Seven members of the Ballet Nacional de Cuba (BNC) defected during a recent tour of Mexican cities and sought asylum in the United States, a Miami news site reported.
Six of the defectors crossed the Mexican border into Texas and have been in Miami since last Friday after seeking asylum with US authorities, according to the Café Fuerte website.
“This is the toughest decision I have made in my entire life, but we are not thinking about the past, we are thinking about the future,” said Annie Ruiz Díaz, a 24-year dancer quoted by the site. “We decided to seek a better artistic life and economic welfare for our families.”
Joining Ruiz were Ariadnni Martín, 20; Randy Crespo, 22; Luis Víctor Santana, 23; Edward González, 23; and José Justiz, 20. A seventh dancer, Alejandro Méndez, 20, remains on Mexican territory, according to the same source.
Café Fuerte, which touts itself as a news and information site covering Cuba and Miami, said that none of the dancers have relatives in the US.
The national Cuban ballet travelled to Mexico on March 17 as part of the prestigious company’s 2013 international touring, which includes stops later this year in Guatemala, Nicaragua and Spain between September and November.