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Friday, February 06, 2004


U.S. government quakes in fear of Cuban musicians and Cuban women

Once again, the mighty U.S. government has denied visas to Cuban musicians who were nominated for Grammy awards, including Ibrahim Ferrer and Barbarito Torres. The letters denying the visas cite a law which says the visit would be "detrimental to the interests of the United States." The State Department says "we issue visas only when applicants qualify under U.S. law," but, curiously, Left I saw Torres perform in San Jose (CA) just a few years ago, when he evidently did qualify.

Cuban musicians are, of course, not the only Cubans who have been denied visas to visit the United States, nor are they the most important. The U.S. government continues to deny visas to the wives of two Cubans imprisoned in the U.S., two of "the Five" who were convicted of "spying" for the "crime" of infiltrating terrorist groups in Miami to try to prevent acts of terrorism against Cuba. In an outrageous violation of human rights, the women have been denied visas under a law which prohibits the entry into the country of "suspected intelligence agents, saboteurs, or individuals who could overthrow the U.S. government by force, violence or other illegal methods." There isn't the slightest evidence that this description applies to these two women, as if they could actually perform any acts of intelligence or sabotage in a visit to the U.S. and to their husbands in prison in which they would undoubtedly be under surveillance for every single second.

For more on the case of the Five, visit the Free the Five website.

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