U.S. State Department fails to issue visa for Silvio RodríguezAct NOW to demand entry for Cuban artists and professionals US-Cuba Cultural Exchange:
May 3, 2009
Following is the text of an email from Silvio Rodríguez (trans. into English), regarding the failure of the United States State Department to issue him an entry visa.
Rodríguez, Cuba's premier singer-songwriter and co-founder of that country's New Song Movement, was to perform at Pete Seeger's 90th birthday concert in New York today, Sunday, May 3.
Rodríguez's entry into the United States to perform might have been a major break through following years of wrong-headed U.S. policy towards Cuban artists and professionals. Instead, the State Department, while not explicitly denying the visa, allowed it to be tied up such that it was not approved, at least not in time (as of this writing) for the very performance for which it was solicited.
You can help. Take a moment and call the U.S. State Department and express your sentiment that Cuban artists be allowed to enter the United States to share their work with appreciative and deserving American audiences. Tell them that it is an embarrassment that an artist of the stature of Silvio Rodríguez be denied entry into the country to join hands with Pete Seege ralong with the dozens of other performers who joined with him today.
Thanks to Bill Martínez for all the work involved in the visa solicitation. U.S. State Department Switchboard: 202-647-4000
Also, call the White House Comment Line and express your feelings: 202-456-1111
Thanks, L H
Message from Silvio Rodríguez to his sister in Havana, also his manager:
Today is May 1 and it is 8:40 pm in Paris. I just connected online to the United States Embassy site in France, where information is published regarding visa solicitations. My visa application is listed as being in process, the same status that it has maintained since I made the application. Today being the day that I was to fly to New York, and given that the visa has still not appeared, tomorrow I will leave instead for Havana.
You can pass this message to Pete's grandson Tao, and to Bill the attorney, along with my gratitude for their efforts as well as my sorrow resultingf rom the lack of respect shown by the State Department to them for havingi nvited me to celebrate the 90th birthday of our dear friend Pete Seeger, living legend of North American song.
I believe that the attitude of the State Department is very contradictory, given the desire expressed by President Obama to bring the United States closer to Cuba. As a Cuban cultural worker, I continue to feel blockaded and discriminated against by other governments. Hopefully this will truly change someday.
Thanks for your help.