Waskar Ari: Appeal for Bolivian historian denied visa in USA

Historians in the News

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) reports that Waskar Ari, an indigenous historian from Bolivia, was denied a visa to teach in the United States.



20 March 2006

Case number: bo0603_ari

ISSUES: Academic and scientific freedom; Right to travel

**Visit the AAASHRAN website (http://shr.aaas.org/aaashran) to read this alert online and compose letters of appeal.


An indigenous Bolivian scholar hired by the University of Nebraska at
Lincoln has been unable to take up his post because the US federal
government has withheld his visa. The State Department has given no
reasoning behind the delay.

Last year, the University of Nebraska Department of History and
Institute for Ethnic Studies hired Dr. Waskar Ari, a promising
indigenous scholar from Bolivia, to teach Latin American
History/Studies. Dr. Ari is the first Aymara person to receive a PhD
from a US University (Georgetown) and get a job at a major US
research institution. Unfortunately, the US government has refused to
grant Dr. Ari a visa to go to Nebraska and teach. His job was to have
begun last August.

Dr. Ari, a member of the Aymara people of Bolivia, is a scholar of
the religious beliefs and political activism among indigenous
Bolivians. He has served as a consultant on social and economic
issues facing the Aymara with the World Bank, the Inter-American
Development Bank, and other organizations. In a letter to Secretary
of State Condoleezza Rice, the American Historical Association wrote,
"We recognize that there may be individuals who pose a genuine
security risk... However, in Dr. Ari's case, we feel there are no
perceptible grounds for such treatment. Within the Aymara community
of Bolivia, he is widely recognized as a voice of moderation" (the
full letter and press release can be read at

Last December, Bolivia elected its first indigenous president, Evo
Morales, a leftist who has opposed US-backed efforts to eradicate the
cultivation of the coca plant. Coca is the main ingredient in
cocaine. Mr. Morales is also an Aymara.

In a similar case, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit
last month challenging a provision of the USA Patriot Act that was
used to deny a visa to Tariq Ramadan, a prominent Swiss Muslim
scholar, despite his being appointed to a tenured professorship at
the University of Notre Dame in 2004. In the lawsuit, the ACLU said
the government was using the provision broadly to exclude from the
United States people whose views it disfavors.

(Sources of information for this case include: Personal Correspondence from Dr. Patrick Jones, Professor of History at the University of Nebraska, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and The
Journal Star.)


International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
**Article 12(2): Everyone shall be free to leave any country, including his own.

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
**Article 12(2): Everyone shall be free to leave any country, including his own.
**Article 15 (3): The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to respect the freedom indispensable for scientific research and creative activity.
**Article 15 (4): The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the benefits to be derived from the encouragement and development of international contacts and co-operation in the scientific and cultural fields.


Please send faxes, letters, or emails:

**Requesting that Dr. Waskar Ari's visa be granted so that he can begin at his post at the University of Nebraska; and
**Expressing your concern that the seeming arbitrary denials of visas for scholars appears to support arguments that the United States
government is using visa denials or delaying the visa process to exclude people whose views it disfavors.


Secretary Condoleezza Rice
**Secretary of State
**Department of State 2201 C Street , NW Washington DC 20520
**Fax: (202) 647-4000 (TEL)
**Email: secretary@state.gov
**Salutation: Dear Madame Secretary

Mr. Thomas A. Shannon, Jr.
**Assistant Secretary
**Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs Department of State, Room 6262
2201 C St. NW Washington, D.C. 20520
**Salutation: Dear Mr. Assistant Secretary

Mr. Michael Chertoff
**Secretary of Homeland Security
**Department of Homeland Security Washington, D.C. 20528
**Fax: 202-282-8000
**Salutation: Dear Mr. Secretary

Ms. Maura Harty
**Assistant Secretary
**Bureau of Consular Affairs Department of State, Room 6811 2201 C
St. NW Washington, D.C. 20520
**Salutation: Dear Ms. Assistant Secretary

Dr. Patrick Jones
**University of Nebraska-Lincoln 612 Oldfather Hall Lincoln, Nebraska
**Fax: (402) 472-8839
**Email: pjones2@unl.edu

Dr. James Garza
**University of Nebraska-Lincoln 639 Oldfather Hall Lincoln, Nebraska
**Email: jgarza2@unlnotes.unl.edu

Please send copies of your appeals, and any responses you may
receive, or direct any questions you may have to Sarah Olmstead, AAAS
Science and Human Rights Program, 1200 New York Ave, NW, Washington,
DC 20005; tel. 202-326-6787; email shrp@aaas.org; or fax 202-289-

The keys to effective appeals are to be courteous and respectful,
accurate and precise, impartial in approach, and as specific as
possible regarding the alleged violation and the international human
rights standards and instruments that apply to the situation.
Reference to your scientific organization and professional
affiliation is always helpful.

To ensure that appeals are current and credible, please do not
continue to write appeals on this case after 90 days from the date of
the posting unless an update has been issued.

Read entire article at Press Release -- Network of Concerned Historians (NCH)