Dying Woman's Son Said Denied Visa

Wednesday, September 27th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

ROCKVILLE CENTRE, N.Y. (AP) — A 70-year-old cancer patient who last saw her son when she left him in Cuba in 1968 wants to see him again before she dies, but her family says immigration officials won't let him into the United States.

The family has enlisted three members of Congress to write letters asking immigration officials to reverse their decision to deny Jorge Febles Sanchez a visa.

Bersabe Febles almost died Tuesday in a Long Island hospital, the relatives said.

''(The U.S. government) won't allow him to come and see this wonderful person, who is losing her life,'' 46-year-old daughter Ibis Pozo told Newsday. ``All I want is for him to come and see her. Is that asking too much?''

The relatives, all U.S. citizens, said Sanchez, now 48, has his own family in Cuba and would have tried to move to the United States long ago if he wanted.

The Febles family was separated in 1968 when fleeing Cuba for the United States. Sanchez, then 15, was left behind with hopes that a bribe to a government official would allow him to come a few days later, but the official disappeared, and the son was stranded.

U.S. immigration officials declined to discuss specifics of the case publicly, Newsday reported Wednesday. One official noted that in general, even applicants seeking visas for humanitarian reasons must show strong economic and social ties to their home countries. The family said Sanchez can't do that because Cuba's Communist government owns virtually everything on the island.

Sanchez applied for a visa for a temporary U.S. visit through a Havana office on Aug. 14, but he was rejected and told he could apply again in a year.

Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer and Republican Reps. Rick Lazio and Peter King have sent letters to the U.S. Interests Section in Havana on Sanchez's behalf.

The Cuban government would be unlikely to block a trip if Sanchez won a visa, the family said.