3:26 p.m. December 28, 2006
LA PAZ, Bolivia – Havana will not accept a Cuban dissident set to be
deported from Bolivia for criticizing President Evo Morales' close ties
to the island nation, the government said Thursday.
Interior Vice Minister Ruben Gamarra called on the United States to help
find another destination for Amauris Sanmartino because the U.S. helped
settle him in Bolivia.
Sanmartino holds permanent residence status in Bolivia but was arrested
last weekend under a law forbidding immigrants to be involved in
"We've spoken with Cuba and Cuba doesn't want him," Gamarra said.
Sanmartino and 11 fellow dissidents fled Cuba in 2000 on a boat bound
for Florida. Picked up by U.S. immigration authorities, the group was
taken to Guantanamo Bay before U.S. officials helped find them a home in
U.S. officials confirmed that they were discussing Sanmartino's future
with the Bolivian government but declined to comment further.
The Bolivian government has accused Sanmartino of having ties to a
radical separatist movement in the city of Santa Cruz, a center of
conservative opposition to Morales about 340 miles east of La Paz. They
also claim Sanmartino helped organize a Dec. 15 protest.
Sanmartino has denied both accusations.