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Cuba Protests US Curb on Science Articles, Trips
Published on Wednesday, March 10, 2004 by Reuters
Cuba Protests US Curb on Science Articles, Trips

HAVANA - The Cuban Academy of Sciences accused the Bush administration on Tuesday of hindering scientific research by making it difficult for Cuban scientists to publish their papers in U.S. journals.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Cuban academy said: "Only the free flow of ideas and knowledge between scientists and academics of the whole world can advance science for the benefit of all humanity."

The Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control said last September that U.S. editing of or collaboration on manuscripts from countries subject to major U.S. sanctions were prohibited. The actual publication of a "camera-ready" paper without changes would be permitted, it said.

On Tuesday, a Treasury official said while the government wanted to promote free speech, laws prohibiting trade with countries deemed hostile were in place to protect the security of the American people and help promote democracy abroad.

The Cuban academy also protested renewed restrictions on travel by Cuban and American researchers.

The Bush administration, which has toughened enforcement of a four-decade-old trade embargo on Cuba's Communist government, has denied visas to Cuban scientists and eliminated licenses for cultural exchange visits to Cuba by Americans.

The Office of Foreign Assets Control, which enforces the ban on travel to Cuba, recently denied licenses to a group of 70 American doctors and researchers who planned to attend an international conference in Cuba on coma and death this week.

The U.S. agency "determined that the applicants had not provided sufficient information to qualify for the licenses," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said.

The Cuban Academy of Sciences said the restrictions were aimed at winning the votes of Cuban exiles in Florida, a crucial state in President Bush's November re-election bid.

"Once again, the Bush government has stepped up its anti-Cuban policy in an effort to please right-wing Cuban-Americans in South Florida in an election year," the academy said.

Since 1962, Washington has maintained a trade embargo on Cuba aimed at ousting Cuban leader Fidel Castro. But food sales are allowed following an easing of sanctions in 2000.

© Copyright 2004 Reuters Ltd


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