CUBAN DIPLOMATS - Face new travel restrictions in USgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Current News - Homefront Preparations : One Thread
Cuban Diplomats Face New Travel Restrictions in US By Jim Burns CNSNews.com Senior Staff Writer October 19, 2001
(CNSNews.com) - The Bush administration this week imposed new restrictions on the movement of Cuban diplomats working in the United States, changes a State Department official said were "effective immediately."
The State Department official, who did not want to be named, said, "There have been long standing travel limits imposed by both the United States and Cuban governments on each other's officials. As a matter of reciprocity, the U.S. government has decided to further confine Cuban officials to an area equivalent to what we are currently allowed to travel without notice in Havana."
The United States continues to maintain an interests section office in Havana. It has operated there since 1959 and has been and continues to be the target of anti-American demonstrations.
The Bush administration contends that Cuban officials have been given latitude to travel within Washington and New York without notifying the State Department. However, the administration contends that the Castro government has not given wide latitude to Cuban- based American officials who want to travel within Havana.
"Until October 16th, Cuban officials at the interests section (in Washington) could travel within a 25 mile circle from the White House without notifying the (State) department. They are now restricted roughly to the area inside the beltway plus access to (Washington's) Dulles Airport. This new area is 706 square kilometers which is slightly greater than the 704 kilometers to which our officials are restricted in Havana," the State Department official said.
Cuban officials will also find it more difficult to travel elsewhere in the United States
"The department will be closely examining visa applications for Cuban officials from Cuba who wish to visit places in the United States outside Washington or New York," said the State Department official.
The State Department has also ordered Cuban officials who want to travel outside Washington or New York to give the department 72 hours notice in order to get permission.
A National Security Council official at the White House confirmed the new restrictions but referred all calls to the State Department.
Rep. Lincoln Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) applauded the administration's action.
"I commend President Bush for these new restrictions on Castro's so-called diplomats in the United States and for ending the blatant double standard that existed previously in the movement permitted of Castro diplomats here compared to U.S. diplomats in Cuba," said Diaz-Balart.
The Castro government issued no official reaction.
-- Anonymous, October 19, 2001