The Miami Herald
February 11, 1999
IPI: Press freedom eludes Cuba
Castro government controls, threatens journalists, report says

             VIENNA -- (EFE) -- Cuban President Fidel Castro's security apparatus
             continues to ``repress Cuban journalists who attempt to file independent reports
             on what is happening in their country,'' the International Press Institute charged in a
             report released today.

             ``Cuban authorities routinely threaten, arrest and jail journalists, often attempting to
             `persuade' them to leave the country,'' the IPI stated in its report on the status of
             freedom of the press in the world.

             Although Havana has authorized two U.S. media outlets, CNN and The
             Associated Press, to open permanent bureaus on the island, foreign reporters are
             threatened and often expelled, the IPI asserted.

             The Castro government denied many foreign journalists permission to cover Pope
             John Paul II's visit to Cuba in January 1998, including reporters for the Telemundo
             TV network, and, among newspapers, The Herald, The St. Petersburg Times,
             Costa Rica's La Nacion and Argentina's Clarin.

             In most cases, the news outlets were allowed to replace the vetoed reporters with
             others, but all journalists identified as working for The Herald were denied official
             permission to cover the visit.

             Cuba ``continues a campaign of persecution against more than 40 journalists
             working outside the state media who send their work directly to the United States
             for use in foreign publications or on the Internet,'' the IPI said.

             The report highlights the plight of Cuban journalists jailed for their independent
             reporting, including Bernardo Arevalo of Linea Sur Press, who, according to IPI,
             has endured repeated beatings at the Ariza prison; Lorenzo Paez of Cuba's
             Independent Press Bureau, jailed in the western province of Pinar del Rio; and
             Juan Carlos Recio Martinez, of the Cuba Press Agency, condemned to hard labor
             in the central province of Villa Clara.

             Despite the creation of several independent news agencies in 1995, the Castro
             government remains intent on ``controlling everything published and imposing strict
             control over access to the Internet,'' as well as requiring all typewriters to be
             registered and authorities to be notified of possession of all fax machines or

             The government bans publication of any article critical of the Cuban Revolution or
             its leaders.

             In addition, legislation regulating anti-government propaganda or insults directed at
             government officials mandates prison terms of three months to one year, which
             may be extended to three years if the attacks are directed against Castro or
             members of the National Assembly or the Council of State.


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