Cuba protests US visa denial
By EDITH M. LEDERER (AP) – 19 hours ago
UNITED NATIONS — Cuba accused the Obama administration of following in
the footsteps of the Bush administration and violating U.S. law by
denying a visa to the wife of a convicted intelligence agent for the
In a letter to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon circulated Monday, Cuba's
U.N. Ambassador Abelardo Moreno Fernandez demanded that the U.S.
government grant Adriana Perez "a humanitarian visa immediately so that
she may visit her husband," Gerardo Hernandez.
The ambassador said that on July 15, after a wait of 95 days, the U.S.
Interests Section in Havana denied Perez a visa for the 10th time, using
"the crude argument" that she "constitutes a threat to the stability and
national security of the United States."
"This is shameful confirmation that the current Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton is using the same argument as her predecessor
Condoleezza Rice to deny Ms. Adriana Perez her visa," Moreno Fernandez said.
"This decision of the United States authorities violates the country's
own law and demonstrates a systematic violation of its international
obligations," he said. It "is also a systematic and flagrant violation
of human rights and an act of torture against Gerardo Hernandez Nordelo
— unjustly sentenced to two life sentences plus 15 years in prison — and
members of his family."
The U.S. Supreme Court in June refused to review the conviction of
Hernandez and four other intelligence agents for the communist country
despite calls from Nobel Prize winners and international legal groups to
consider the case.
The so-called "Cuban Five," who were arrested in September 1998,
maintain they did not receive a fair trial because of strong anti-Castro
sentiment in Miami. They have been lionized as heroes in Cuba, but exile
groups say they were justly punished.
State Department spokeswoman Rima Vydmantas said the U.S. does not
discuss specific details of individual visa cases.
"The fundamental issue is whether the applicant qualifies for the visa
under U.S. law on his or her own individual merits," she said.
The letter to the secretary-general included an "appeal to the
parliaments and peoples of the world," approved by Cuba's National
Assembly, which demands the immediate release of the "Cuban Five."
The appeal states that President Barack Obama "has the constitutional
authority and the moral obligation to ensure justice."
The Associated Press: Cuba protests US visa denial (1 September 2009)