ST. MARTINVILLE, La. — The Cuban inmates who took a jail warden and six others hostage to demand release ended their six-day standoff Saturday night with an apparent agreement to be sent back to Cuba.
"They surrendered because they are going to Cuba," said Mercedes Villar, mother of one of the hostage-takers who was outside the prison as people, including the warden, were being brought out on stretchers.
Villar said she had read the agreement and said Fidel Castro had agreed to take the five Cubans and one from the Bahamas, even though Cuba has no agreement with the United States for such a transfer.
The six inmates have been holding Warden Todd Louvierre, female guard Jolie Sonnier and five female prisoners at knifepoint.
The uprising began Monday when inmates being held for deportation by the Immigration and Naturalization Service armed themselves with homemade knives and took the warden and three guards hostage while being escorted to an exercise area.
The inmates holding the hostages were demanding to be released and sent to another country.
Although they have completed their U.S. sentences, the Cubans were being held indefinitely. The U.S. government wouldn't release them because it considers them subject to deportation. But there is no agreement between the United States and Cuba to have them sent back.
The hostages were released about four hours after all 54 remaining prisoners who refused to participate in the standoff were removed from the jail. Authorities cut a hole through an interior wall so the men could leave without passing the warden's office where the hostage-takers would have seen them.