Tags: US | Cuba | ballet | defect

Eight Dancers Defect from Cuban National Ballet

Tuesday, 10 Jun 2014 11:36 AM

Up to eight members of Cuba's prestigious National Ballet have defected to the United States after performing in Puerto Rico, family and sources said.

"We know there are eight dancers who decided to leave the company and not return to Cuba," Jorge Luis Sanchez, father of one of the performers, told local media in Puerto Rico.

"Of those, some went on to Miami and others are in Puerto Rico, waiting to travel on," said Sanchez.

The exact number of defectors could not be officially confirmed by the State Department in Washington and the U.S. immigration and customs office in San Juan.

A Miami TV station showed footage of three ballet company members at the Miami airport. They identified themselves as Ignacio Galindez, Raysel Cruz and Monica Gomez.

Puerto Rico is a mostly Spanish-speaking U.S. Caribbean commonwealth, meaning people can request U.S. asylum there and can easily travel to Miami or elsewhere in the country.

The Cuban director of the tour, Raul Lopez Badillo, said he did not know if any of the dancers who traveled to Puerto Rico for the performance, most of whom were 25 years of age or younger, had opted to stay in Puerto Rico.

The Cuban delegation that traveled to San Juan included more than 50 people, including the ballet company's famous longtime director Alicia Alonso, 92.

The visually impaired prima ballerina returned to Cuba from New York just after Fidel Castro's 1959 revolution.

The successful company she founded was for decades a centerpiece of the Cold War cultural offerings of the only Communist country in the Americas.

© AFP 2017

 
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Up to eight members of Cuba's prestigious National Ballet have defected to the United States after performing in Puerto Rico, family and sources said.
US, Cuba, ballet, defect
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2014-36-10
Tuesday, 10 Jun 2014 11:36 AM
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