- The Washington Times - Friday, March 1, 2002

HAVANA Twenty-one Cubans remained holed up in the Mexican Embassy yesterday after plowing through the gates with a stolen bus.
Cuba's government blamed an exile-run U.S. government radio station for repeatedly quoting a Mexican official as saying the embassy's doors "are open."
Mexican Foreign Secretary Jorge Castaneda said his words had been taken out of context by "radicals" in Miami who "no doubt wanted to use, to distort, my declarations."
He said Mexican officials were trying to persuade the Cubans to leave and they had not sought asylum. Mr. Castaneda also indicated it was unlikely they would get Mexican visas.
Mexico has asked Cuba to bring in "a large deployment of public forces" to prevent an event like the one Wednesday night from happening again, Mr. Castaneda told Radio Red in Mexico City. "We will not permit it."
There were 21 Cuban men inside the mission, other Mexican officials said on the condition they not be named. They described the situation inside as "calm" and said the Cubans had received food and medical attention.
In a statement yesterday, Fidel Castro's government called the reports from Radio Marti a "gross provocation" that led listeners to believe that Mexico would grant refuge to any Cuban who showed up. Operated largely by Cuban exiles in Miami, Radio Marti beams anti-Castro news, talk shows and other programs to the island.
"Castro blames us anytime anything happens. He has to blame somebody," said Salvador Lew, director of the Miami-based station. "The Cuban people will go to any place, even a movie, to escape the Cuban system."
During a visit to Miami this week, Mr. Castaneda was quoted by news media there as saying "the doors of the embassy of Mexico on the island are open to all Cuban citizens."
The Cuban government said Radio Marti rebroadcast that statement at least eight times yesterday. It accused the station of provoking the embassy invasion with the repeated broadcasts, which it said were interpreted as "an open invitation to occupy the Mexican Embassy in Cuba."
Mr. Castaneda told Radio Red that reports in Miami had confused two separate statements he made there while opening a Mexican Cultural Center. He said he declared the center's "doors are open to the entire Latino community in Miami," while also saying that Mexico itself was open to Cuban dissidents.

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