Mariela Castro granted permission to visit Philly for Equality Forum

Mariela Castro Mariela Castro. (Credit: Equality Forum)

The U.S. Department of State has lifted its travel ban and granted a visa for Cuban LGBT rights activist Mariela Castro to visit Philadelphia for this year’s Equality Forum, the organization announced Tuesday.

Castro is director of the Cuban National Center for Sex Education, which provides education about AIDS prevention and advocates for LGBT rights in Cuba.

She’s also the daughter of Cuban President Raul Castro and the niece of former President Fidel Castro.

The federal government previously denied Castro a visa to attend the global LGBT civil rights summit for unspecified reasons.

“Equality Forum is delighted that the State Department has affirmed democratic values by authorizing Mariela Castro to speak at Equality Forum 2013,” executive director Malcolm Lazin said in a statement.

“Equality Forum 2013 is an open forum which will include a discussion of the history, progress and challenges of LGBT Cubans.”

Cuba is this year’s featured nation at the 2013 Equality Forum, a series of discussions, lectures and parties held in Philadelphia from May 1 through May 5.

Castro is scheduled to sit on the “Cuba: Featured Nation” panel and will receive the International Ally for LGBT Equality Award at the International Equality Dinner.

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