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Latino Daily News

Friday May 18, 2012

Conflict Arises Over Mariela Castro Being Granted U.S. Visa for California Conference

Conflict Arises Over Mariela Castro Being Granted U.S. Visa for California Conference

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Now that Raul Castro’s daughter has received a U.S. visa to attend an academic event in California some are protesting.

Mariela Castro was granted a visa by Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, and that decision has upset a number of Cuban-American activists and lawmakers.

President Castro’s daughter, head of CENESEX (Center for Sex Education), a campaign to raise awareness in Cuba to stop homophobia, will participate in the 30th Congress of the Latin American Studies Association, which will be held May 23-26 in San Francisco.

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), has criticized Mariela being given the visa, saying she is “a vociferous advocate of the regime and opponent of democracy, who has defended the regime’s brutal repression of democracy activists.”

Menendez is among those who feel it is preposterous to allow her entry to the U.S. while American contractor Alan Gross remains in Cuba unable to leave and U.S. diplomats in Havana are being increasingly harassed by the Communist regime, some having their tires slashed and pets poisoned.

Last week, Mariela called the support of U.S. President Barack Obama for same-sex marriage “excellent.”

“I congratulate President Obama for a humane message,” Castro stated, “[One] of understanding, where he acknowledges ... that he, too, has been changing his opinion in favor of marriage, the free union of same-sex couples.”

With the granting of this visa, one has to wonder if Castro’s visa marks the start of a change in U.S. policy.