Bush Administration Pulls "Welcome Mat" for Buena Vista Social Club’s Grammy Award Appearance
by Dan Bacher

February 21, 2004

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In yet another bizarre twist of “foreign policy” under the Bush administration, the State Department ruled that permitting aging musicians like Ibrahim Ferrer, 76 year-old member of the Buena Vista Social Club, to attend the Grammy's would be "detrimental to the interests" of our country.

The highly acclaimed film, “The Buena Vista Social Club,” has brought world wide attention to these musicians and their outstanding performances of Afro-Cuban music. Since the film was released, Ferrer and his musical partners have performed in a variety of venues throughout the world. However, the Bush administration feels that issuing a visa to them would be a “threat” to our country.

“We need you to add your voice to protest the U.S. government's discriminatory decision to stop the Buena Vista Social Club artists from entering the United States and attending the Grammy Awards,” said Sarah Stephens and Eva Boster For the Cubacentral Coalition.

“Obviously, turning down their visas does nothing to protect America, but sends a political signal to the Cuban exile community that President Bush is still letting Miami run Cuba policy in Washington,” they added. “We need to reverse this decision and expose it as the craven act of political pandering that it is.”

The decision to reject issuing them visas occurs in the context of an increasingly aggressive foreign policy and repressive domestic agenda by G.W. Bush and his gang of neo-conservatives, all proponents of the “Project for A New American Century.” While other countries have welcomed the “Buena Vista Social Club” performing artists with open arms, the Bush administration has prevented them from entering the U.S. in an effort to pander to the most reactionary members of Florida’s Cuban American community.

It is ironic that as the U.S. conducts extensive trade and diplomatic relations with Vietnam and China, both of which are at least nominally "communist" countries, it has cut cultural ties with our socialist neighbor, Cuba. The decades-long blockade of Cuba, a strange anachronism of the Cold War that is strongly supported by G.W. and the neo-con chickenhawks, must end.

Go to: http://action.ciponline.org/ctt.asp?u=1705796&l=17120 now to send an automatic message to Secretary Powell protesting this decision.

Daniel Bacher is an outdoor writer/alternative journalist/satirical songwriter from Sacramento California. He is also a long-time peace, social justice and environmental activist. Email: danielbacher@hotmail.com.


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