A bipartisan group of Congressional Members (Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Albio Sires, and Mario Diaz-Balart) sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry regarding the possibility that a U.S. entry visa might be given to Antonio Castro, son of Fidel Castro and nephew of Raul Castro, allowing him to come to the United States to join the Cuban baseball team at the International Collegiate Friendship Series next week.
Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
"I find it deeply disturbing that the Administration may grant a visa to Antonio Castro, son of Fidel Castro and nephew to Raul Castro. It is unconscionable that the Administration has not denied visas to the family of the Castro brothers. The Castro brothers and their family members represent an odious regime that continues to oppress and deny basic human rights to millions of people. Let us not be fooled: the sole purpose of sending Antonio Castro along with the baseball team is to intimidate these young athletes and prevent them from defecting to the U.S. and away from the grip of Castro's tyranny. I urge the Administration to stand in solidarity with the millions of oppressed Cubans and refuse to grant a visa to Antonio Castro."
Text of the letter:
July 12, 2013
The Honorable John Kerry
Secretary of State
2201 C Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20520
Dear Secretary Kerry:
We are writing to urge the State Department to deny a U.S. entry visa to the son of Fidel Castro, Antonio Castro. We understand that Antonio Castro frequently accompanies Cuban baseball players traveling abroad in order to intimidate them and prevent them from defecting.
We are concerned that Antonio Castro may have requested a visa to come to the United States to join the Cuban baseball team at the International Collegiate Friendship Series next week. We have repeatedly expressed our outrage that the Administration granted U.S. entry to high-level Castro operatives such as Josefina Vidal Ferreiro, Mariela Castro, and Eusebio Leal, to name a few. The Castro brothers and their family members represent an oppressive regime that denies human rights and basic freedoms to the Cuban people.
Granting a visa to the son of Fidel Castro and the nephew of dictator Raul Castro would undermine our efforts to promote democracy and freedom within the island, and damages our longstanding policy of strengthening ties with the Cuban people and isolating their oppressors. It would be especially misguided to grant a visa to the son and nephew of the very tyrants who continue to unjustly hold Alan Gross, a U.S. citizen who has languished in Castro's gulag for more than three years.
For those reasons, and within all applicable rules and regulations, we respectfully request that you deny U.S. entry to Antonio Castro.