Chile said Tuesday it was recalling its ambassador to Cuba for consultation and speaking to the Cuban government to establish why a prominent former minister was blocked from entering Cuba on Monday night.
Mariana Aylwin, a former education minister and daughter of ex-president Patricio Aylwin, was travelling to the island to receive a prize on behalf of her father. The event, planned for Wednesday, was organised by the Latin American Network of Youth for Democracy, which has been critical of the Cuban government.
The organisation has also invited Luis Almagro, the head of the Organization of American States, which suspended Cuba in 1962 for being Communist.
While the Washington-based OAS agreed in 2009 to lift the Cold War ruling, Cuba declined to rejoin the group, which it deems an imperialist instrument of its former Cold War foe the United States.
Aylwin was prevented from checking in to her flight in Chile’s capital, Santiago, apparently at the request of the Cuban authorities, she told journalists on Tuesday.
“Exercising the right (to travel between nations) should not be interfered with, especially given that Chile has recognised the feats of various figures in Cuban history and politics,” Chile’s Foreign Relations Ministry said in a statement.
Mariana Aylwin served in Congress in the 1990s for Chile’s centrist Christian Democratic Party, and later as minister in the 2000s under centre-left president Ricardo Lagos, who is running for president in Chile’s 2017 elections.
She is seen as an ideological leader of the most conservative segment of Chile’s centre-left ruling coalition.
Her father was Chile’s first democratically elected president after the 1973 to 1990 dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, and is credited with successfully overseeing the nation’s fragile political transition.