Cuban Musicians Find it Hard to Travel to United States

(Prensa Latina – Cumbancha) Los Angeles, Cuba – Cuban singer-songwriter Carlos Varela applied for a visa to
travel to the United States to sing his powerful, amazing songs in Miami,
New York and Los Angeles and the US government turned him down, an opinion
article published in The New York Times reported Monday.  Written by
singer-songwriter Jackson Browne, the article criticized the visa-granting
process to Cuban artists because their visits are “detrimental to the
interests
” of the US.  “In essence, the government says that if Carlos
Varela plays concerts in the United States, the money he makes would go to
Fidel Castro´s government.  This is untrue
,” Browne indicates. 

The Bush
administration used the same reasoning to keep award-winners Ibrahim Ferrer
and Manuel Galban from attending the Grammy award ceremony in Los Angeles
last month.  “In a profound way, the US government takes on the role of
oppressor when it tries to control which artists will be allowed access to
our minds and our hearts. We may think we are isolating Cuba with our
embargo and our travel restrictions, but it is we Americans who are becoming
isolated. People travel to Cuba from Australia, Britain, Canada, Italy and
Spain – countries we consider staunch allies
,” Browne stated.  The White
House foreign policy on Cuba is unpopular in the US for a good reason. “It
stops
[US citizens],” the folk singer continued, “from coming into Cuba and
Cubans from traveling to the United States.  It stops us from sharing
medicine with the ill and restricts our ability to sell food to the
hungry
.”  Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 15, Jackson
Browne thinks this policy is an outdated relic of the cold war and exists
only as a political payoff to Republican-leaning Cuban-American voters in
Miami.

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