The following statement was issued by the People’s Summit for Democracy 2022. The People’s Summit is being held in Los Angeles June 8-10 as a counter-event to the Summit of the Americas — a gathering the U.S. government hopes to use to further its efforts to dominate the hemisphere. Many leaders throughout Latin America and the Caribbean have vowed to boycott the summit over the Biden administration’s outrageous ban the governments of Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua from the gathering. And now, even artists and academics from Cuba are being refused entry to the United States.
The People’s Summit for Democracy is outraged by the decision of the United States government to deny visas to a 23 person delegation from Cuban civil society. The denial of their visas is an affront to the same democratic values that the US government and its “Summit of the Americas” pretends to uphold. With this decision and Cuba’s exclusion from Biden’s official Summit, Cuba has been denied a voice in vital discussions about democracy, integration, and regional cooperation.
Among the 23 people set to travel to Los Angeles to participate in the People’s Summit for Democracy were renowned Cuban scientist and medical doctor Tania Crombet Ramos a member of the World Academy of Sciences who contributed to the development of several life-saving vaccines, Reineris Salas Pérez an Olympic wrestler who won the Bronze medal in Tokyo, Jorge González Nuñez a queer Christian student leader, and many others including journalists, artists, trade unionists, and community leaders.
The participation of these diverse representatives of Cuban society would have given people in the US, particularly young people, an important opportunity to learn more about the island and build people to people relationships. It is an affront to the very necessary dialogue and normalization of relations between the people of the United States with the Cuban people who have been unjustly separated by the six-decade illegal US blockade.
Manolo De Los Santos, one of the organizers of the People’s Summit said: “The US government’s policy towards is cruel towards the Cuban people, but also towards the people of the United States who are being denied the right to not only relate with the people on the Island, but also to be able to speak and dialogue directly with them.”
We call on the US government and its Embassy in Havana, to reverse the decision to deny their visas.