Peru seeks to aid Cubans who are seeking asylum

More than 10,000 Cubans have flooded the Peruvian Embassy in Havana since President Fidel Castro -- in a stunning reversal of past policy -- said he would grant safe passage out of Cuba to any national who could obtain a visa.

Peruvian government and private agencies began efforts Monday to help Cubans camping in the embassy compound. The Red Cross was sending food and recruiting doctors and nurses to attend the mass of would-be Cuban exiles.

Peru's foreign minister, Arturo Garcia y Garcia, said late Sunday that Peru could not offer all the Cuban refugees asylum and was asking Colombia, Venezuela , Ecuador, and Bolivia for aid. He also said Peru would rely on the International Red Cross and the Geneva-based UN Commission for Refugees. A meeting of the five-nation Andean Pact, called by the Peruvian government, is expected to be held in a few days.

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