Some 350 Cuban athletes competing in the Caribbean Games in San Juan, Puerto Rico, are ferried daily back and forth to their living quarters aboard a Cuban freighter outside the three-mile limit.
Some 350 Cuban athletes competing in the Caribbean Games in San Juan, Puerto Rico, are ferried daily back and forth to their living quarters aboard a Cuban freighter outside the three-mile limit. After a report on June 22 that a group of Cuban women athletes had defected, a group of Cubans living in Puerto Rico gathered to greet them.
On June 22, the Cuban government moved its athletic delegation from a heavily guarded camp on shore to the Spanish freighter, Cerro Pelado, lying eight miles off shore. A group of 129 athletes was in the first group transferred from Olympic Village in San Juan's suburbs to the steamer which brought them from Havana. The freighter has been barred from entering Puerto Rican waters by the United States government.
Two Cuban athletes asked for and were granted political asylum in the U.S. on June 22. They were Hector Rodriguez, 22, a track man; and Francisco Marti Gonzales, 20, a swimmer. Rodriguez said, "You sacrifice yourself and work, and receive no fruit from your labours under the present regime in Cuba." A wrestler from the Cuban delegation had sought asylum on June 13.
On June 22 a bus driver who had been transporting the Cuban athletes said a group of 12 to 17 Cuban women athletes were planning to defect. Cubans living in San Juan heard the story and gathered to welcome the girls. They waited seven hours. Finally, the United States Department of Immigration announced there was nothing to the story. The crowd then dispersed.
The games end on Saturday, June 25 after two weeks of competition. Cuba is third in the overall standings behind Puerto Rico and Mexico.