TWO former presidents were today denied to enter in Cuba , as authorities claimed that their arrival was part of an attempt to damage Havana’s international image and destabilize the government.
Xinhua reported that former Colombian President Andres Pastrana and former Bolivian President Jorge Quiroga, were deported to Bogota ,after Havana authorities rejected them .
The two president visited the island to "stage a serious provocation" by receiving a human rights award from an illegal opposition group.
"The island's authorities complying with and enforcing the nation's laws thwarted this provocation, which sought to destabilize, damage the international image of the country and affect the progress of Cuba's diplomatic relations with other countries in the region," said a report by local news agency Prensa Latina.
Pastrana and Quiroga arrived here from Colombia to attend the "Paya Awards Ceremony" on Thursday. The award is granted by illegal opposition group "Latin American Youth Network for Democracy," founded by Rosa Maria Paya, daughter of Oswaldo Paya, a staunch critic of the Cuban Revolution who died in 2012.
But they were, as they posted on their Twitter accounts, "detained" at Jose Marti International Airport.
An hour later, both published a picture inside a plane on their way back to Bogota after being deported.
This year's award was given to the "Democratic Initiative of Spain and the Americas" (IDEA), a group that includes 37 former presidents from Latin America and Europe.
"It is no coincidence that this group hands out its annual prize to right-wing presidents who have come together to undermine progressive governments in Latin America and the Caribbean," according to Prensa Latina.
Cuban official media rejected the intention of Luis Almagro, secretary general of Organization of America States (OAS) to visit the island for the award ceremony and called his plan a "total show."
"Almagro is not welcome in Cuba," said the state daily Granma, adding that Cubans will make a decision their own future "without external interference."
Havana has accused Paya and her illegal organization of sponsoring the annual event along with other foreign institutions financed by the Washington-based National Endowment for Democracy (NED).
Cuba was dangled from the OAS in 1962 at the height of the Cold War, and has refused to return despite having been readmitted over nine years ago.