HAVANA, CUBA - Seventy-five U.S. citizens in five overcrowded yachts landed on Cuba's Santa Maria Beach yesterday seeking political asylum. The Americans are asking the Cuban government for sanctuary, claiming they are political refugees escaping the tyranny and oppression of the Bush Administration.
The men, women and children appeared in good physical condition, although a few of the passengers suffered severe sunburns. A Cuban newspaper reporter was on the scene shortly after the Americans landed, and was able to interview one of the refugees.
"We were under electronic surveillance, put on "watch" lists and treated like second-class citizens simply because we're liberals," said Allen Williams, an insurance salesman from Canton, Ohio. "Our elections are rigged. The talk-show hosts call us traitors and America-haters. The news media suppresses our opinions. Our own president calls us defeatists. The climate became too hostile to tolerate."
A woman who refused to be identified said, "My five-year old asks me, 'Mommy, why does the president hate us?' What am I supposed to say?"
The Cuban government has not yet decided the fate of the refugees. The U.S. State Department said that citizens seeking political asylum in other countries could face prosecution on return for "Un-American activities" and "Besmirching the name of their glorious Fatherland."