From 1977 Switzerland’s mandate as a protecting power for the United States was mainly formal. In May 1980 another incident took place that called for Switzerland’s services as a protecting power. Some 800 former political prisoners gathered in front of the US interests section in Havana demanding to be allowed to emigrate to the United States. They clashed with supporters of the Cuban government, and over 300 men, women and children who had been standing in line for a visa pressed their way into the embassy compound. Some would spend over five months in the embassy.
The Swiss ambassador in Havana reminded the Cuban foreign ministry at the time that the interests section enjoyed diplomatic immunity. He also organised the delivery of food and medicines to the people in the embassy.
Diplomatic Documents of Switzerland: