Daughter of Cuba Vice President Defects to US, Report Says

The daughter of Cuban Vice President Marino Murillo has voted with her feet.

Glenda Murillo Diaz, 24, crossed the Mexican border this month into the city of Laredo, Texas, according to The Miami Herald. Murillo Diaz is now living in Tampa and intends to make the United States her home, the paper reports citing unnamed sources.

Murillo Diaz originally traveled to Mexico to attend a psychology conference, according to the Herald. She never received a U.S. visa to visit relatives or study, the report says.

Whether or not she entered with a visa, Murillo Diaz is permitted to stay under the wet-foot, dry-foot policy, which allows Cuban nationals to reside legally in the United States and apply for citizenship if they manage to set foot here.

The defection, if true, would be an embarrassment to the Cuban government. Vice President Marino Murillo Jorge holds the key position of implementing Head of State Raúl Castro’s economic reforms aimed at liberalizing Cuba’s half-century-old Communist economy.

Some observers view Marino Murillo, 51, as a possible successor to Castro, who is 81 years old. Marino Murillo is an economist by training and served in the military.

Thousands of Cubans immigrate through Mexico every year and then turn themselves in to the Border Patrol to take advantage of the wet foot, dry foot policy, according to the Herald. The Cuban government has opposed the policy, saying it encourages illegal immigration.

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