Havana Cast Granted Asylum

The long wait is over for 49 Cuban performers from the cast of “Havana Night Club,” which plays at Las Vegas’ Stardust Hotel & Casino; U.S. officials approved their request for political asylum July 22nd.

The singers, dancers and musicians from the show, presented by Siegfried & Roy, applied for asylum last November in what was reportedly the largest group of Cubans to defect at one time.

The artists applied for Social Security cards en masse, severing one of their last ties to Fidel Castro’s regime.

“When we got our letters (confirming asylum), we were ecstatic,” show host Jose David Alvarez told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “We were all screaming, hugging each other. There were a lot of tears. This was what we all worked so hard for.

“Through this process, good things and bad things have come to us. We get to remain artists, but we also have missed our families, and hit some bumps living in a new culture with a new language.”

The troupe was reportedly pressured by the Cuban government to not go to the U.S. last summer, and the members’ first visa applications were turned down by U.S. officials. The cast’s visas were later approved with some help from the Cuban American National Foundation and Florida Republican leader Al Cardenas.

However, the entertainers said they were told if they left and then returned home to Cuba, they wouldn’t be allowed to perform again.

Troupe members began entering the U.S. individually and reunited in Las Vegas last August. They’ve been performing there ever since.

Department of Homeland Security spokesman Bill Strassburger told Pollstar the Cuban nationals will be eligible to apply for permanent resident status after one year and for citizenship after five.

“Havana Night Club,” which has since been renamed “Havana Night Show,” is scheduled to run at the Stardust through September 5th.