FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

State Department Flip-Flops on Cuban Visas

 

On August 21, 2004, the Havana Night ensemble, comprised of 53 Cuban artists, performed at the Las Vegas, Stardust Hotel. While we welcome these wonderful artists to our country, the manner in which they entered the country is not something to celebrate. Their visa approvals are the result of shameful hypocrisy and political manipulation of the Karl Rove-International Republican Institute-Bush administration strategy to “hasten a transition to democracy.” In the past year, no other Cuban artists have been issued visas since the Bush administration returned to the Reagan Proclamation for its policy, asserting that all Cuban artists are “employees or agents of the government and therefore inadmissible as against our national interest. This rejection of the Clinton administration’s “people-to-people” policies has caused arts presenters to suffer enormous losses throughout the country because of visa delays or denials for their Cuban artists.

To get their visas, the Havana Night artists were provoked by the German promoter and her advisors to disengage themselves from their own government, to show that they were “independent”, a visa strategy developed by right-wing advocates as part of a plan to force a “regime change”. Clearly, this is the result of unseemly, special treatment afforded to ex-State Department’s Office of Cuban Affairs coordinator, Dennis Hays, the right-wing zealot who helped architect this scheme. Their State Department security clearances which normally take months were somehow whisked through in record time … hmmm.

That this glitzy Siegfreid and Roy, right-wing, Cuban American National Foundation-supported extravaganza has been allowed in is particularly galling in light of the denial of visas for 65 Cuban multidisciplinary scholars and writers who planned to participate in the Latin American Studies Association (LASA) convention in Las Vegas last week. They were invited to present lectures and engage in intellectual exchanges with other noted international scholars. They were also to participate in a panel discussion of a new book by Cuban authors titled, “The Cuban Economy at the Start of the 21st Century.”

The approval of the Havana Night visas disregards the rights of presenters and petitioners who have attempted to produce performances by Cuban artists, only to see the talent denied entry visas. Requests for a Congressional inquiry have been made to Congressman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY). The denial of visas to the LASA scholars prompted Congressmen William Delahunt (D-MA) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ), to petition Secretary of State Colin Powell to no avail.

Our Cuban policy is really a microcosm of foreign policy in general. Among the myriad of issues raised, what does this State Department policy say about government censorship and our First Amendment rights to free expression? Our other constitutional rights of due process rights, equal protection? The Havana Night maneuvering appears to be another in a series of the chess pieces the Bush administration is choosing to use, similar to the new Treasury Department (Office of Foreign Assets Control) restrictions, the contrived charges that “Castro Encourages Prostitution” or “Cuba is a Biotechnological Terror Threat” or “Cuba is an Undue Influence in Venezuela and other Latin American Countries”, as we head towards November.

BILL MARTINEZ is an immigration attorney who has also produced and managed cultural events in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1973. A native San Franciscan, he is a graduate of Balboa High School, the University of San Francisco and Hastings College of the Law. He has worked in the Community Law Collective (,74-,79), New College of California School of Law (,79-,83) and the Volunteer Legal Services Program of the Bar Association of San Francisco (,84-,93). In 1981, he co-founded the Encuentro del Canto Popular, a San Francisco-based Latin American music festival. His work with the Encuentro lead him to become one of the nation,s leading experts in U.S.-Cuba cultural exchanges and artists, visas. He co-founded the Latino Entertainment Partners which produced historically significant concerts of Cuban artists. He may be reached at: bill@billmartinez.com.

 

More articles by:
June 18, 2018
Paul Street
Denuclearize the United States? An Unthinkable Thought
John Pilger
Bring Julian Assange Home
Conn Hallinan
The Spanish Labyrinth
Patrick Cockburn
Attacking Hodeidah is a Deliberate Act of Cruelty by the Trump Administration
Gary Leupp
Trump Gives Bibi Whatever He Wants
Thomas Knapp
Child Abductions: A Conversation It’s Hard to Believe We’re Even Having
Robert Fisk
I Spoke to Palestinians Who Still Hold the Keys to Homes They Fled Decades Ago – Many are Still Determined to Return
Steve Early
Requiem for a Steelworker: Mon Valley Memories of Oil Can Eddie
Jim Scheff
Protect Our National Forests From an Increase in Logging
Adam Parsons
Reclaiming the UN’s Radical Vision of Global Economic Justice
Dean Baker
Manufacturing Production Falls in May and No One Notices
Laura Flanders
Bottom-Up Wins in Virginia’s Primaries
Binoy Kampmark
The Anguish for Lost Buildings: Embers and Death at the Victoria Park Hotel
Weekend Edition
June 15, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Dan Kovalik
The US & Nicaragua: a Case Study in Historical Amnesia & Blindness
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Yellow Journalism and the New Cold War
Charles Pierson
The Day the US Became an Empire
Jonathan Cook
How the Corporate Media Enslave Us to a World of Illusions
Ajamu Baraka
North Korea Issue is Not De-nuclearization But De-Colonization
Andrew Levine
Midterms Coming: Antinomy Ahead
Louisa Willcox
New Information on 2017 Yellowstone Grizzly Bear Deaths Should Nix Trophy Hunting in Core Habitat
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Singapore Fling
Ron Jacobs
What’s So Bad About Peace, Man?
Robert Hunziker
State of the Climate – It’s Alarming!
L. Michael Hager
Acts and Omissions: The NYT’s Flawed Coverage of the Gaza Protest
Dave Lindorff
However Tenuous and Whatever His Motives, Trump’s Summit Agreement with Kim is Praiseworthy
Robert Fantina
Palestine, the United Nations and the Right of Return
Brian Cloughley
Sabre-Rattling With Russia
Chris Wright
To Be or Not to Be? That’s the Question
David Rosen
Why Do Establishment Feminists Hate Sex Workers?
Victor Grossman
A Key Congress in Leipzig
John Eskow
“It’s All Kinderspiel!” Trump, MSNBC, and the 24/7 Horseshit Roundelay
Paul Buhle
The Russians are Coming!
Joyce Nelson
The NED’s Useful Idiots
Lindsay Koshgarian
Trump’s Giving Diplomacy a Chance. His Critics Should, Too
Louis Proyect
American Nativism: From the Chinese Exclusion Act to Trump
Stan Malinowitz
On the Elections in Colombia
Camilo Mejia
Open Letter to Amnesty International on Nicaragua From a Former Amnesty International Prisoner of Conscience
David Krieger
An Assessment of the Trump-Kim Singapore Summit
Jonah Raskin
Cannabis in California: a Report From Sacramento
Josh Hoxie
Just How Rich Are the Ultra Rich?
CJ Hopkins
Awaiting the Putin-Nazi Apocalypse
Mona Younis
We’re the Wealthiest Country on Earth, But Over 40 Percent of Us Live in or Near Poverty
Dean Baker
Not Everything Trump Says on Trade is Wrong
James Munson
Trading Places: the Other 1% and the .001% Who Won’t Save Them
Rivera Sun
Stop Crony Capitalism: Protect the Net!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail