US Cool to Fidel’s Teaching Offer

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The Clinton administration evidently does not wish to have publicized Castro’s offer to have Cuba teach medicine to college graduates from underserved U.S. minority communities.

Juan Gonzalez, the New York Daily News reporter and co-host with Amy Goodman of Pacifica Radio’s “Democracy Now” program, reports how the State Department refused a visa to Ricardo Alarcon, the president of Cuba’s National Assembly, to attend a Congressional Black Caucus conference and dinner. (N.Y. Daily News, Sept. 15, 2000).

The 38-person caucus had invited Alarcon to attend so that they might announce plans for the program, which they had welcomed.

When Alarcon got no answer to his request for a visa to go to Washington from the United Nations meeting, Harlem Rep. Charles Rangel wrote to Clinton at the end of August, “It would be a great embarrassment to the caucus, as well as to our government, to have a formal invitation at this level be rescinded for any reason short of a diplomatic catastrophe.”

Nevertheless, the visa was not granted, and neither the White House nor the State Department would say why.

Yet the Congressional Black Caucus greeted Clinton heartily when he and Gore came to the conference soliciting votes for Gore.

Will the Congressional Black Caucus now demand that the pre-med students be allowed to go to Cuba for their free training, or will it drop the matter? -P.S.

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