Statement by the editorial boad of Marxism-Leninism Today (MLToday.com) on the US State Department’s denial of permission for Cuban diplomats to travel to New York City for the Left Forum, March 16-18, 2012.

The Editorial Board of MLToday.com strongly protests the State Department’s refusal to grant  two Cuban diplomats in Washington, DC permission to travel to New York City to participate in the Left Forum the weekend of March 16-18. Patricia Pego, First Secretary, and Juan Lamigueiro, Deputy Chief of the Mission, at the Cuban Interest Section in Washington were slated to participate in a panel sponsored by MLToday.com on New Developments in Cuba and a second panel on the Cuban Five.

Cuban diplomats based in Washington, DC and at the United Nations in New York cannot travel outside a 50-mile radius without first obtaining permission from the State Department.

Founded as the Socialist Scholars Conference, the Left Forum is the largest annual gathering of left academics, students and labor and community activists.  Held this year at Pace University in New York City, it attracted over 5,000 registrants.

The MLT Editorial Board wishes to thank the Cuban diplomats, based at Cuba’s United Nations Mission, who did such an excellent job on very short notice, filling in for their Washington  colleagues.  They were received with gratitude and appreciation by a crowd so anxious to hear their presentation that it overflowed the assigned room.

For more than 50 years the U.S. government has maintained an illegal and criminal blockade of Cuba that has caused untold damage and injury to Cuban citizens and Cuban society.  But it is now very clear that the illegal blockade is also used to deny American citizens the freedom to hear Cuba’s point of view.

With the Obama Administration stepping up enforcement of the blockade itself; with the Administration trying to prevent Cuba from being invited to the Summit of the Americas in Colombia next month; and with the U.S. government attempting to prevent Americans from hearing first hand from Cubans themselves, it is reasonable to ask “Why is the American government afraid of Cuba?”

We urge all our friends and supporters to answer that question  and  then call your congressperson to protest

March 19, 2012                                                                     

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