Despite Cuba’s ongoing human rights crimes under Raul Castro, it apparently remains fashionable for professors and professionals to invite influential Cubans to meet with American and international audiences on U.S. soil. Mariela Castro, Raul’s daughter, recently received a visa from the U.S. State Department to do just that.
“I presented my work at the Congress of the Latin American Studies Association, which was held last week in San Francisco, Mariela Castro recently told Democracy Now! In June. “I was also invited by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health.”
Castro said that she is currently the director of the National Center of Sexual Education in Cuba and that she sympathizes with LGBT community. While she promotes gay marriage, she told Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman, “what we are negotiating is the legalization of consensual unions and that the legalization of these unions would guarantee, more than anything, their property rights, inheritance rights.”
LASA is “the largest professional Association in the world for individuals and institutions engaged in the study of Latin America”; 55 percent of its members are from the United States. Its ex officio members  hail from Princeton University, the University of Oxford, the University of Pittsburgh and McGill University.
“… [D]on’t ever underestimate the damage that a professor can do,” assert Brian Latell at a recent book event  co-sponsored by the Heritage Foundation and the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The author of Castro’s Secrets: The CIA and Cuba’s Intelligence Machine, Latell pointed to the example of Professor Carlos Alvarez and his wife. “When arrested in January, federal prosecutors said the FBI had covertly monitored Alvarez’ ongoing communications with the Cuban Intelligence Service,” states a December 2006 article  for CNN. “… Alvarez acknowledged Tuesday he had worked as a Cuban covert intelligence agent on behalf of the Havana government for nearly three decades,” it continues.
Latell said that he lives in Miami and when he brings up the case of Professor Alvarez, who taught at Florida International University, he’s had a lot of people say to him ‘So what?’ because Alvarez was just a professor without access to classified information. “Well, remember the story about the woman who,who brought her student, and handed him over to the Cuban spy?,” said Latell. “[The student] who wanted to get a job at [the] CIA? I mean, Cubans are very sophisticated in that kind of operation.”
Bethany Stotts is a former staff writer at Accuracy in Academia and has worked in marketing for the publishing industry.
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