A Cuban dissident who came to Miami in 2005, and was blocked when he tried to return to the island legally to resume his activism, apparently drowned during an attempt to sneak back aboard a boat, friends said Tuesday.
Adrián Leiva, about 52, had long demanded the Cuban government allow its people to leave and return as they wished, arguing in a recent videotaped presentation that migration was "a dagger plunged into the heart of the Cuban nation."
He told friends he planned to slip back into Cuba by boat on March 22, and his sister Eva was told by Cuban officials Monday that he had drowned, said Miguel Saludes, a long-time friend. Three other Cubans dropped off by the boat were detained by Cuban border guards.
Cases of Cubans who try to return to the island illegally are believed to be rare, though not unheard of, because the country's security forces are relatively efficient at spotting unauthorized people on the island.
"This is tragic," said Saludes, who described Leiva as a moderate who demanded the release of all political prisoners in Cuba but opposed the U.S. embargo and believed Raúl Castro would carry out economic reforms.
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