Cuba reportedly denied entry into the country to one of Mexico’s ex-presidents and a former Chilean minister to attend an award ceremony hosted by a political group opposing the Cuban socialist government.
Former Mexican President Felipe Calderon tweeted Tuesday that Cuban immigration prevented him from boarding a flight from Mexico City to Havana to attend an event planned for Wednesday that was organized by the Latin American Network of Youth for Democracy, a group opposed to the Cuban government.
Calderon, from Mexico’s right-wing National Action Party, was president from 2006 to 2012 and he was responsible for the country’s war on drugs with the help of the United States, a war that social movements and human rights groups have accused of being one of the deadliest and bloodiest in the country’s history.
In an interview in 2014, Calderon admitted that abuses were carried out under his watch and that 60,000 to 70,000 dead represented a lot of casualties in his war on drugs. Human rights groups said that torture was widespread and that many of those dead were in fact civilians who had nothing to do with drugs.
Mariana Aylwin, a former Chilean education minister was also blocked from entering Cuba Monday night, according to the Chilean government. She is the daughter of Patricio Aylwin, Chile’s first elected president after the end of the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.
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Mariana Aylwin is seen as an ideological leader of the most conservative segment of Chile’s center-left ruling coalition. Aylwin was traveling to the island to receive a prize on behalf of her father.
The group, known as JuventudLAC, has also invited Luis Almagro, the head of the Organization of American States or OAS, which suspended Cuba in 1962 at the behest of the U.S.
The OAS, under pressure from left-leaning governments in Latin America, agreed to lift the ruling in 2009, but Cuba declined to rejoin the Washington-based group, saying the damage had been done and that the organization continues to be under the influence of the U.S.
Cuba has not made any comments regarding the claims by Calderon and Aylwin. Meanwhile, the governments of Chile and Mexico issued statements condemning the move to block their former officials from entering Cuba.