Visa snafu forces Spanish singer to cancel US concert
Spanish singer Pitingo was forced to cancel his planned US debut in New York last month when he was denied a visa because he shares his real name with someone on the Department of Homeland Security's no-fly list
The New York Times revealed the situation in a story in which it denounced the difficulties foreign artists have in travelling to the US.
Pitingo was scheduled to bring his flamenco fusion to New York for a March 9 performance in the Grand Ballroom at Manhattan Center. Three days before that, with tickets already sold, his publicist announced the cancellation of the concert due to problems with the visa.
The Times explained that when the artist went to pick up his visa at the US consulate in Madrid, he was told that his name was on the no-fly list.
Pitingo's real name, Antonio Manuel Alvarez Velez, is the same as that of another person included on that list and the time it took to clear up the confusion made it impossible for the singer to travel to New York on time and he had to cancel the concert, the newspaper said.
The daily said the cancellation resulted in losses of about $25,000 for the promoters of the concert and added that Pitingo's case was one of the many that have affected artists all over the world since the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
"American visa procedures for foreign artists and performers have grown increasingly labyrinthine, expensive and arbitrary, arts presenters and immigration lawyers say, making the system a serious impediment to cultural exchanges with the rest of the world," according to the article.