Cuba: foreign former officials can’t attend dissident event


Cuba stoked tensions across Latin America on Tuesday by blocking a former Chilean minister and one of Mexico’s ex-presidents from travelling to the island to attend an award ceremony hosted by political dissidents, Reuters reports:

Chile said it was recalling its ambassador to Cuba for consultation and asking the Cuban government why Mariana Aylwin (left), a former education minister and daughter of an ex-president, was blocked from entering Cuba on Monday night….Former Mexican President Felipe Calderon tweeted on Tuesday that Cuban immigration prevented him from boarding a flight from Mexico City to Havana to attend the same meeting. Aylwin was prevented from checking in to her flight in Chile’s capital, Santiago, apparently at the request of the Cuban authorities, she told journalists on Tuesday.

“The behavior of the Cuban government is deeply gross, vulgar and rude,” said Rosa Maria Paya (right), the group’s leader and daughter of dissident Oswaldo Paya, who died in 2012. “We have all received information that (invited guests) are receiving pressure from the Cuban government.”

Former Mexican President Felipe Calderon said on Tuesday that Cuban authorities stopped him from traveling to the island to mark the fifth anniversary of the death of prominent dissident Oswaldo Paya.

“Cuban Immigration informs us that passenger FCH is not authorized to enter Cuba and asks that he not be documented on flight AM451,” Calderon said in a Twitter post, referring to the message given to him by Aeromexico.

Mexican ex-President Felipe Calderon says Cuba won’t allow him to enter the country to attend a ceremony organized by a prominent dissident, Associated Press reports:

Rosa Maria Paya has invited the secretary-general of the Organization of American States to receive a prize from her group in Havana on Wednesday. Calderon wrote on Twitter that he had been invited, but Cuba had denied him a visa. Former Chilean Education Minister Maria Aylwin posted a similar message. OAS chief Luis Almagro has not commented.

A trip to the island by Luis Almagro (left), secretary-general of the Organization of American States, where he is set to accept the Latin America Youth Network for Democracy’s Oswaldo Paya Prize, will force him to navigate a diplomatic minefield, reports suggest:

The Cuban government remains one of Mr. Maduro’s staunchest allies and has refused to return to the OAS, from which it was excluded from 1962 to 2009. Cynthia Arnson, director of the Latin American Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, said Mr. Almagro’s decision to travel to Cuba to accept an award named for one of the country’s most famous political dissidents is a clear provocation.

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