Canadian family receives wrong body after father died while vacationing in Cuba

Canadian family receives wrong body after father died while vacationing in Cuba

HAVANA, Apr. 23th.  A Quebec family is looking for answers after discovering that his father’s remains were not sent to Canada from Cuba, where he died while on vacation, and instead received the body of another man.Faraj Allah Jarjour’s funeral was scheduled for Sunday and Monday. In her place, her daughter Miriam Jarjour has been calling and emailing as many officials as she can to locate her father’s body.

“So far we have no answers,” Jarjour said. “Where is my dad?”.

Jarjour said she was swimming with her 68-year-old father at a beach near Varadero, Cuba, on March 22, when the man suffered cardiac arrest and died.

Since there were no medical facilities, his body was covered and he remained in a beach chair under the sun for more than eight hours, until a vehicle arrived to take him to Havana, Jarjour said.

After that, it is unclear what happened.

Jarjour said he followed instructions given to him by the Canadian consulate and paid 10,000 Canadian dollars ($7,300 US dollars) to have his body sent home.

However, the coffin that arrived last week contained the remains of a Russian man who was at least 20 years younger than Jarjour’s father. Unlike his father, the corpse also had a lot of hair on his head and some tattoos.

Jarjour clarified that the other body has already been sent to her country, but that she and her family still do not know where her father is.

When Jarjour contacted the Canadian consular authorities in Cuba, they blamed what happened on the island company that coordinates the repatriation of the remains. Since then, she claims, she has sent emails to other government officials, including her representative in Parliament, who agreed to contact Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly.

“Honestly, I’m devastated,” she Jarjour said. “So far we don’t have an answer. We continue waiting. “I don’t know what to tell you.”

Jarjour said her father was an active man who did not smoke or drink. The man, born in Syria, “was always smiling,” she added.

The ordeal has taken a huge physical and emotional toll on her mother, Jarjour said. She and her brother have had to deal with their own grief while trying to get answers from the authorities, who seem to distance themselves from any responsibility.

So far, the family has spent C$25,000 (US$18,248), including C$15,000 (US$10,950) for funeral services that have been suspended.

In an email, Canada’s Global Affairs Agency said that consular officials are working closely with Cuban authorities and the family to resolve the matter.

But Jarjour doesn’t feel like she’s getting the answers she needs, and she hopes Joly will personally intervene to put pressure on Cuban authorities.

“I want someone to help me find my father,” she stressed.