News24

Romney slams US visa for Castro daughter

2012-05-23 12:01

Washington - Republican Mitt Romney said on Tuesday he was "greatly disturbed" that President Barack Obama's administration had granted a visitor's visa to the daughter of Cuban President Raul Castro.

Mariela Castro, a sexologist who supports gay rights, was granted the visa to attend the annual conference of the Latin American Studies Association on 23-26 May in San Francisco.

"We shouldn't be extending an open hand to a regime engaged in the systematic and flagrant denial of basic human rights," Republican presidential hopeful Romney said in a statement.

The Obama administration defended its decision on 18 May. "We don't link visa policy in cases like this to our larger political and economic and human rights relationship with countries," said State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland.

But Romney insisted the visa for Mariela Castro, who is a government official, was a mistake in handling ties with the Americas' only one-party Communist state.

"While the Cuban regime engages in a fierce crackdown on dissent and continues to unjustly imprison one of our own citizens, Alan Gross, the Obama administration should not be welcoming the daughter of a dictator," Romney said.

Restrictions less rigid

"The United States should be standing up for those on the island who are risking their very lives fighting for freedom," he said.

Washington has unsuccessfully pressed for the release of Gross, a State Department subcontractor serving a 15-year sentence in Cuba for espionage.

Washington often rejects visa requests by Cuban officials, but restrictions on professional and artistic exchanges have eased under Obama.

As head of Cuba's National Centre for Sexual Education, Mariela Castro is currently leading a national campaign against homophobia.

Traditionally stigmatised in Cuba, homosexuality was fiercely repressed for many years by the regime, which interned gays in work camps in the 1960s and ostracised them in the 1970s under the rule of Mariela's uncle Fidel Castro.

Raul Castro succeeded his brother Fidel as president in 2006.

Comments
  • Christopher - 2012-05-23 12:10

    that's why you not the president Romney. Shut your mouth.

      revaro.winkler - 2012-05-23 12:44

      thats right !!!!!!! not in the near future either

  • wesleywt - 2012-05-23 12:12

    Seriously, this guy is stuck in the 60's.

      Christopher - 2012-05-23 13:05

      Cuba is one of the most amazing countries I have ever had the privelidge of being to. And the people on the ground have been happy with the slow but definite progress their country has been making. They not starving, wealth is getting to every corner in the country, and above all the people of Cuba are happy. Its just because of the cuban missile crisis way back,as wesleywt says they(Romney and his idiots) still think they a communist regime. They have risen above that and Cuba as a nation is growing leaps and bounds. There is still a lot to do within the country,but idiots like Romney think they still stuck in the 60's. What an idiot!

      wesleywt - 2012-05-23 16:28

      I just read, this woman visited the US on three occasions, under Bush :P

  • Rabble-Rouser - 2012-05-23 12:12

    Roney seems to have a lot of prejudices. Not a good candidate for US president.

  • michael.a.devilliers - 2012-05-23 12:15

    "We shouldn't be extending an open hand to a regime engaged in the systematic and flagrant denial of basic human rights," Republican presidential hopeful Romney said in a statement. Yet, unlike you: As head of Cuba's National Centre for Sexual Education, Mariela Castro is currently leading a national campaign against homophobia. Double standards much. Don't support rights in your own country, but other countries blatantly deny rights.

  • sabongam - 2012-05-23 12:18

    Romney - given good looking and handsome idiot...What does that remind us of by the way? I know, models...And they never have anything brainy to say just pretty much like the hormophobe that Romney is...

  • lanfear.mierin - 2012-05-23 13:12

    What an idiot! I despair for the world if that time-traveller is elected president of the US! As wesleywt said, he is stuck in the past, he thinks its still the Cold War and wants to recreate a 1950s America. How pathetically sad. Or it would be if he wasn't running a close race for president of the US!

  • Jason - 2012-05-23 13:12

    If this guy was South African he would be an AWB member!

      Christopher - 2012-05-23 14:27

      don't compare! Its not worth it!

  • BJ - 2012-05-23 13:43

    So it's not OK for the US government to give Cubans visas, but perfectly fine to occupy a part of their country to run a concentration camp.

  • anwar.daniels - 2012-05-23 14:04

    Yeah, keep America for Americans. If they would just stay there ;p

  • ludlowdj - 2012-05-23 14:54

    isn't a mitt like a flea or something? sounds like an appropriate name for this pest.

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