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Seven More Cubans Seek Refuge in Czech Embassy in Havana

July 11, 1990

PRAGUE, Czechoslovakia (AP) _ Seven more Cubans took refuge Wednesday at Prague’s embassy in Havana, the Czechoslovak news agency CTK reported, bringing the number of Cuban asylum- seekers to 14.

Czechoslovakia accused Cuba of failing to keep additional Cubans out, as promised. Cuba assailed the embassy staff and said the refugees must quit the embassy at once.

Five Cuban opposition activists sought refuge in the embassy on Monday, walking through the main door apparently without incident, Czechoslovak officials said earlier in Prague.

On Tuesday, two Cubans scaled the mission’s fence and asked asylum. CTK identified them as Igor Campana and Alejandro R. Lugo. They said they were students.

Cuban police then cordoned off the street leading to the embassy, but the seven new arrivals apparently climbed over the fence during a power outage in the neighborhood during the night, CTK said. It said they forced their way into the embassy building Wednesday morning, damaging the glass doors.

CTK said the seven ″penetrated″ the Czechoslovak mission ″in spite of the fact that Cuban authorities promised maximum help in guarding the building, to avoid further complication of the situation.″

Later, CTK said Cuban police were not at their posts during the blackout.

″The seven Cubans are mostly jobless persons, who were not active in the opposition. This fact gave rise to conjectures that a provocation might be involved,″ CTK said, without elaborating.

Czechoslovakia’s charge d’affaires in Havana, Jan Doemoek, went to the Cuban Foreign Ministry on Wednesday to convey Prague’s ″protest that Cuban authorities did not keep their promise not to allow any other Cubans″ to enter the mission, the state agency said. Doemoek received no explanation, it said.

The news agency said Cuban officials accused the embassy staff of having ″violated ... all valid international regulations and agreements.″

It quoted the Foreign Ministry as saying the Cubans must leave the Czechoslovak Embassy ″immediately, without any preliminary conditions.″

Czechoslovak authorities had said Tuesday they were not considering turning the Cubans over to the authorities.

The two countries were close allies before the democratic revolution in Czechoslovakia last year swept Communists from power.

Update hourly