Read this news report and you decide if the US Visa rules and its Homeland Security are not drifting slowly towards a new insidious form of McCarthyism? This nation that once gave the world great American writers like Kerouac and Hemingway who both influenced writers across the globe including me is now a prisoner to its own paranoia…very sad. I wonder what the Marx Brothers would have to say about this?
Everything seemed set for the American debut last month of Pitingo, the rising young flamenco singing star: the Grand Ballroom at Manhattan Center had been booked, tickets and program prepared, a publicity budget spent, nonrefundable airline tickets purchased. But when he went to the United States Embassy in Madrid to pick up his visa, he learned that his name was on the “no fly” list.
The case of Mr. Álvarez is not an isolated one. In the decade since the attacks on the twin towers, American visa procedures for foreign artists and performers have grown increasingly labyrinthine, expensive and arbitrary, arts presenters and immigration lawyers say, making the system a serious impediment to cultural exchanges with the rest of the world.
Some foreign performers and ensembles, like the Hallé orchestra from Britain, have decided that it is no longer worth their while to play in the United States. Others have been turned down flat, including a pair of bands invited to perform at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Tex., last month, or have ended up canceling performances because of processing delays, as was the case last month with the Tantehorse theater troupe from the Czech Republic, which was booked to perform in suburban Washington