Cuban Statement on US Visa Denial to Cuban Scientists
Via NY Transfer News * All the News That Doesn't Fit
PERMANENT MISSION OF THE REPUBLIC OF CUBA TO THE UNITED NATIONS
315 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10016
Tel: 212-689-7215 * Fax: 212-689-9073
THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES DENIES OUTSTANDING CUBAN
SCIENTISTS VISAS TO PARTICIPATE IN A MEETING ON THE FIGHT AGAINST
DECLARATION OF THE CUBAN MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS MAY 16,
Yesterday afternoon, May 15, officials from the Consulate of
the United States' Interests Section in Havana informed the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs' (MINREX) North American Office that the State
Department had denied the visas requested by Adriana Carr Pérez
and Tania Crombet Ramos, researchers of the Center for Molecular
Immunology and specialists in the development of new cancer treatments
(vaccines and antibodies). These two scientists were due to travel
to Orlando, Florida to participate in the American Clinical Oncology
Society's Annual Meeting that will be held between May 18 and
21 this year. Additionally, Mauricio Catalá Ferrer, a specialized
oncologist from CIMEQ, was informed by the Interests Section
that his visa was still being processed and would probably not
be ready for two or three more days, if it was granted at all.
We must point out that in similar Annual Meetings held in the
years 2000 and 2001 in New Orleans and San Francisco, respectively,
Cuban delegations, including the very same women who have now
been denied visas, did participate. These were both occasions
for the exchange of experiences in the field of cancer treatment
with outstanding specialists from the United States and other
Once again, the US State Department and Government have blocked
the participation of Cuban scientists in an important event held
in the US territory. It must be said that in the last two years
alone the United States Government has denied visas to scientists
from the Molecular Immunology Center on more than six occasions.
The women who have now had their visa applications denied won
the right to participate in the event through the quality and
importance of their work and the acceptance of their research
by the event's Organizing Committee. Their results could be of
the utmost importance both for the people of the United States
and for many other peoples around the world.
The visa applications were made in due time and manner, obeying
the 21-day notification demanded by the United States' Interests
Section. The women's visas were requested on March 25 whereas
Mauricio Catalá's application was handed in on April 12.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs rejects this new US Government
aggression against Cuban science and scientists, an aggression
that joins a long line of similar acts through which Cuban participation
in important meetings in the United States has been denied.
The Government of the United States attempts to impede the honest,
open and constructive debate between experts of different parts
of the world seeking to exchange their experiences, the results
of their scientific research and other aspects of their fight
against this disease that currently kills more than 500,000 people
annually in the United States.
The United States authorities try to plead ignorance of the damage
that such measures do to the North American scientific community
that is robbed of the opportunity to discuss and analyze the
work of Cuban scientists, even at the cost of their own citizen's
As the letter which our scientists have sent to the American
Oncology Society's Annual Meeting expresses, it is truly distressing
to witness this kind of political interference in medical and
scientific research at the dawn of the 21st century.
Science and the fight against cancer must not be held hostage
by petty political interests.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba
Havana, May 16, 2002.
COMMUNIQUÉ SENT MAY 16, 2002 BY COMRADE AGUSTÍN LAGE, DIRECTOR
GENERAL OF THE MOLECULAR IMMUNOLOGY CENTER, TO THE ORGANIZERS
OF THE AMERICAN CLINICAL ONCOLOGY SOCIETY'S 2002 ANNUAL MEETING:
To the organizers of the American Clinical Oncology Society's
2002 Annual Meeting:
It is our duty to inform you, and through you to inform the rest
of the scientific community of cancer researchers, that two members
of our team will be unable to participate in the Clinical Oncology
Society's Annual Meeting because the State Department of the
Government of the United States of America has denied them visas
to travel to that country.
Doctor Tania Crombet and Adriana Carr are two researchers who
work in the Molecular Immunology Center in Havana, Cuba.
They are also the authors of two scientific studies that should
have been presented in the meeting containing results on:
- Use of a monoclonal antibody against the EGF receptor in combination
with radiotherapy in the treatment of advanced cancer of the
head and neck.
- Immunotherapy of metastatic melanoma with a vaccine based on
It is truly distressing to witness this kind of political interference
in medical and scientific research at the dawn of the 21st Century.
Let us join our efforts to ensure that such a policy is discontinued.
(signed) Dr. Agustín Lage,
Director General of the Molecular Immunology Center
Official Translation - May 19, 2002
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