News and Facts about Cuba

A Ninth Cuban Dancer Defects to the United States

A Ninth Cuban Dancer Defects to the United States / 14ymedio
Posted on June 12, 2014

June 11, 2014 (With information from El Nuevo Herald and EFE) – The
number of dancers from the National Ballet of Cuba who have defected to
the United States has increased to nine. Jaime Reytor joins the eight
members of the company that fled last weekend in Puerto Rico and are
already in Miami. The artists revealed Wednesday that they decided to
defect from the island because “there is no future for young people.”
They will perform next Sunday with the Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami
at a gala dedicated to the Russian ballet.

Eight dancers (Jorge Oscar Sanchez, Raizel Cruz, Carlos Ignacio
Galindez, Ariel Soto, Monica Gomez, Yaima Mendez, Lisette Santander and
Yinet Fernandez) participated in a press conference organized by the
Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami, in which they described their flight
from the City of San Juan in Puerto Rico, where they were to participate
in the show “The Magic of Dance,” where the Cuban director of art
, Alicia Alonso, was to be present.

“This is the country of the future. There are many options for work and
places to choose from. We came here in order to dance and we will
dance,” Jorge Oscar Sanchez, age 23, told EFE. He decided not to return
to Cuba but to stay in the United States “in search of opportunities,”
despite his sadness “at leaving behind family and friends,” because on
the island “there is no future for young people.”

Since 2007, at least 35 dancers have sought asylum in the U.S. and other
countries, according to figures from the Cuban Classical Ballet of
Miami. The artistic director of the company, Pedro Pablo Peña, said the
steady drip of defections shows “the absolute discontent” of artists
with the Cuban regime.

“At first I was a little nervous because it was a very strong impact. It
was leaving your family behind to go and find your profession, to be a
dancer . . . It’s very hard. I keep thinking about my family,” said
Ariel Soto. “They didn’t give us the opportunity of showing us how to
reach our potential. I didn’t want to be frustrated because I have a
life ahead of me. I’m 23 years old and I want to grow and not stagnate,”
he said.

Another dancer, Yaima Mendez admitted that “I’ve been working since I
was a child, and could not see the final result of that sacrifice” and
that “it always hurts. It’s something very tough, very heavy, but I
needed it to fulfill my dreams in a big country.”

According to Raizel Cruz, all dancers in Cuba support the decision of
any artist who defects. “I dance, but I come with the mindset of doing
anything. Whatever it takes,” he said.

According to the América Tevé channel, Cuban tennis players Randy Blanco
(age 21) and Ernesto Alfonso (age 24), who participated in the Davis Cup
elimination rounds, also held in Puerto Rico, fled and arrived yesterday
at Miami International .

Source: A Ninth Cuban Dancer Defects to the United States / 14ymedio |
Translating Cuba –

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