State Department Denies Cuban Diplomats' Visa Request To Attend Marxist Panel In New York

03/24/2012 11:49 am ET | Updated Mar 24, 2012

WASHINGTON -- The State Department says it has rejected applications from two senior Cuban diplomats to travel to New York to take part in a panel discussion sponsored by a Marxist group, but not for political reasons.

Rather, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland says they were denied because American diplomats in Havana are routinely refused permission to travel outside the Cuban capital.

The two diplomats from Cuba's interest section in Washington had asked to go to New York from March 16-18 to appear on a panel about Cuba sponsored by the magazine Marxism-Leninism Today. The magazine had accused the government of trying to deny American citizens the freedom to hear Cuba's point of view.