Embassy stonewalls in case of Tico’s canceled U.S. visa

A.M. Costa Rica/Andrew Rulseh Kasper Óscar Mora displays tickets and hotel reservations that he obtained for his planned trip to the United States in February.

U.S. government employees at the Pavas embassy have declined to explain why a vice consul summarily canceled a Costa Rican’s visa and left him without a way to complete a business trip to Florida.

This is the case of Oscar Mora Morales, 50, of Guanacaste that was reported in the Friday newspaper.

A reporter attempted without success to get the U.S. embassy’s side of the story Thursday. Friday a spokesman said there would be no comment.

Usually the embassy workers cite the U.S. Privacy Act for declining to comment. Even though the privacy act does not cover non-U.S. citizens, Mora had signed a release permiting a reporter to obtain information from the embassy about the case.

Mora was at the embassy getting a passport for his U.S-born daughter when he said he became frustrated by the questions being asked by a Costa Rican interviewer. One question was if he paid the hospital where the girl was born 13 years ago.

The daughter is a U. S. citizen who was born in Florida while the family was legally visiting the country. Mora said the entire family, including his wife and son, who is also a U.S. citizen by birth, were planning a trip to Miami in February. The daughter needed the passport to travel.

Still unclear is why the embassy staff was asking such questions. Mora said he had no trouble getting a passport for his son, in an earlier visit.

The Costa Rican interviewer brought a female vice consul into the session, and it was she who stamped the word cancelled without prejudice on Mora’s visa. According to the Web site of the U.S. State Department that phrase is defined as “a stamp an embassy or consulate puts on a visa when there is a mistake in the visa or the visa is a duplicate visa (two of the same kind). It does not affect the validity of other visas in the passport. It does not mean that the passport holder will not get another visa.“

Among other points, a reporter was trying to obtain information to reconcile the apparent punitive action of the vice consult with the official summary from Washington.

The irony is that Mora said he only brought his own Costa Rican passport to serve as formal identification as he attempted to get the daughter’s passport. He returned the next day from Guanacaste to finally obtain the girl’s passport.

Mora’s wife accompanied him to the embassy, but the vice consul did not cancel her U.S. passport. Mora, is a Guanacaste businessman who has visited the United States frequently to purchase electronic goods.

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