President Raúl Castro's daughter is scheduled to visit California next week to speak at a conference of experts on Latin America during a rare US trip by a member of Cuba's ruling family.
Sexologist Mariela Castro, 50, will discuss Cuba's policies on sexual issues on May 24 at a Latin American Studies Association (LASA) conference in San Francisco, an association spokesman said on Wednesday.
Mariela Castro heads Cuba’s National Centre for Sex Education and is an outspoken advocate for gay rights.
Her father Raúl Castro, 80, took over as president four years ago from his ailing older brother Fidel Castro, who ruled the island for 49 years after taking power in a 1959 revolution.
A US State Department spokesman in Washington refused to confirm during a briefing whether Mariela Castro had been granted a visa to visit the country, which has been Cuba's ideological foe for more than half a century.
The spokesman for LASA, an international group based at the University of Pittsburgh for people who study Latin America, said she was registered to attend the conference, scheduled for the speech and likely has a visa.
In Washington, US Senator Robert Menendez, an anti-Castro Cuban exile, said in a statement he was disappointed by the decision to give Mariela Castro a visa and questioned whether the government had the authority to do so.
”Ms. Castro is a vociferous advocate of the (Castro) regime and opponent of democracy, who has defended the regime's brutal repression of democracy activists, the New Jersey Democrat said.
Neither the United States Government nor the Latin American Studies Association should be in the business of providing a totalitarian regime, like the one in Cuba, with a platform from which to espouse its twisted rhetoric,” Menendez added.
US-Cuba relations have warmed slightly since President Barack Obama took office. But progress has come almost to a halt since US contractor Alan Gross was arrested in Havana in December 2009 and sentenced to 15 years in prison for setting up Internet networks under a semi-covert US program aimed at toppling the Cuban government.
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The Castros looted Cuba and now are rich with Swiss bank accounts. Of course like all Socialists they ran on two planks. The class envy card and the race card, just like Obama.May 17th, 2012 - 11:13 am 0
@1May 17th, 2012 - 02:06 pm 0
Is that where The Mad Bitch of Argentina gets her inspiration from?
@2May 17th, 2012 - 09:20 pm 0
Yes, include O'bummer, Mittens Joker Romney, Camoron and Tony Liar Blair (though he's out of politics, but cannot be forgotten).