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.
are pleased that the protracted suffering of journalist Mijail Bárzaga Lugo and
his family has come to an end,” said Carlos Lauría, CPJ’s Americas program senior
coordinator. “We urge Cuban authorities to provide accurate and timely information
on the promised release of all the remaining imprisoned journalists.”
reporter for the independent news agency Agencia Noticiosa Cubana before the
arrest, Bárzaga was released as part of an agreement between the government of
President Raúl Castro and the Catholic Church in Cuba. The church announced last week that the
Cuban government had agreed to free a total of 52 dissidents arrested in the
March 2003 government crackdown on political dissent and independent journalism
that came to be known as the Black Spring..
“These releases brought us great relief, and I hope they
open the way to more changes in Cuba,”
Bárzaga told CPJ in a phone interview. He also expressed his solidarity with
journalists who remain in prison in the island. “Although it is wonderful to be
with my family again, I cannot be 100 percent happy knowing that many
colleagues are still in jail in Cuba,”
Eleven journalists arrested during the 2003 crackdown remain
in prison, as does one other journalist who was detained later, CPJ research shows. Neither the
government nor the church have yet disclosed information on the remaining
is a CPJ capsule report on Bárzaga Lugo from CPJ’s annual census of jailed
journalists, conducted in December 2009.
Mijaíl Barzaga Lugo, Agencia Noticiosa
Imprisoned: March 19,
Barzaga Lugo, a reporter for
the independent news agency Agencia Noticiosa Cubana, was arrested in March
2003 and accused the following month of violating Law 88 for the Protection of
Cuba’s National Independence and Economy. Cuban authorities handed him a 15-year
Barzaga Lugo was being held
at 1580 Prison in the municipality of San Miguel del
Padrón, according to Laura Pollán Toledo, a human rights activist and wife of
imprisoned journalist Héctor Maseda Gutiérrez. She said the reporter suffered
from skin ailments made acute by prison conditions; he did not receive medical
treatment for the problem.