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American Samoa nightmare: Couple says Miami company stranded them on island

When Alan Lara touched down in American Samoa, he was looking for a fresh start. Bluesky Communications, a subsidiary of Miami-based eLandia, had agreed to pay the Mexican engineer and his fiancée to move to the tiny U.S. territory from their home in Guatemala. But months later Lara was abruptly fired, and he says the company stripped him and his girlfriend of their apartment, car, and cell phones. Suddenly, American Samoa transformed from a tropical paradise into a prison cell.

"We are desperate," Lara says, speaking from Pago Pago, the territory's capital. "We are broke. This is a small island, and they are making it very uncomfortable for us here. We want to leave."

Elandia Group -- an international telecom corporation formerly financed by Ponzi-schemer Allen Stanford's bank -- did not respond to requests for comment. Pulele'iite Tufele, a Bluesky exec named in Lara's suit, says his ex-employee's claims are "totally false." He says Lara was fired for "not performing up to his set responsibilities."



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