By Michael Norton, Associated Press Writer. Yahoo! June 12,
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti 11 (AP) - Seven Cubans who sought political asylum in
Haiti after their boat sank en route to the United States are now in the
neighboring Dominican Republic and asking for refuge there, officials said
The seven were among a dozen Cubans who were rescued May 31 by a Haitian
freighter and asked for asylum there. Since then, they had been living in a fire
station in the northern town of Cap-Haitien.
Seven of the Cubans on Friday night entered the Dominican Republic, which
adjoins Haiti, according to Danilo Rodriguez, a spokesman for the Dominican
Foreign Ministry. The whereabouts of the five others were unclear.
"Officially we haven't received any applications (for asylum), but
since they arrived, we've started the procedures that these types of cases
merit,'' Rodriguez said.
Some of the seven told television reporters that they are dissidents who
sometimes reported for Radio Marti, the U.S. government's radio station.
"Our greatest fear is that if they deport us, (President) Fidel Castro
(news - web sites)'s government could retaliate against us and our families,''
Felix Santos Espinoza said.
"We're asking for asylum because we're politically persecuted. In Cuba
they constantly harass us,'' Miguel Angel Rodriguez said.
The refugees said that in Cuba they suffer from food rationing, little
privacy and no freedom of speech - limitations common in Cuban society.
In an interview Thursday in Haiti, many of the Cubans said they would like
to go to the United States but preferred to stay in Haiti rather than returning
The Haitian government had told the Cubans to be patient while it considered
their request for asylum. However, by Friday the asylum request had still not
reached the Haitian Foreign Ministry's legal department, said ministry legal
adviser Max Morpeau.
The group of Cubans ranged in age from 27 to 45 and included a physician,
medical technicians, an economist, a factory quality control worker, a farmer