Archive for Monday, July 24, 2006

Professor wants to re-enter U.S. classroom

July 24, 2006


— Bolivian historian and political scientist Waskar Ari, an Aymara Indian with a doctorate in history from Georgetown University, was offered a tenure-track post at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln teaching Latin American history more than a year ago.

But Ari has yet to obtain a U.S. visa. He hears rumors that he has been accused of "terrorist" connections, although no one has told him anything directly.

Representatives of the U.S. Embassy here declined to comment on the matter, citing privacy concerns.

But Ari's lawyer speculated that his client had been linked, unfairly, to the U.S.-bashing indigenous movement associated with Evo Morales, Bolivia's first Indian president and a critic of Washington, D.C.

Ari's case has become somewhat of a cause celebre in U.S. academic circles, prompting a letter-writing campaign to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and condemnations of the visa delay as an assault on scholarly freedom.

Ari's lawyer, Michael Maggio, says his client's visa has been held up - and his student visa canceled - on hazy national security grounds, an increasingly common occurrence since the Sept. 11 attacks. Ari is among hundreds, perhaps thousands, of foreign intellectuals, businesspeople and other people languishing in visa limbo.


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