An Army assault team stormed the Ecuadoran Embassy yesterday and arrested the Cubans who had seized the building eight days ago seeking political asylum, the Cuban government announced.
There were no serious injuries and no shots fired, according to the government report, but the Spanish news agency EFE quoted witnesses as saying some Cubans who occupied the embassy were taken away in ambulances.
The Cuban Foreign Ministry said Ecuador had authorized the commando action, but Ecuador denied this. Ecuador lodged a formal protest and withdrew its ambassador from Cuba.
The Ecuadoran Embassy in Washington issued a statement saying that President Jaime Roldos had stated that the action had not been authorized and had demanded from Cuba "respect for the lives and freedom of those persons who were inside the embassy."
The statement also said "it was the sole right of Ecuador to determine the situation of those staying within the embassy and to decide the legal process to be followed."
Ecuadoran representatives in Havana had promised Friday to let the dissident Cubans stay in the embassy under Ecuador's "protection and care" after they gave up their weapons and released the ambassador and two other hostages. One hostage had been released earlier.