Peru's Foreign Minister Arturo Garcia y Garcia said today that Cuba has declared those refugees still in the Peruvian Embassy to be there illegally and has stated that those males over 16 will not be allowed to leave Cuba.
At a press conference, Garcia denounced what he called a new and contradictory change in "the rules of the game" that the Cuban government itself established April 4 when it assured that any Cuban who entered the embassy would be free to leave once Peru arranged for departure.
On April 9, the Cuban government began issuing passports and safe-conduct passes to the refugees, promising them that if they left the over-crowded and unsanitary embassy compound and went to their homes, they would be allowed to leave Cuba as soon as the Peruvians arranged for their departure.
Yesterday, Garcia said, the authorities in Havana charged without warning that those who had not accepted the passports and safe conduct passes were criminals who would be punished in accordance with Cuban law for being inside the Peruvian Embassy illegally.
The Cuban government allegedly said those among them who are male and over 16 would be prosecuted if they tried to leave the embassy for their homes or the airport and that no more safe conduct passes would be issued. There was no confirmation of this order in the press reports from Havana.