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Visa for Castro's Daughter Marks Potential Shift in US Policy

May 17, 2012

The State Department has approved the visa of the Cuban head-of-state’s daughter to attend a conference in San Francisco, marking a shift in Cuban relations, which have been stuck in neutral since last year.

Mariela Castro Espín, a prominent advocate for LGBT issues in Cuba, will visit San Francisco next week to give a conference paper at the Latin American Studies Association. The State Department would not comment on Castro Espín’s visa, but Sen. Robert Menéndez (D-NJ) , who sits on the Foreign Relations Committee, said the visa had been granted.

Extending a visa to a Cuban official of Castro’s Espín’s stature to visit the United States as a private citizen is a rare occurrence. While Castro Espín is a well known expert on LGBT issues, she is also Raul Castro’s daughter, a high-ranking Communist Party member in her own right and a government official who heads the Cuban National Center for Sex Education, or CENESEX...

...Allowing Castro Espín to visit the United States shows the Obama administration’s interest in fostering a more open relationship, according to Chris Sabatini, policy director of the Americas Society.

“It’s a huge change,” Sabatini told Fox News Latino. “The U.S. government is clearly trying to demonstrate a new, more fluid relationship with some elements of the regime.”

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