From Shining to the Cuban
Byline: LIZ KENNEDY
ONE of the top Belfast Festival artistes, Cuban music star Ibrahim Ferrer, was refused entry to the US this February.
Ferrer is appearing in a sold-out show at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast tonight, but the Buena Vista Social Club member and Grammy Award winner did not get an American visa to travel to Los Angeles from Cuba for the 2004 Grammy Award ceremony. The musician who is now in his late 70s told Havana press: "I am not a terrorist, I couldn't be one. I am a musician.''
US diplomats said that American administration could suspend the entry of people deemed to be ''detrimental to the interest of the United States.''
Economic and travel sanctions have been imposed on Cuba by the US for four decades, with President Bush strengthening US policies against the country and limiting cultural exchanges.
Cuban vice-culture minister Abel Acosta deplored the decision at the time: "Something as noble as music is being converted into a policy against Cuba.''
Traditional musicians have previously encountered visa problems for American tours and in September Yusuf Islam, the artist-formerly-known-as-Cat Stevens was turned back to London on a diverted US flight. …