- Forthcoming Events
- Past Events
- Other Events
- Contact us
Resolution to Obama
Academics protest at visa denial
In response to the denial of 11 visas for Cubans scheduled to participate in the Latin American Studies Association International Congress in San Francisco, May 23-26, 2012, the leadership of the Section for Scholarly Relations with Cuba has prepared a resolution. Many of the 11 have received visas one or more times in the past several years.
You may express your support for the resolution and the ideas it expresses by sending your signature electronically to one of the co-chairs of the Section for Scholarly Relations with Cuba: Jorge Mario Sánchez (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Sheryl Lutjens (email@example.com). Please include your name and affiliation as you would like them to appear. You must be a member of LASA to sign the resolution but lettersa iof support from others will be welcome.
The Latin American Studies Association (LASA) is the largest professional association in the world for individuals and institutions engaged in the study of Latin America and the Caribbean. With over 7,000 members, LASA is the one association that brings together experts on Latin America and the Caribbean from all disciplines and diverse occupational endeavors, across the globe.
Whereas, in support of humanitarian ideals and principles of freedom of thought, civil liberties, and the free flow of ideas among peoples everywhere, the Association consistently has spoken out against restrictions of those freedoms and any reduction in the potential for dialogue and cultural exchange, universally;
Whereas, the mission of the Latin American Studies Association has been compromised to an unreasonable degree by the U.S. State Department’s denial of visas for Cuban scholars to participate in the 2003, 2004 and 2006 LASA Congresses, negating the rights of these scholars to present their findings and analyses to their peers;
Whereas the Association, in its principled determination to have Cuban scholars present at its Congresses, has suffered intolerable financial damage as it has been forced to relocate its meetings outside the United States and pay cancellation charges for opting out of contracts already signed with U.S. hotels;
Whereas, the Latin American Studies Association decided to return to the United States as the site of the International Congress in 2012, expecting that Cuban scholars would receive visas to participate, and the denial of 11 visas has again compromised the organizational mission and the quality of the 2012 meeting;
Whereas, the denial of visas is capricious in that some Cuban academics who have previously received visas during the administration of Barack Obama were denied entry to participate in LASA, including those who were denied using Section 212 (f);
Whereas, academic exchange and intellectual and scholarly engagement are rooted in expectations of constancy in the possibilities of professional interaction, the irrational denial of visas forecloses the building of new relationships and damages existing and possible future exchanges;
Whereas, the arbitrary denial of visas in general, and in the case of Cuban scholars specifically, forecloses avenues of cooperation and the production of better and more extensive knowledge that is crucial to adequate policy making by the U.S. government;
Therefore be it resolved that:
1) The Latin American Studies Association urges the U.S. government to respect the fundamental principles of academic freedom essential for sound scholarship and intellectual exchanges in a globalizing world;
2) The Latin American Studies Association expresses its deep concern about the arbitrary denial of entry to scholars who meet the requirements of the visa process and present no threat to the security of the United States, especially as demonstrated in the issuing of visas to them previously;
3) The Latin American Studies Association will seriously reconsider the decision to hold its international congresses in the United States or its territories;
4) This resolution will be mailed to President Barack Obama and all members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.