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Reno Grants Humanitarian Parole to Allow Sick Girl Into US

January 20, 1994

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Attorney General Janet Reno cleared the way Thursday for an 8-year-old Cuban girl who needs a kidney transplant to enter the United States for treatment, an aide said.

Greta Blanco Caride, who is going blind from her disease, ″can probably come to the United States in a couple of days if the Cuban government lets her out,″ said Lula Rodriguez, an assistant to Reno.

Reno got involved after receiving a call Wednesday from Rep. Lincoln Diaz- Balart, R-Fla., whose constituents include the girl’s grandfather, Jaime Caride of Hialeah.

The U.S. Interest Section in Havana should have the girl’s visa ready by Friday, Rodriguez said.

Immigration officials earlier had rejected the girl’s request. They argued that they needed proof that someone other than U.S. taxpayers would pay for the operation and that the girl’s whole family wasn’t going to use the medical crisis as an excuse to immigrate.

Under humanitarian parole granted by Reno, only the girl and her mother can come to the United States, Rodriguez said. The father, who was to come under the original application, will have to stay in Cuba.

However, Mark Cohen, spokesman for Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami where the operation would be done, said there are good medical reasons for bringing as many family members as possible.

″If a transplant is indeed an appropriate treatment, then if you have a larger group of family members to draw from, your odds of coming up with an appropriate match obviously increase,″ he said in a telephone interview.

Jackson Memorial offered to pay for tho operation, but it was rejected because it is publicly funded and humanitarian paroles cannot be issued unless non-public funding for the treatment is assured.

To resolve that problem, the Transplant Foundation, affiliated with the University of Miami Medical School’s transplant division, has offered to open a trust fund to raise the money needed, Rodriguez said. Jackson Memorial is the medical school’s primary hospital affiliate. Additionally, three private hospitals have agreed to donate any follow-up treatment the girl may need.

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