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CUBAN ATHLETES DEFECT TO VENEZUELA, GROUP SAYS

At least four Cuban athletes defected to Venezuela where they were competing at a regional event, a Cuban exile group said Sunday.

The defectors, said to include two baseball players, one soccer player and a synchronized swimmer, left the Cuban team taking part in the 18th Central American and Caribbean Games, a two-week event that ended Saturday.

"There are several (defectors), at least four, and one of them is with us," Omar Lopez, a leader of Cuban exile group Democratic Independent Cuba, told Reuters by telephone.

The alleged defector who took refuge with the Cuban exile group in the central state of Carabobo identified himself as Yanko Canizales, a member of the Cuban soccer team.

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