Former Colombian president Andres Pastrana and ex-Bolivian president Jorge Quiroga say they were denied entry to Cuba this week, after traveling there to receive an award from a local dissident group.
The conservative former leaders say on Wednesday they were detained at the airport in Havana.
The two were to receive the award on behalf of the democratic initiative of Spain and the Americas, a forum of 37 former presidents and heads of state.
Mr. Pastrana wrote on twitter the Cuban dictatorship deported them for defending the democratic principles of the region.
The Cuban Foreign Ministry declined to comment on the incident.
But the communist party newspaper Granma accused Idea of seeking to sabotage progressive projects across Latin America.
The Colombian Foreign Ministry says it had contacted the Cuban government about the incident and was told by the Cuban Embassy in Colombia that Mr. Pastrana had been informed Tuesday he would not be admitted to the island because of his planned attendance at Idea.
In an editorial on Wednesday headlined “Prizes, Provocations and Failed Ideas,” the paper said as in 2017, the delivery of the prize is accompanied by a plan to stage a provocation in the Cuban capital this week, create instability and damage the country’s international image.