Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 03090441 (posted Sep. 4, 2003)"
DOS Press Spokesman Answers Questions About
Visas for Latin Grammys
The following is an excerpt from the September 3, 2003, press
briefing by State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher:
"QUESTION: Could you let us know if the Cuban singers are
going to make it to the Latin Grammies?
MR. BOUCHER: They're not going to make it, I'm sorry. They
just -- we just got the stuff too late to be able to process it for them.
QUESTION: When did you get the (inaudible)?
MR. BOUCHER: Do I have an exact date? I don't remember. It
was days, only days ago. It was not -- nowhere near the sort of six to eight
weeks that's normally required.
QUESTION: Has the Cuban Government issued a formal complaint
MR. BOUCHER: Don't know.”
The following is excerpted from the September 2, 2003, press
“QUESTION: The Cubans are complaining that some of the Cuban
winners of Latin Grammy Awards were denied visas to come to the U.S. to accept
their awards. Any comment?
MR. BOUCHER: The -- this is a complicated situation. We all
know that Cuba is on the State Sponsors of Terrorism list, and therefore all
Cubans have to get appropriate handling for their visas, and it takes a while.
And everybody knows -- the Cuban Government knows, most Cubans know, certainly
Americans who deal with Cuba know that it can take six to eight weeks to process
applications. They just submitted their applications a little while ago. We're
processing the applications, even without the regularly -- what's normally
required is an invitation from a U.S. sponsor, in this case the Latin Grammies
-- so we're trying to process these cases as expeditiously as we can, but there
are a lot of checks that need to be done. But I'm not in a position to promise
that we can do them in time.
QUESTION: Can you give some idea of the checks that have to
be done of singers?
MR. BOUCHER: It's for anybody. Whether it's a question
QUESTION: But you had Iranian ping-pong players coming in
here, and these are just Cuban -- were they ping-pong players? I forget.
QUESTION: Wrestlers. I don't know what. Cuba is always a
MR. BOUCHER: That was a while back.
QUESTION: And Iraq.
QUESTION: Cuba seems to have a special -- raise special
MR. BOUCHER: No, you know, other people on the state
sponsors list go through similar checks. It's just some people apply in time so
that we can get all this done. Here, we have people who have applied very late
in the process, and we're trying to do what we can for them. But I can't promise
we can get it all done in time. You can't expect us to do all the necessary,
legally required, and prudent checks in a very, very short length of time with
an event coming up in a few days.”