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US Defends Decision to Deny Visas to Cuban Scholars - 2004-10-07


The United States is defending its decision to deny visas to 67 Cuban scholars who wanted to attend a conference this week in the western U.S. state of Nevada.

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Thursday that the academics are Cuban government officials whose aim is to "spout the party line."

Mr. Boucher also noted that 68 Cuban dissidents remain jailed in the communist country after being arrested last year in a crackdown on opponents of Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

The United States denied the visas last week. The Cuban scholars wanted to attend an annual meeting of the Latin American Studies Association in Las Vegas.

Earlier this year, Washington implemented new policies that further tighten U.S. travel restrictions to Cuba. Officials there have denounced the restrictions.

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