Black Spring

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Blog   |   Cuba

Press loses a friend with death of Cuban Oswaldo Payá

Hundreds attended the funeral of Oswaldo Payá, a Cuban activist, on Monday. (AFP/Adalberto Roque)

A friend delivered the shocking news in a telephone call on Sunday. Oswaldo Payá, an activist and a tireless advocate for freedom of expression, had died in a car accident that afternoon. 

July 25, 2012 3:58 PM ET

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Laura Pollán Toledo, who rallied the wives of jailed Cuban dissidents, dies at 63

The CPJ remembers Cuban human rights advocate Laura Pollán Toledo who died in Havana on Friday.  Founding the Ladies in White after the arrest of her husband, journalist Hector Maseda Gutiérrez during the Cuban government's 2003 Black Spring crackdown on the press and dissent, Pollán worked endlessly for justice.  Earlier this year she was rewarded for her efforts and was reunited with her husband after 8 years of struggle.  The New York Times celebrates her life and struggle in a piece from October 16.

Click here for the full story.

October 18, 2011 4:00 PM ET

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Blog   |   Cuba

Recalling Laura Pollán, leader of Cuba's Ladies in White

Pollán leads the Ladies in White in March 2011. (AP/Javier Galeano)

Cuban human rights defender Laura Pollán, who died Friday from respiratory complications at a Havana hospital, fought a mighty battle against the Cuban government for almost a decade. Pollán, 63, leaves behind her husband, the award-winning independent journalist Héctor Maseda Gutiérrez, and a daughter. She also leaves a legacy of determination, courage, and creativity. Her powerful belief in justice was ultimately rewarded when dozens of wrongly imprisoned dissidents and journalists, including her husband, were freed from prison over the last two years, in large part due to her efforts.

October 17, 2011 2:36 PM ET

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Blog   |   Cuba

Assisting journalists in Cuba: Hurdles in prison and beyond

CPJ's Journalist Assistance program helped support the families of Cuban journalists held in jails like this one on the outskirts of Havana. (Reuters/Claudia Daut)

In mid-2006, CPJ's Journalist Assistance program began sending regular remittances to the families of independent Cuban journalists in prison. By CPJ's count, of the 29 journalists jailed during a massive crackdown in 2003, 24 were still in prison at the time--making Cuba the world's second-worst jailer of journalists in the world. The remittances, sent monthly, helped families cover travel expenses to the prisons--sometimes two days away on shabby buses--and basic maintenance for the jailed editors and reporters--ranging from food staples like rice and beans, to clothes, bowls and spoons, to aspirin and specialized medications, all unavailable behind bars. At the time, I was the Research Associate for the Americas program, and my job was to contact families and catalog urgency and needs.

Reports   |   Cuba, Spain

After the Black Spring, Cuba's new repression

When the last of 29 journalists jailed in a notorious 2003 crackdown was finally freed this year, it signaled to many the end of a dark era. But Cuban authorities are still persecuting independent journalists through arbitrary arrests, beatings, and intimidation. A CPJ special report by Karen Phillips

In Cuba, the Ladies in White were instrumental in drawing attention to the plight of political prisoners. Here, they hold a photo of Orlando Zapata Tamayo, who died in custody. (AP/Javier Galeano)

Alerts   |   Cuba

Ending dark era, Cuba frees last jailed journalist

Newly freed Cuban political prisoners arrive in Spain. (AFP/Pierre-Philippe Marcou)

New York, April 8, 2011--The Cuban government on Thursday released the last journalist remaining in its prisons, ending a dark, eight-year-long era in which the island nation was one of the world's worst jailers of the press, at one time imprisoning nearly 30 independent reporters and writers. The Committee to Protect Journalists expressed relief today that Albert Santiago Du Bouchet Hernández has been freed, a milestone in an intensive, international advocacy effort led by the Catholic Church, the Spanish government, and international press and human rights groups.

Blog   |   Cuba

A not so dark Cuban Black Spring anniversary

From left: Carlos Lauría, Antonio Muñoz Molina, Raúl Rivero, and Fernando González Urbaneja at CPJ's Madrid presentation of its report on the Black Spring, in March 2008.

March 18 is not a day we usually look forward to at CPJ. On this day in 2003, the Cuban government launched a massive crackdown on the independent press resulting in the jailing of 29 reporters. But this year we have reason to feel encouraged. On March 4, with the release of Pedro Argüelles Morán, the last of the Black Spring journalists was released. 

Alerts   |   Cuba

Last Black Spring reporter freed; one still jailed in Cuba

New York, March 7, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the release of Cuban independent journalist Pedro Argüelles Morán on Friday, and calls on Cuban authorities to eliminate all conditions on his freedom. Argüelles Morán, at left, was the last of 29 reporters arrested during a 2003 massive government crackdown on dissent to be allowed to leave jail, on parole. 

March 7, 2011 3:13 PM ET

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Blog   |   Cuba

After 'trial by fire,' Cuba's Maseda back to journalism

Maseda holds a document proving his release from prison next to his wife, Laura Pollán. (AP/Franklin Reyes)

Almost three weeks after being released from jail following eight years of inhumane treatment in Cuba's infamous prison system, CPJ's 2008 International Press Freedom award winner Héctor Maseda Gutiérrez said he is committed to going back to independent journalism. "That's my will, and I have decided to do it here in Havana," Maseda said in a telephone conversation from Cuba's capital.

March 3, 2011 12:44 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Cuba

Journalist released on parole, allowed to stay in Cuba

Freed journalist Héctor Maseda Gutiérrez embraces his wife, Laura Pollán, leader of Cuban dissident group Ladies in White, in his home in Havana. (AP/Franklin Reyes)

New York, February 14, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists called on Cuban authorities today to place no conditions on the release of journalist Héctor Maseda Gutiérrez, who was freed on parole Saturday. Maseda Gutiérrez is a founding member of the independent news agency Grupo de Trabajo Decoro and a winner of CPJ's International Press Freedom Award in 2008.

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