The US denies visa to Cuban entrepreneurs
Florida International University (FIU) has selected a group of 25 self-employed Cubans entrepreneurs to participate in training courses in business management and other subjects related to the management of private businesses, from next May 20.
Through the FIU program InCubando, young entrepreneurs of the island have the opportunity to access a training for their small business, something perfectly in line with the new guidelines of the US government towards Cuba: to empower the Cuban people by supporting the non-state sector of the economy.
However, the newly opened US Embassy in Havana has denied visas to more than half of those participants approved to be part of this important course, which has provoked a quick response from some of them.
Cuban lawyer and entrepreneur Belkis Maura Duarte wrote a letter to US President Barack Obama, in her and her colleagues behalf.
"(...) At the meeting with entrepreneurs You asked: What do you need? and quite rightly - between various needs - it came up the need for training.
Your speech was very encouraging for my people and especially for us Cuban entrepreneurs, because we are interested in improving in our business, and we need training in an enabling environment to form the new Cuban entrepreneur in the free market economy in the capitalist world.
We applied for visa at the US Embassy, with all required documents that also support our links with Cuba and demonstrate our return, but the officer who interviewed us said that the reason for the trip was not clear and that we did not classify for travel.
It's a shame that in your meeting with Cuban entrepreneurs in Havana, along with the need for training in a propitious environment, nobody told you about the need to grant visas to those entrepreneurs who managed to be accepted to study in the U.S.
Mr. President, I respectfully ask you for reassessment of visa applications, not only to me, because I was not the only one who was denied, but to all who have an interest in improving our knowledge and business and that is a reality the fact that we want to return to Cuba to put into practice what we learn. (...)"