Cubans defect in Toronto.
By Tom Godfrey
Toronto Sun, Canada
Leave patriotic choir on tour.
More than 20 members of Cuba's world-famous national chorus are singing
songs of freedom today after defecting in Toronto.
Members of the National Chorus of Cuba dodged security officers and
jumped into waiting cars, some on Sunday and others yesterday, said
Cuban exiles who planned the defections.
"These people are scared for their lives," said Ismail Sambra, president
of the Cuban Canadian Foundation. "They are worried about their families
"It took a lot of planning to get this far."
The highly acclaimed 40-member group, which travels the world promoting
the Communist regime, arrived in Canada last week and performed in the
Toronto and Port Hope areas.
The singers appeared at a downtown church last Sunday, were to perform
this Saturday in B.C. with the Vancouver Chamber Choir and were
scheduled to leave Canada next week.
The booking agent in Canada for the group, Robert Missen, said he was
only aware of 11 defectors and that the rest of the group would perform
The singers, who are hiding out at the homes of Cuban exiles in the
city, are expected to apply for refugee status today in Toronto.
Gaining their freedom is worth any danger they may face, the singers
Ernesto Cendoya-Sotomayor, 27, a baritone, said he left his wife and
young daughter behind.
"Cuban police will probably tell my family I am a traitor to the
revolution," he said. "They will put pressure on my family."
Source: La Nueva
October 25, 2005