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In wake of Castro comments, USINT seeks to clarify visa issuance policy.

On Apr. 6, the U.S. Interests Section in Havana released this statement about how USINT issues visas for resettlement in the United States:

The U.S. Interests Section wishes to set the record straight regarding Fidel Castro's comments from last Thursday [Mar. 31], when he said that the USINT selects teachers, architects, engineers and other professionals to resettle permanently in the United States as part of the U.S. government's obligation to issue 20,000 travel documents a year.

Either his spy network is failing him or he indulged in yet another outrageous lie about the United States.

USINT processes self-selected Cubans for resettlement in the United States, without regard to profession or job. Cubans themselves have decided, in overwhelming numbers, that they want to leave Cuba.

Some Cubans, and their immediate family members, meet the definition of refugee because they have suffered persecution by the Cuban regime, and the U.S. government recognizes their refugee status. Others are petitioned by family members in the United States.

The majority of Cubans paroled into the United States--60% of the average annual total--registered for a special Cuban visa lottery. In this random selection process, professional background plays no role. The last time Mr. Castro permitted the United States to hold a lottery registration, in 1998, 541,000 Cubans registered to leave Cuba in just 30 days.

The regime has refused to permit us to hold another lottery registration, despite our annual requests to do so and Cuba's obligation under the Migration Accords to allow this. Moreover, Mr. Castro has not allowed hundreds of Cuban professionals who have received visas to reside in the U.S. to leave the island, because he views their departure as an embarrassment to his regime.

Our system for processing Cubans who wish to leave Cuba is based on U.S. law and regulations with many checks and balances. It is based on proper procedures, not politics, though Mr. Castro could probably not conceive of such a thing.
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Title Annotation:Fidel Castro, United States Interest Section
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2005
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