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World Youth Day visa trouble for Latin American youth

Latin American young people hoping to attend World Youth Day in Toronto in July are facing a seemingly insurmountable roadblock: their inability to obtain a visa to enter Canada.

Catholic World News reports that citizens of most Latin American nations need a visas to visit Canada, and in almost all countries, Canadian embassies and consulates are denying visas to the youth who hope to see Pope John Paul II in Toronto. Many of them have made great sacrifices to take the trip, and are now seeing their plans frustrated.

The Ecuadorian bishops' conference has reported that almost 60% of the requests for visas have been turned away by the Canadian embassy in Quito and its consulate in Guayaquil.

According to the bishops' World Youth Day commission, Canadian diplomats have given three reasons for denying visas: "general lack of economic means," "lack of economic resources to cover travel expenses," and "lack of a travelling record".

"What kind of travelling record can young boys and girls have in Ecuador?" asked Manuel Sarria, a youth minister who planned to lead a group of Ecuadorian youngsters from Guayaquil. "Many of these kids have made tremendous efforts to pay their trip to Toronto, and none of them are trying to hide the fact that they are not wealthy; all they want is to see the Pope!"

World Youth Day 2002


24 Jun 2002