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Salsa star once blacklisted by U.S.

Documents show that the ban was lifted after Celia Cruz worked for anti-Castro causes.

September 24, 2004|From Associated Press

MIAMI — Salsa queen Celia Cruz was removed from a U.S. list of suspected communists in 1965 after she performed and raised money for groups trying to overthrow Cuban President Fidel Castro, according to newly released immigration documents.

U.S. officials suspected in the 1950s that Cruz, who died last year of a brain tumor, supported Castro's communist government. She was refused a visa at least twice starting in 1952 because U.S. law at the time forbade entry to foreigners affiliated with communists.

Documents obtained by the Miami Herald for a story Thursday show she was granted permission to stay permanently in the United States in 1965.

"The record indicates that in July 1960 she fled as a defector from the Communist regime of Cuba," according to an Oct. 28, 1965, immigration service memorandum. "Since that time she has actively cooperated with anti-Communist, anti-Castro organizations through artistic performances and by campaigning for funds for those organizations."

The same memo said, "She has presented statements from a number of responsible persons attesting to her active opposition to Communism for at least the past five years."

Cruz kept her blacklisting a secret, and her husband, trumpeter Pedro Knight, has said she never mentioned it to him.

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