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CHECKING OUT OF CUBA

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In the topsy-turvy world-after-the-wall, Czechoslovakia symbolizes liberty. The first refugees to leave Stalinist Albania the other day had sought asylum in the Czech Embassy. They were flown to Prague in the official plane of President Vaclav Havel, the playwright and political prisoner turned reluctant statesman.

Now refugees are filtering into another Czech Embassy - in Havana. Five opposition activists requested asylum there on Monday, and two students followed them on Tuesday. Castro's police blocked off the street leading to the embassy - but seven more Cubans made their way in at night, bringing the number of asylum-applicants to 14.Castro demands that the refugees be turned out. The Czechs, who have got the hang of standing up to tyrants, say that option is not being considered. How quickly they have adapted to the role of magnet for freedom-seekers.