March 16, 2006

US Blocks Indigenous Bolivian Scholar From Entry

Democracy Now
Feb 22
In education news, the U.S. government is blocking an indigenous Bolivian professor from entering the country to teach at the University of Nebraska for what it’s calling security reasons. The professor, Waskar Ari Chachaki, is a member of the Aymara indigenous people in Bolivia and is a leading authority on religious beliefs and political activism in Bolivia. The American Historical Society has called on the U.S. government to reconsider. The group’s president-elect Barbara Weinstein called the situation "very disturbing." Weinstein said “It would have to be unimaginable circumstances for someone from Bolivia to be classified as a security risk.” A State Department official told the Chronicle of Higher Education that the government has “derogatory information “ about Ari that renders him ineligible for the visa. But the government has not shared that information with Ari or the university. Ari is considered to be a moderate voice within the Aymaran community and some of his critics have accused of being too “pro-U.S.” He received his doctorate from Georgetown. Two years ago, another foreign-born professor, Tariq Ramadan, one of the leading Muslim scholars in Europe, was denied a visa to teach at the University of Notre Dame.
[Waskar was a guest on Democracy Now this morning - to be posted later on today]


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