Scholars ask US to lift visa restrictions on Cuban visitors

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A leading association of scholars devoted to Latin American studies and based at the University of Pittsburgh is asking the U.S. government to rethink its decision to bar Cuban scholars from the group's convention next week.

The visa denials cover 55 participants from that country who were to attend the Latin American Studies Association's International Congress in San Juan, Puerto Rico March 15-18.

They are the latest in a long line of athletes, academics and others from Cuba and the United States who have seen their travel plans between the two countries blocked by Washington amid ongoing tension with Fidel Castro's Communist government.

In 2004, another Pitt-based program, Semester at Sea, scrapped regular Cuba visits by its floating campus, citing tightened restrictions under the Bush administration.

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