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Video: Two Venezuelans beaten at Cuba airport for refusing to leave their luggage behind

Jose Marti Airport in Havana, Cuba.
Jose Marti Airport in Havana, Cuba. AP

Two Venezuelan women were reportedly beaten by Cuban immigration officials at José Martí International Airport in Havana after being told they could not enter the island and had to leave their luggage behind.

A video — posted on Instagram by journalist Elyangélica González— shows several Cuban officials in neon yellow vests trying to take the suitcases away from the woman.

During the altercation, one of the women is pushed into a bus as the other woman attempts to take the bags back. Footage shows airport personnel hitting them. They hit back.

"Passengers of the Conviasa flight arrived in Maiquetía (Caracas International Airport) on Friday, June 8, alarmed by what they had just seen in Cuba: a beating of two Venezuelan women by Cuban immigration officials," said González in her post.

She said that a passenger on the flight sent her the video, explaining that the women weren't being allowed to enter the country because they had "new merchandise" in their luggage.

"The version I'm hearing is that they arrived with suitcases that contained 'new merchandise.' Cuban migration officials told them they could not enter and that they had to leave, but 'without luggage,'" González' post said.

The women did not accept that ultimatum, she added, and "demanded to return with their luggages," which angered the immigration officials.

It is unclear what the suitcases had inside. The women were not identified.

Days before the video was published, the Cuban government threatened to confiscate packages sent from the United States through messengers of shipping agencies who travel to the island to secretly deliver merchandise .

Havana considers the action "illegal." In recent years, the practice has grown rapidly in South Florida after relations with Cuba became more flexible under former President Barack Obama.

Monique O. Madan, 305-376-2108, @MoniqueOMadan