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Nicaraguan Official Denied US Visa for Speaking Tour

October 27, 1988

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Nicaragua’s former minister of culture has been denied a visa to go on a speaking tour of universities around the United States, the State Department said Wednesday.

Frances Jones, a department spokeswoman, said Ernesto Cardinale’s request for a visa was rejected under two sections of the Immigration and Naturalization Act.

One section prohibits foreigners from receiving a visa if they had previously obtained one under false pretenses; another bars anyone who has been associated with the Communist Party from obtaining a visa.

Jones said she did not know specifically why Cardinale’s request for a visa was turned down.

″I don’t have details on this and I don’t know the particulars,″ she said.

But she said the department’s decision was unrelated to a proclamation signed Tuesday by President Reagan. Reagan said the United States will no longer grant entry visas to officials of Nicaragua’s leftist Sandinista government because such visits were ″detrimental to the interests of the United States.″

The proclamation was partly in retaliation for new restrictions placed on U.S. government officials in Nicaragua last month. Relations between the two countries have been particularly strained since last July 11 when Managua expelled the American ambassador, and the United States retaliated.

The Sandinista party newspaper Barricada, in its Wednesday editions, ran a last page story under the headline: ″The U.S. Declares Visa War.″

The article charged that the denial of official visas was linked to ″an old plan by the Central Intelligence Agency to try to isolate Nicaragua.″

Cardinale’s original itinerary called for him to speak universities around the country in late October and early November.

Last month, Ronald M. McAllister, associate dean of Northeastern University in Boston, wrote Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., asking him to ″exert some pressure″ to encourage the issuance of Cardinale’s visa so the Nicaraguan could speak on Nov. 3.

McAllister said he was disturbed about the delay in the visa process. ″Mr. Cardinale is a well-known figure who has been to this country before and for whom the process of a visa cannot be difficult, time-consuming or labor- intensive,″ the dean wrote.

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