Visa Denials Prompt Latin American Studies Association to Move Future Meetings Outside U.S.

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The Latin American Studies Association has announced that it intends to move its future congresses outside the United States, after the Bush administration again prevented all Cuban scholars from attending this year's meeting, which is now under way in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Decrying visa denials as a violation of academic freedom, the group's executive council said in a written statement that it had made the potentially costly decision unanimously.

"As long as the United States government's current visa policy with regard to our Latin American colleagues persists," the statement said, "we can no longer, in good conscience, hold our congress inside the United States."

The association, known as LASA, holds a congress every 18 months. Two weeks ago, the United States informed all 58 Cuban academics who had applied months ago for visas to attend the conference that their applications had been denied.

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