I recently found out that my Mayan language teacher and friend
from Quintana Roo was refused a visa to the US (by the consul in
Merida, Yucatan) to assist in teaching the
Mayan summer course at North Carolina, despite official university
letters, guarantees of his meals and housing, and purchase of his
return ticket by persons from the US. The official reason was that
he doesn't own land. (He is an ejiditario so he has no "title" to
land). He is also young, single, and poor.
We are holding the North American Farming Systems Symposium here in
Iowa on Nov. 5-8 and have invited a couple of Mexican farmers and
the scientists that they work with to attend, expenses paid, to help
make this a truly "North American" conference.
Since the farmers we want to bring in November are also "landless"
by the US government's definition, we have become very concerned
about whether the farmers will be allowed into the US. The Mexican
researchers have come previously, so we assume they will have no
problem, although I'm not sure that they own land either.
I think this may become a regular concern in the future, as we who
work in international agriculture have recently recognized that we
can learn a lot from the farmers' actual experiences from their own
Please advise us what to do or forward this note to someone
who can help us.
Thank you sincerely,