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Icaic has not told Lester Hamlet that he cannot return to Cuba

icaic-580x389On August 24, Cuban filmmaker Lester Hamlet published a post on his Facebook profile in which he declared that he had received a call from Icaic to inform him that he could not return to Cuba for the next five years as a result of a sanction for having exceeded in your travel time.

Hamlet’s words quickly spread through social networks.
To clarify this issue, Cubacine spoke with Tania Delgado, vice president of Icaic, who is responsible for the Institute’s international relations.

Cubacine: Is it true that the ICAIC contacted Lester Hamlet to discuss questions about his stay abroad? Why?

Tania Delgado: It is true that the Icaic Protocol area contacted him, but not exactly because of his travel time, but rather because he traveled with an official passport requested from Icaic.

The use of the official passport is authorized for missions abroad that the institutions assume as their own. This document, unlike the current passport, is only valid within the dates for which it is requested.

Upon returning to Cuba, the bearer must deliver the official passport to the institution, as it is not a personal document.

As more than a month had elapsed from the scheduled date for Lester’s return to the country, the head of the Icaic Protocol area, forced to inquire about the official passport, contacted him in writing using WhatsApp messaging to find out if he was already in our country and request the return of the official passport.

Cubacine: Why did Lester Hamlet leave the country with an official passport?

Tania Delgado: Lester traveled to Mexico with an official passport to participate in the La Isla Residencia Community Project in the state of Quintana Roo.

There he would screen a series of his films and give a script workshop. It is normal practice for ICAIC to support filmmakers in projects or events that are of interest to Cuban cinematography.

Cubacine: Is it true that you were informed that he was sanctioned for exceeding the time of use of the official passport?

Tania Delgado: No. In the exchange of WhatsApp messages between Lester and the Icaic official, the latter asked him if he was already in the country. Lester asked to call him by phone and in the telephone communication, he informed the official that he had not yet returned to Cuba and that his decision was not to do so.

The Icaic official replied that this was a personal decision, but that he had traveled with the official passport and that it should be returned to the institution.

Subsequently, Lester asked if it was true that due to his decision not to return, he could be subject to a sanction of limitation of entry to the country.

At no time was this an idea enunciated by the Icaic official, nor was the reason for the conversation to inform him of any sanction.

Cubacine: Can Icaic withdraw a Cuban filmmaker’s right to enter the country?

Tania Delgado: No. The Icaic is not empowered to take a measure of this nature. As the Minister of Culture and the president of Icaic stated on their Twitter accounts, he can return to the country whenever he wishes.

Cubacine: What is your opinion of this situation?

Tania Delgado: It is painful to say the least that a filmmaker with the career of Lester Hamlet blames Icaic for forcing him to make the decision to stay out of Cuba when it is strictly personal.

(Taken from the Icaic Facebook Profile)

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