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Cuban Actors, In Movie About Defecting, Appear To Have Defected

In this undated film image released by Tribeca Film Festival, actors Javier Núñez Florián and Anailín de la Rúa are shown in a scene from, "Una Noche."

As many news outlets have put it, this might be a perfect case of life imitating art: Two Cuban actors, who star in a movie about about teenagers who decide to defect to the United States, have gone missing shortly after arriving in the United States for the Tribeca Film Festival premiere of Una Noche.

Six days later, Javier Núñez Florián and Anailín de la Rúa de la Torre are still missing and assumed to have defected.

The New York Times reports that the actors were supposed to appear alongside the film's director, Lucy Mulloy, at the premiere of their film. But after making a stop in Miami, they went missing. The paper adds:

"If they are indeed seeking asylum in the United States, Mr. Núñez and Ms. de la Rúa, first-time actors whom Ms. Mulloy selected and trained for their roles, would be joining a long list of Cubans who have taken advantage of stopovers in Miami to flee Communist rule. Defections by baseball players, Olympic athletes and dancers have in the past been so common that the Cuban government assigned security agents to keep an eye on such delegations.

"'Though they've made difficult choices about what to do at present, I wish them the very best in all their endeavors and I hope I will get to see them again soon,' said Ms. Mulloy, who studied politics and economics at Oxford and film at New York University. Una Noche is her first feature-length movie. 'I would love to know that they are well.'"

ABC News talked to the State Department who said it was aware of the reports but did not "have any further information."

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) told ABC that they also had no information about the two actors' status but that people with intentions to seek asylum in the United States have one year to apply.

Dariel Arrechada, the one actor who did make it to New York, told the Huffington Post that he did intend to go back to Cuba.

"I have my family there, my friends, my girlfriend," he told the Post. "Here, I don't know anyone. Here, I don't know the way of life. I also don't know English very well."

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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