Two Cuban actors who star in an award winning movie, Una Noche, have defected and will be seeking political asylum in the United States. Coincidentally, the movie tells the story of three Cuban teenagers who try to escape Cuba on a raft in order to start a new life in America.
Una Noche was a low budget film directed by Lucy Mulloy, a 32-year-old Brit who shot the movie in Havana. She says that she was inspired by a tale she heard on a trip to the island nation 10 years ago.
The film achieved unexpected success, and the three stars of the movie–all of whom are non-professional actors–traveled to Germany and later to the U.S. for film festivals. In the U.S., the trio was scheduled to attend the Tribeca Film Festival in New York, where Una Noche won multiple awards. However, two of the actors, Analin de la Rua and Javier Nuñez Florian, disappeared after they arrived in the United States and missed the festival (where Mr. Nuñez Florian shared an award for Best Actor in a Narrative Feature Film with the third co-star, Dariel Arrechada).
Ms. de la Rua and Mr. Nuñez Florian played brother and sister in the movie, and (in a Brady Bunch-esque twist) fell in love in real life and decided to defect together. They recently re-appeared in Miami, represented by attorney Wilfredo Allen, who indicated that they would file for political asylum “based on possible persecution if they return to Cuba.”
Although the couple seems not to have had problems in Cuba prior to their trip to the U.S. (and indeed, they returned to Cuba after a trip to Germany), the public nature of their defection possibly puts them in danger if they return and likely qualifies them for asylum. Of course, under the Cuban Adjustment Act, even if they do not receive asylum, they would be eligible to apply for residency after one year of physical presence in the United States. So either way, the couple should be able to remain in the United States. We will be looking for them in Hollywood.
Originally posted on the Asylumist: www.Asylumist.com.
Jason Dzubow's practice focuses on immigration law, asylum, and appellate litigation. Mr. Dzubow is admitted to practice law in the federal and state courts of Washington, DC and Maryland, the United States Courts of Appeals for the Third, Fourth, Eleventh, and DC Circuits, all Immigration Courts in the United States, and the Board of Immigration Appeals. He is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and the Capital Area Immigrant Rights (CAIR) Coalition. In June 2009, CAIR Coalition honored Mr. Dzubow for his Outstanding Commitment to Defending the Rights and Dignity of Detained Immigrants.