Britain’s Guardian newspaper reports that a Nicaraguan historian has been denied entry into the United States. Dora Maria Tellez was a leader of the Sandinista revolution that overthrew the U.S.-backed Samoza dictatorship in 1979. Later she became a historian and was due to take up a post at Harvard until she was denied a visa on the grounds that she once engaged in “terroist acts.”
No one disputes the fact that Telllez was a guerilla who led a major hostage incident, and later led troops in the military phase of the revolution. The Guardian quotes another former Sandinista as saying “Dora Maria is an outstanding woman who fought against a dictatorship. If fighting against tyranny is ‘terrorism’ how does the United States justify the invasion of Iraq? It is an insult.”
Some observers have pointed out the irony of this happening at the same time that John Negroponte is becoming intellegence chief since Negroponte was closely involved in the secret (and at the time illegal) support of the Contras fighting the Sandinista government.
This is the second high-profile foreign academic (that I know of, maybe there are others?) that our fair government has prevented from taking a job in the U.S. based on alleged ties to terroists. Previously Tariq Ramadan was denied a visa and had to give up his position in classics and peace studies at Notre Dame University. The government would not reveal publicly its evidence against Ramadan.