British Government refuses visa for René González

Late on Monday 3 March, just a few hours before he was due to fly from Havana to London, René González, was refused a visa to enter in the UK.

René González is the principal witnesses for the International Commission of Inquiry into the case of the Cuban Five which takes place at the Law Society in London on 7 and 8 March.

In its letter of refusal, the UK Immigration and Visa Office states that it is due to point 320 (2b) of UK immigration law, which says entry can be denied to a person who has been sentenced to more than four years in prison. Although, dispensation can be granted in exceptional circumstances, the UK government states that it does not consider Mr González’s attendance at the International Commission to be reason enough to justify this or “outweighed by the public interest in maintaining a refusal.”

Rob Miller, director of the Cuba Solidarity Campaign, one of the organisers of the Commission said this morning:
“ We are deeply disappointed and surprised by the decision to refuse a visa to René González.
"The British government has the opportunity to show discretion on visa applications in circumstances like this but has chosen not to do so with regards to René González's application. In the context of the already highly politicised case of the Miami Five, such a decision can only be interpreted as a political one. 
"We have taken legal advice and will be appealing this decision including seeking an urgent Judicial Review if necessary"