All 12 of the Cuban refugees sheltering in the Czchoslovak Embassy in Havana since last week left the embassy voluntarily Monday night and gave themselves up to the authorities, the Foreign Ministry said. The surrender of the 12 followed a day of drama at the embassy in which one group of refugees fought with another and also seized five Czechoslovak diplomats held hostage for a five hours to demand a plane to fly to the United States. The diplomats were later freed.
Czechoslovakia had originally granted them protection as political refugees and called on Cuba to let them leave the country. The dispute over the refugees had badly strained relations between Cuba and its former communist ally Czechoslovakia, whose new leaders have openly criticized the human rights situation on the Caribbean island.