Cuba

2010


Blog   |   Cuba

Unexpected departure: From jail to exile

Saludes in Spain. It was about 4 in the afternoon on July 8 when the official assigned to me at Toledo Prison, where I'd been locked up for nearly five years, came running to get me. He was in such a hurry that that he tripped and almost fell to the ground. "Saludes, we're going upstairs," he said, breathless and sweating. He didn't give me any more details, but I soon found out that he was taking me up to the director's office where State Security was waiting for me. "They've come to talk to me," I told myself. And they had.

At the chief's desk sat an agent of the political police. I didn't recognize his face, but he had the same harshness and arrogance as all members of that repressive body. As soon as I entered the office, the agent signaled me silently to pick up the telephone receiver lying unhooked on the desk.   

December 28, 2010 10:00 AM ET

Tags:

Blog   |   Cuba

Being a Cuban journalist: Harassed, repressed, and jailed

In Pinar del Río, where the author lived, worked, and went to jail for reporting on the failings of the Cuban regime. (AP/Javier Galeano) The president of the tribunal looked to his right and said, "The prosecutor has the floor." With a serious voice he pronounced the sentence: "The prosecutor ratifies the request for perpetual imprisonment for the accused, Victor Rolando Arroyo Carmona, for acts against the independence and territorial integrity of the country."
December 14, 2010 9:50 AM ET

Tags:

Blog   |   Cuba

Finding freedom in a Cuban cell

Freed Cuban journalist Ricardo González Alfonso, center, speaks in front of the Subcommittee on Human Rights at the European Parliament in Brussels on September 13. (AFP) There exists a sensual, amorous liaison, almost felt and seen, that binds poetry, journalism, and freedom together. Examples of such affairs abound, their protagonists transcending short-lived fame and bursting into history and onto the pages of encyclopedias. They are the greats, the masters, those worthy of veneration. But intellectual stature is not always required of the protagonists of such liaisons. Sometimes history, written with a lowercase "h," concedes us the privilege of participating in those passions of ink and paper, as they say, of flesh and blood. The paths are varied. In fact, paradoxically, prison can lead to freedom.

November 16, 2010 9:30 AM ET

Tags:

Blog   |   Cuba, Spain

Cuban deadline passes for dissident releases: What next?

A woman in Havana holds a sign that reads: "My support will be eternal for freedom and justice" at a weekly march by members of the Cuban dissident group Ladies in White. (AP)

Sunday marked the end of the four-month deadline Cuban President Raúl Castro had agreed to with representatives of the Cuban Catholic Church and the Spanish government to free 52 prisoners of conscience who remained in jail since the March 2003 crackdown against dissidents, known as the "Black Spring." The Spanish foreign minister at the time, Miguel Angel Moratinos, said in Havana on July 8 that the move to release the prisoners "opens a new era in Cuba." But have things changed in the EU regarding Cuba? Not really. Has anything changed on the island? Not really. On Monday, at midnight, 13 of the 52 prisoners remained in jailed. 

Alerts   |   Cuba

Cuba frees 17th journalist jailed in Black Spring

New York, October 12, 2010--Cuban journalist Alfredo Felipe Fuentes, left, was freed from prison on Friday and exiled to Spain as part of a July agreement between the Havana government and the Catholic Church. Seventeen journalists jailed in the 2003 Black Spring crackdown have now been freed and exiled as part of the agreement. "I feel as if I was born again, trying to get used to cell phones, personal computers and emails, all things that were barely known in Cuba before I was jailed," Fuentes told CPJ in a telephone interview.

October 12, 2010 2:46 PM ET

Tags:

Alerts   |   Cuba

Cuban journalist released, exiled; 16 now free

New York, September 27, 2010--Imprisoned Cuban journalist Miguel Galván Gutierrez was released from jail and flown to Madrid on Saturday as part of a July agreement between the Havana government and the Catholic Church. Sixteen journalists jailed in the 2003 Black Spring crackdown have now been freed and exiled as part of the agreement.

September 27, 2010 2:51 PM ET

Tags:

Alerts   |   Cuba, Spain

2 Cuban reporters freed, arrive in Madrid; 13 now released

A well-wisher hugs freed Cuban journalist Juan Carlos Herrera Acosta upon his arrival at a hotel in Madrid today. (AP/Daniel Ochoa de Olza)New York, August 19, 2010--Formerly imprisoned Cuban journalists Fabio Prieto Llorente and Juan Carlos Herrera Acosta arrived in Spain today, bringing to 13 the number of imprisoned reporters who were freed this year as part of an agreement between the Cuban Catholic Church and the government of President Raúl Castro.

Alerts   |   Cuba

Tenth freed Cuban reporter lands in Madrid

AP

New York, July 22, 2010—Cuban journalist Alfredo Pulido López was released from jail and landed today in Madrid, bringing to 10 the number of imprisoned reporters freed and sent to Spain as part of an agreement between the Catholic Church and the Cuban government.

“I am extremely happy to regain my freedom, but I also feel sad for leaving my country,” Pulido López, left, told CPJ in a telephone interview. “I am committed to work on behalf of a transition to a more open society in Cuba. After seven years in prison, I sadly find that my country is still deprived of many fundamental rights.”

July 22, 2010 3:59 PM ET

Tags:

Alerts   |   Cuba

Ninth released Cuban journalist arrives in Spain

Bárzaga Lugo (EPA)

New York, July 15, 2010—Imprisoned Cuban journalist Mijail Bárzaga Lugo was released from jail and flown today to Madrid, where he joined a group of eight of his colleagues freed and brought to Spain this week as part of an extensive release by the Cuban government, according to international press reports.

Bárzaga Lugo, who was arrested in March 2003, arrived in Madrid with his family on an Air Europe flight around 2 p.m. local time, Agence France-Presse reported. On arrival, the journalist was taken to a hotel in Madrid’s neighborhood of Vallecas, where he joined six colleagues released and sent to Spain on Tuesday, and another two who were freed and exiled on Wednesday, the press reports said.

July 15, 2010 4:38 PM ET

Tags:

Blog   |   Cuba, Spain

In Cuban releases, difficult choices, moral dilemmas

Newly freed Cuban journalists and their families on a bus taking them from Madrid Barajas Airport. (AP/Victor R. Caivano) The Havana government has not explicitly demanded that political prisoners go into exile as a condition of release, but it’s clear that’s what Cuban authorities want. The first journalists and dissidents to be freed from jail were immediately whisked away to Spain, which, along with the Catholic Church, had negotiated for their freedom. That leaves political prisoners with a terrible dilemma: fly to Spain or stay in jail, at least for a while. Thus emerges a moral dimension when assessing news of up to 52 Cuban prisoners, including numerous journalists, being released in the coming weeks. Can a human being live happily in a land he or she never chose? Will they find in Spain, or in some other foreign country, the paradise of freedom they deserve?

July 14, 2010 1:35 PM ET

Tags:

Blog   |   Cuba, Spain

Photos of freedom: Cubans arrive in Spain

Our colleagues at ABC in Madrid covered the arrival in Spain of the newly freed Cuban journalists and dissidents. Photos in this slideshow are by ABC’s Jaime Garcia.

  |  


Alerts   |   Cuba

Newly freed, 6 Cuban journalists arrive in Spain

Newly freed political prisoners at a press conference in Madrid. (AP/Emilio Morenatti)

New York, July 13, 2010—Six Cuban journalists who spent more than seven years in prison for their independent reporting and commentary arrived in Spain today in the first wave of what is expected to be an extensive release of political prisoners by the Cuban government.

Blog   |   Cuba, Spain

Video: Formerly jailed Cuban journalists off to Spain

Reuters put together this video showing supporters waiting in the Cuban airport for the departure of six Cuban journalists for Spain today after their release from prison. Journalists were apparently kept at a distance, so there are no shots of the six here. But, interestingly, the Reuters reporter considers why Raul Castro may have chosen this moment to release 52 political prisoners, including the journalists.

July 13, 2010 10:45 AM ET

Tags:

Alerts   |   Cuba

Jailed Cuban journalists to be flown to Spain, reports say

The Ladies in White, wives and mothers of Cuban political prisoners, kneel outside a Havana church on Sunday. (AP/Javier Galeano)

New York, July 12, 2010—Imprisoned Cuban journalists are expected to be among a group of political prisoners to be released tonight and put on a flight to Spain, where they are due to arrive on Tuesday morning, according to international press reports and CPJ interviews. The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes news of their scheduled release and urged Cuban authorities today to free all journalists who remain in jail.

Blog   |   Cuba

In Cuban releases, victory came from failure

While the Cuban government remains silent over Antonio Villarreal, Léster González Pentón, Luis Milán, José Luis García Paneque, and Pablo Pacheco Ávila—the five imprisoned Cuban journalists and dissidents to be released soon—the media are filled with headlines declaring victory for many.

Blog   |   Cuba, Spain

Wife greets news of possible release in Cuba with shock

(Yamilé Llanes Labrada)José Luis García Paneque is one of five Cuban dissidents who will be released and sent to Spain, international news reports said today. A disillusioned plastic surgeon-turned-headstrong editor of an independent news agency, García Paneque, at left, has been jailed since March 2003. At 45, he leaves prison with a dismal array of illnesses.

July 8, 2010 6:05 PM ET

Tags:

Alerts   |   Cuba

Three journalists among first to be released in Cuba

New York, July 8, 2010—José Luis García PanequePablo Pacheco Ávila, and Lester Luis González Pentón, independent Cuban journalists imprisoned during the 2003 crackdown against the political opposition and the press, are among the five dissidents to be released soon and sent to Spain as part of an agreement between the government of President Raúl Castro and the Catholic Church, international press reports said today.

Blog   |   Cuba

Chronicles of deprivation: NYRB covers blogging in Cuba

Time Magazine named Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez one of the world’s 100 most influential people in 2008. (Reuters)

Take a look at this story in The New York Review of Books—it gets inside the challenges bloggers face as they are considered a “threat to the Cuban government’s international image,” and cites CPJ’s findings about imprisonment (Cuba has 22 journalists in jail, more than anywhere in the world except China and Iran). Read “Can the Internet Bring Change to Cuba?” here.

July 8, 2010 11:26 AM ET

Tags:

Alerts   |   Cuba

Church says Cuba will release political prisoners

Laura Pollán Toledo, wife of jailed journalist Héctor Maseda Gutiérrez. (AP/Franklin Reyes)

New York, July 7, 2010—The Catholic Church in Cuba said today that the government of President Raúl Castro has agreed to release dozens of political prisoners over the next several weeks, raising hopes that numerous imprisoned journalists could be freed. 

“If imprisoned journalists are freed, as suggested by the church’s announcement, it cannot come a moment too soon. These journalists and their families have experienced the anguish of unjustified imprisonment and cruel treatment,” said Carlos Lauría, CPJ’s senior program coordinator for the Americas. “We call on President Castro to release all jailed journalists and to allow freedom of expression for all Cuban citizens.”

Blog   |   Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, Nicaragua, Venezuela

CPJ testimony: Press freedom in the Americas

CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon testified today before the U.S. House of Representatives' Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, saying that while democracies are prevalent in Latin America, the press continues to operate with few institutional protections. This statement was submitted into the record on Monday.

Blog   |   Cuba, Internet, Vietnam, Vietnam

The malware lockdown in Havana and Hanoi

General purpose computers give journalists an incredible amount of power to create, research, and publish their work away from those who may wish to interfere. But such independence requires that the computer itself remain free and uncompromised by software that works against the journalist's own interests. 

June 8, 2010 6:07 PM ET

Tags:

Blog   |   Cuba

Freed Cuban journalist tells of his ‘dreadful experience’

Payolibre.com

When I asked Cuban journalist Oscar Sánchez Madan to describe in one sentence his three years in jail, he told me: “I don’t wish on anybody the dreadful experience I had in prison.” A municipal court in Unión de Reyes, province of Matanzas, freed him on Sunday after he completed a three-year prison term. Around 6 a.m., the journalist, at left, picked up his clothes and other personal belongings and left Combinado del Sur, a prison for common criminals in Matanzas, northern Cuba. He also took along with him the cruel memories of his time behind bars.
April 14, 2010 5:16 PM ET

Tags:

Case   |   Cuba

Oscar Sánchez Madan freed from jail in Cuba

In early 2007, freelancer Oscar Sánchez Madan was detained twice and warned to stop working for the independent press after he covered a local corruption scandal and social problems in western Matanzas province, where he lived. He was arrested in April 2007 and, after a one-day trial, Cuban authorities convicted him of “social dangerousness,” a vague charge contained in Article 72 of the penal code. The reporter was handed the maximum prison sentence of four years; in June 2007, a local tribunal lowered the sentence to three years.
April 13, 2010 5:35 PM ET

Tags:

Letters   |   Cuba, Spain

CPJ urges EU leader to seek freedom for Cuban journalists

Dear President Rodríguez Zapatero: On the seventh anniversary of the Cuban government’s massive crackdown on dissidents and the independent press, the Committee to Protect Journalists calls on you as leader of the European Union to take the forefront in defending human rights by urging President Raúl Castro to immediately release 22 journalists now jailed in Cuba.

March 18, 2010 9:55 AM ET

Tags:

Blog   |   Cuba, Spain

Spain must help free Cuban dissidents

Mark Twain once said, “In our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either.” In the witty genius’ land, the United States, such irony suggests that people should not to waste the opportunities that democracy offers. But in Cuba’s case any humorous comment is meaningless, since neither freedom of expression nor freedom of conscience exist … like almost all other freedoms. Any “imprudent” or brave attempt to act as if these freedoms were available is suppressed with direct brutality. Journalists and political dissidents who are jailed, tortured, and harassed serve as an example. 

March 18, 2010 9:54 AM ET

Tags:

Blog   |   Cuba

For bloggers, Cuba remains a dark corner

Another year has passed and we are now remembering the seventh anniversary of the Black Spring. After seven years, have there been any changes? Yes and no. Law 88, a provision calling for the protection of Cuba’s national independence, is still in force. Known as the gag law, it is used to silence Cuban citizens, most notoriously in the cases of dozens of dissidents and journalists jailed for expressing their ideas freely in 2003.

March 18, 2010 9:53 AM ET

Tags:

Alerts   |   Cuba

CPJ holds Cuba responsible for welfare of jailed journalists

Fariñas on his most recent hunger strike. (EPA)

New York, March 4, 2010—A week after the death of jailed Cuban dissident Orlando Zapata Tamayo, a journalist on a hunger strike is seriously ill while health conditions of imprisoned reporters remain dire. As the seventh anniversary of the massive crackdown on dissidents approaches on March 18, the Committee to Protect Journalists renews its call for the Cuban government to immediately and unconditionally release all jailed journalists.

Attacks on the Press   |   Cuba

Attacks on the Press 2009: Cuba

Top Developments
• Vibrant blogging culture emerges despite severe Internet restrictions.
• Jailed journalists suffer amid inhumane conditions.

Key Statistic
22: Reporters and editors in jail as of December 1.


Cuba was hit hard by the global economic crisis and endured an upheaval in its highest offices, but state-controlled news media delivered superficial and skewed coverage. Human rights conditions, including press freedom, remained at a standstill: Independent journalists faced ongoing harassment, and more than 20 reporters and editors remained in jail. But offering a flicker of hope for freedom of expression on the island, a growing community of independent bloggers maneuvered around legal, economic, and technological limitations to describe everyday experiences and express opinions that challenged the regime’s perspective.

« 2009 | 2011 »