By Ilsa Rodriguez
Prensa Latina.- We arrived at the United Nations in mid-2005, after a normal process of american visa that will never be repeated in the other occasions that we had to request them to complete our four-year period in the UN.
Unlike the rest of the countries that we visited, the annual renewal of the press card does not represent an extension of a visa, which you can request in the place of origin, this to the case of cubans and other countries on the black list of the united States.
That transaction annual in Havana led to sometimes arriving late to the sessions of the General Assembly at the level of heads of State and Government. The third year, the office of U.s. interests in Havana simply informed us after two months of waiting we were refused entry.
The argument for this refusal was that my husband Anael and I were a danger to the security of the united States, a criterion that is expressed in writing.
To make that decision, the authorities of the united States apparently did not consider the effect of our media accreditation to the UN and the precept that the united States, to be the headquarters of the United Nations, is obliged to grant visas to diplomatic personnel and journalistic labor in their facilities.
I should clarify that technically this is not an entry visa to the united States, because with this permit you can not travel beyond 25 miles radius of Columbus Circle, located in the Central Park of New York, or cover any political event, economic, cultural or sports that happen in this cosmopolitan city if you are not linked with the UN.
The scandal provoked by this step, which was rejected by the Association of Foreign Correspondents in the United Nations (known as UNCA, for its acronym in English) and other international organizations, and even americans, had as a consequence that -when Prensa Latina called the office of interest to know what steps you would take to take our place – it was informed that the our ‘was not a closed case’ and was studied again.
The three days we were granted the visa.
This cumbersome annual process, incorporated the practice in the united States that the cuban official missions -particularly those of us who travel with ordinary passport – are subjected to a process extra on arrival, which consists in returning to take photo and fingerprints, interview, and a wait of a couple of hours, as to remind one where it is.
During our stay in the UN we write both or more of Africa when we were living in the so-called black continent, considering that a great part of armed conflict and of the misfortunes of this world are concentrated there.
The UN also facilitated the direct contact with major world leaders, like Hugo Chavez, Evo Morales, Michelle Bachelet, Luiz Inacio Lula, among many Latin americans, in addition to representatives of african and asian.
To bind them outstanding personalities of cinema associated with the organization in humanitarian efforts such as George Clooney, Nicole Kidman, Angelina Jolie and Don Cheadle, among many others.