forced to remain in the country since that time because, under Cuban law, foreigners involved in car accidents must remain in the country until the matter is dealt with in court.
Cody LeCompte is not the first Canadian to be detained in Cuba over a traffic accident. One Ottawa-area woman spent nearly a year on the island after a car she was riding in was involved in a lethal crash.
"The car rolled for 70 metres," said the woman, who asked not to be identified. The vehicle hit a post and two of the four passengers were killed. When police began to question her and a Cuban friend who had been driving, things turned ugly.
"My friend told police I was driving because obviously he knew what was going to happen," she told the CBC. "So the police took my passport."
She was eventually cleared by forensic evidence, but it was another several months before the Cuban bureaucracy authorized her to leave the country.
In a statement, Canada warned Cuba that if things don't change, Canadians may soon start choosing different travel destinations.
His mother, Danette LeCompte, told CBC News on Wednesday they paid his bail on Tuesday — about $100 Cdn — and are now awaiting word on when he can leave the country.
She said the family would likely know by Friday when LeCompte could leave.
The news of the agreement comes after Peter Kent , the federal minister of state for foreign affairs for the Americas, issued a statement pressing Cuban authorities to speed up the LeCompte case.
"While aware that Cuban law allows for a lengthy period of investigation, Canadian officials expressed their concern that the investigation into this matter is taking so long," Kent said in a statement Wednesday.
Kent's office said Canadian Embassy officials were meeting with Cuban authorities on Thursday to confirm that an agreement had been reached.