|05SANTODOMINGO2005||2005-04-12 11:07:00||UNCLASSIFIED||Embassy Santo Domingo|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SANTO DOMINGO 002005
1. With the help of the International Organization for
Migration (IOM), Embassy Santo Domingo facilitated the travel
of Cuban dissident Mario Clavero through the Dominican
Republic April 5-6 to Spain, which had agreed to grant him
2. Clavero, a human rights advocate in Cuba, attempted to
travel illegally to the United States nearly two years ago.
He was picked up by the U.S. Coast Guard just 10 miles from
the United States coastline. On his way to be repatriated,
Clavero was able to demonstrate to a DHS official that he had
a credible fear of persecution if he returned to Cuba. His
seven fellow travelers (acquaintances, but not close friends)
were taken back to Cuba, while Clavero was taken to
Guantanamo Bay Naval Base for further processing.
3. Separated from his wife and children, who were able to
leave Cuba or were already living abroad, Clavero had to wait
in Guantanamo Bay for the process to sort itself out.
According to an Internet source, at one point he participated
in a hunger strike because of the delay in processing asylum
claims. According to Clavero, he ended up waiting in
Guantanamo Bay for "20 months and five days" while U.S.
officials worked with the IOM to find a third country that
would accept him. Clavero described conditions in Guantanamo
as basic, saying that for some time he had to share a small
room with two other asylum seekers. Although he was treated
well and was able to move around much of the base, he felt
overwhelmed by the monotony of life, an opinion shared by an
IOM representative posted to Guantanamo Bay for a year-long
4. At last Clavero received word that Spain would accept
him, and the Department and IOM officials began the process
of getting him there. Spain wanted Clavero to arrive with a
travel document and visa. Since he had no passport, the
decision was made to send Clavero to the nearest Spanish
Consular Section (in Santo Domingo) with an IOM-provided
travel document in order to solicit a Spanish visa.
Officials in Madrid were advised of the plan, and they in
turn notified the Spanish Embassy to prepare to issue Clavero
5. A key step was to obtain permission from the Dominican
authorities for Clavero to enter and depart the Dominican
Republic without a passport. IOM official in Santo Domingo
Fanny Polania appealed directly to Migration Director Carlos
Amarante Baret, who signed a letter granting Clavero
permission to enter the Dominican Republic to solicit a
Spanish visa. With the documents in order, arrangements were
made to fly Clavero to Santo Domingo on military air and then
proceed to Spain on a non-stop flight, where he would
officially apply for political asylum.
6. Clavero arrived in the Dominican Republic on April 5 on a
U.S. Navy aircraft. This was Clavero,s first flight and,
except for the failed attempt to enter the United States, the
first time that he had been outside of Cuba. Although there
was some difficulty with migration officials, a call to the
Deputy Migration Director cleared things up, and Clavero's
entry was approved. After a an overnight stay in a hotel,
Clavero proceeded to the Spanish consular section for an
appointment with the Consul General. The Spanish officials
were well prepared for the appointment. After reviewing the
documents and filling out a few forms, they issued the visa
on a blank sheet of paper.
7. With visa and travel document in hand, Clavero was
escorted by IOM to the Santo Domingo airport to fly to Madrid
and on to Alicante, where he was at last reunited with his
wife and daughter.