The U.S. government has granted political asylum to 49 Cuban dancers, singers and musicians, the cast of the "Havana Night Club," who defected in November while performing at the Stardust Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, according to a representative for the company. The members of the Cuban musical revue had filed individual petitions for asylum in Las Vegas, where they have been performing since August. The defection of the artists was said by observers to be one of the largest of its kind, if not the largest, in U.S. history.
Nicole "ND" Durr, the company's founder, director and producer, said the performers felt they would have faced uncertain artistic careers had they returned home.
"When the Cuban government said there will be no more 'Havana Night Club,' " Durr said Friday, "that's equal to them saying, 'Give up everything you've worked for, everything you've fought for.' That's when we went for political asylum."
Durr spoke by phone from the Las Vegas Social Security office, where the performers were applying en masse for Social Security cards.