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U.S. DENIES VISA TO CUBAN TO ATTEND SON'S FUNERAL

The United States has denied a visa to a Cuban hoping to attend the funeral of her son, killed in a plane crash last week while fleeing Cuba, a congresswoman said Thursday.

Aleida Martinez Paredes was denied a visa Monday because U.S. officials feared she would not want to return home, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said.

Paredes' son, Yudel Puig, 23, died after the vintage crop-duster ran out of fuel and was ditched in the Gulf of Mexico. Nine survivors, including Puig's brother, were picked up by a cargo ship, brought to Key West for medical treatment and eventually granted parole.

Yudel Puig's body also was brought to Florida. Paredes received a passport from the Cuban government but was denied a visa by the U.S. State Department, Ros-Lehtinen said.

"We consider that absolutely ludicrous," said Ros-Lehtinen, a Miami Republican. "She has other relatives in Cuba, and she has strong family ties, including a 10-year-old son and a 1-year-old grandson, that will render her to go back."

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