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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 June, 2003, 08:22 GMT 09:22 UK
Cuban singer's new life in US
Carlos Manuel with his mother, Martiza Macias
Manuel said he hoped Cubans would understand his decision
A Cuban pop star who has defected to the US said he was " tired of all the hypocrisy" under the government of Fidel Castro.

Carlos Manuel, 30, told a news conference in Miami that he loved his many fans but could not live with the Cuban regime.

Manuel was granted asylum in the US on Tuesday after crossing the Mexican border at Brownsville, Texas, following a show in Mexico City.

Alongside his mother, Martiza Macias, who defected with him, he spoke of his love for his "family" of 11 million left behind.

"The people who stayed behind gave me all I have," he said.

"The people made me a star and I love my people. I would like to send my love to the people of Cuba. I love that island."

Although pop stars tend to live in relative luxury in Cuba, Manuel said he had found the trade-off of personal and artistic restrictions unacceptable.

He hoped a career in the US would expand his possibilities.

"I'm ambitious," he said. "I want to go all the way with my music."

Manuel - full name Carlos Manuel Pruneda - said he said he hoped his fellow Cubans would understand his decision.

"One day, you will realise what the world is really like and you will like me again," he said.

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