Guatemalan Band Might Miss Rose Parade Due to Visa Problem

The 320-member band's plight marks a first for the parade

A band from Guatemala has been unable to get visas to participate in the New Year's Day Rose Parade in Pasadena.

The Tournament of Roses' music committee chairman, Richard DeJesu, said there's no word on why visas were denied for the 320-member Latin band Instituto Pedro Molina. Visa case records are confidential and information can only be provided to applicants and their legal representatives, according to the Department of State.

DeJesu told KPCC that he has never encountered such a situation in his 25 years with the parade organization.

"This has not happened before," DeJesu told KPCC. "We've had other bands have logistical challenges and travel challenges, sometimes due to weather. But this is the first time we've had a band not be able to come due to a visa issue."

The Tournament said in a statement Tuesday that it is working with elected officials and the U.S. Embassy to assist the band in securing travel documents.

But DeJesu said it doesn't appear the band will get necessary documents in time. If they can't, it's unlikely another band would be substituted on such short notice.

The band appeared in the Rose Parade five years ago. Members, most are high school-age, also performed in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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