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Cuban Radio Anchorman Defects At Summit

December 10, 1994

MIAMI (AP) _ Cuban radio news anchor Carlos Santana Ojeda’s first news item after he arrived here to cover the Western Hemisphere summit was to announce he was defecting.

Ojeda, said Friday that he could no longer tolerate the repression in communist-ruled Cuba and did not want to miss a ″once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get out″ when he landed Thursday night.

Cuban ruler Fidel Castro was the only leader in the Western Hemisphere not invited to the three-day Summit of the Americas. Several Latin leaders have promised to bring up Cuba’s human rights violations and lack of freedom during the summit discussions.

Santana said he was the anchor of an economic news talk show called ″Clearly Speaking″ that airs daily on Radio Rebelde, a government-run station, and the news director of ″Exclusive on Radio Rebelde.″

Santana said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press that he grew tired of giving people the party line, and he characterized news operations in Cuba as propaganda. He said presenting a positive picture of Cuba’s bleak economic situation was difficult.

Santana said he was filling out forms and dealing with officials from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, hoping to be allowed to remain in the United States.

Immigration service spokesman Lamar Wooley said he was not aware of Santana’s defection, and he was unable to answer questions about it.

Although the new Clinton administration policy is to detain all Cuban refugees indefinitely, Santana remained free and said he planned to attend an anti-Castro demonstration today in Miami.

Cuban exile groups said they expected 150,000 to join the protest march in the streets of Little Havana to pressure hemispheric leaders to push their homeland toward democracy.

They planned to unveil a huge quilt bearing the names of more than 10,000 people they claim have been killed for political reasons in Cuba.

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