INTRODUCTION: The staff of the Cuban Embassy in Colombia left the country on Thursday (26 March) after being expelled by the government.
GV Cuban Ambassador seated listening to music in airport lounge.
GV PAN Group playing as ambassador listens.
CU Singer speaking in Spanish and applause.
SV Cuban Ambassador speaking
CU Passports of expelled Cubans.
CU PULL BACK Ambassador speaking to newsmen.
GV Embassy staff in lounge.
SVs Ambassador talking to group as music continues. (2 SHOTS)
CU PULLS BACK Mexican Embassy in Bogota with newsmen outside as police van arrives. (3 SHOTS)
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Background: INTRODUCTION: The staff of the Cuban Embassy in Colombia left the country on Thursday (26 March) after being expelled by the government. Colombia broke off diplomatic relations with Cuba last week, alleging that Cuban arms were being supplied to left-wing guerrillas. Their departure coincided with that of Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez, a supporter of the Cuban revolution, who had taken refuge at the Mexican Embassy.
SYNOPSIS: Cuba's Ambassador, Ferdinando Ravelo, waited at Bogota Airport with this staff for their flight back to Havana -- and passed the time by listening to Colombian folk group.
Colombia's decision to break off relations with Cuba followed a clash between government troops and four columns of guerrillas in the southeast of the country two weeks ago. The government said 16 members of the M-19 guerilla movement were killed and 75 captured. It said one of those captured admitted that he had been trained in Cuba. The guerrilla was quoted as saying that he and the others in his group had arrived in Columbia by boat.
The Cubans flatly denied Colombia's allegation, denouncing it as another imperialist move.
Cuba has been accused of aiding revolutionaries in several Latin American countries -- particularly El Salvador, where the United States has reacted by sending in its own military aid. In Colombia, the government says it is winning the fight against the M-19 guerrillas, despite their alleged support from Cuba.
At the airport, the passports of the Cuban Embassy staff were checked before they were allowed to leave.
As evidence of its success against the guerilla movement, Colombia's army command said two top-ranking leaders of M-19 were killed in recent clashes. According to the army, the founder of M-19, Dr. Carlos Toledo Plata, was among those captured. A statement said 'the guerrillas have received a mortal blow.'
As the Cubans were leaving Colombia, novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez was on his way out of the country after seeking refuge at the Mexican Embassy. Colombia's government said Garcia, although a Cuban sympathiser, was not wanted by police.