More than 20 students from the Boston area have applied to travel to Cuba next summer as guests of the Cuban Federation of University Students.
Marty Nicolaus a Brandeis graduate student who is acting as New England representative for the Student Committee for Travel to Cuba (S.C.T.C.), declined to give the specific number of requests received from Harvard. "The group is growing dally," he commented, "but I'd rather keep it anonymous for the time being."
Hope for 500
Operating all ever the United States, the S.C.T.C. can accept up to 500 applicants. While generally doubtful that the final group will be that big. Nicolaus voiced confidence that this summer's trip would be considerably larger than the 59 who visited Cuba last July. Probably recruitment this year will benefit from the publicity received by the previous group.
The purposes of the trip are twofold, according to newsletter issued by the S.C.T.C. "The first is to give young Americans an opportunity to see Cuba, meet its people, and draw their own conclusions. The second is to continue the fight against the State Department's Travel Ban policy."
"The trip is open to any young Americans eltisen," the letter goes on. "We are anxious to see that the places are fairly distributed across the country and include a sizable representation of Afro-Americans and Puerto Ricans."
No Political Criteria
Nicolaus emphasized that there were no political criteria for choosing among the applicants. "We welcome students of any political philosophy," he said. "We are particularly anxious to have some staunch conservatives come along.
"Interest in the travel venture has not been limited to students." Nicolaus pointed out. "We have received the informal support of a number of civil rights groups as well as the more formal backing of several church organization who have asked members of the S.C.T.C. to address them."
Campaigns similar to the one Nicolaus is conducting in Boston are being carried out on a number of campuses around the United States. Ordinarily S.C.T.C. representatives (usually students from last summer's trip) place en.all ads in college newspapers and sponsor meetings of interested people. A particularly industrious group on the West Coast elected a "Nico Travel 1963" and paraded her through downtown San Francisco in the back of a convertible.
The cases of three students indicted for illegal entry into the United States as a result of the last trip are still pending in a New York court. The feeling in, however, that the students' chances are considerably improved since a Federal Court of Appeals ruled three weeks ago in favor of William Worthr, a journalist who visited Cuba in 1961, on a similar charge. All 50 of the students from the last trip have had their passports declared technically void, but as none of them has attempted to leave the country the State Department action has not yet been tested.