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US State Dept. Relents, Will Allow M. Castro To Visit Philadelphia From Cuba

(Mariela Castro, in Feburary 2013.  Credit: Adalberto Roque/ AFP/ Getty Images)

(Mariela Castro, in Feburary 2013. Credit: Adalberto Roque/ AFP/ Getty Images)

John McDevitt John McDevitt
John McDevitt has been a reporter and editor at KYW Newsradio 1060...
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By John McDevitt

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The US State Department has reportedly reversed itself and will now be allowing the daughter of Cuba’s president to come to Philadelphia this weekend for a civil rights conference.

It was announced last week that the State Department would not allow Mariela Castro, daughter of Raul Castro and niece of Fidel, to travel from New York  to Philadelphia for Equality Forum’s international LGBT civil rights summit.

No reason was given.

Malcolm Lazin, executive director of the Philadelphia-based Equality Forum, says her travel restrictions have now been lifted.

“I think it’s keeping with our democratic values — particularly the opportunity of free speech and assembly — that hopefully was the reason (the appeal) prevailed,” he told KYW Newsradio this morning.  “And, you know, it may also an indicator that there is a warming of prior tensions between Cuba and the United States.”

This coming Saturday, Mariela Castro is scheduled to participate in a panel discussion on the group’s featured nation, Cuba.  At a dinner, she will also be getting an award for her activism for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights.

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