Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Cuban embassy official in Mexico defected

Posted on Tuesday, 03.23.10
Report: Cuban embassy official in Mexico defected

A Cuban diplomat based in Mexico and her husband defected last week, but
their whereabouts remain unknown, worried relatives said Tuesday.

Yusimil Casañas, 25, head of the passport section of the Cuban embassy
in Mexico City, and her husband, Michel Rojas, 32, disappeared March 17,
said her uncle, Esteban Casañas Lostal, who lives in Canada.

Yusimil's mother contacted him to report the defections and ask for his
help in case they were detained by Mexican authorities, who may refuse
them asylum and force them back to Cuba, Casañas Lostal said.

The mother reported that she had asked Cuba's Foreign Ministry about the
couple's whereabouts and was told only that they ``had defected,''
Casañas Lostal told El Nuevo Herald by telephone from Canada.

Casañas and Rojas returned to Mexico City March 17 after a vacation in
Cuba, left their belongings at the embassy, took the embassy vehicle
assigned to them and have not been heard from since, the uncle added.

They are likely planning to cross the border into the United States and
ask for asylum, but Cuban authorities may have asked Mexican officials
to be on the lookout for the couple and the car, he added.

Casañas previously served in the Cuban diplomatic mission at the United
Nations in New York, her uncle said. He had no further information on
Rojas, though spouses of Cuban diplomats abroad generally also work in
the embassies.

The Cuban embassy in Mexico is one of the largest the island maintains
around the world, in part because it's also a base for intelligence,
political and propaganda operations against the United States, according
to U.S. intelligence experts.


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