Cuba OKs Reopening of AP Bureau
HAVANA--The Cuban government has approved the reopening
of the Associated Press bureau in Havana.
Approval came from the Foreign Ministry on Thursday during a
visit here by a delegation of senior AP officials.
The office will be the news agency's 95th international bureau and
its 240th overall, including bureaus in the United States.
"We are pleased that our long-standing request has been granted
and we look forward to the opportunity to cover this important story
with staff members regularly based here," said Louis D. Boccardi,
AP president and chief executive officer. Boccardi said that a
bureau chief would be appointed shortly and that the AP hoped to
have the office open within weeks. Cable News Network is the
only U.S.-based news organization with a permanent presence in
Cuba. It opened a bureau in March 1997, after it received approval
from both the Cuban and U.S. governments.
The AP was forced by the Cuban government to close its Havana
bureau in 1969 when its last permanent correspondent was expelled.
In recent years, it has been sending staff correspondents to Cuba on
a regular basis for brief reporting visits.
The Cuban government's approval was conveyed by Foreign Minister
Roberto Robaina to AP Board Chairman Donald E. Newhouse,
publisher and president of the Newark, N.J., Star-Ledger; Boccardi,
and Claude E. Erbsen, vice president and director of AP World
The AP executives met with President Fidel Castro, as well as
Ricardo Alarcon, president of Cuba's parliament, and other senior
The Clinton administration in February 1997 gave the go-ahead to 10
U.S. news organizations -including the AP -to open bureaus here.
In 1995, President Clinton issued an executive order easing
restrictions on travel to Cuba by Cuban-Americans, academics,
clergy and students, and supporting the concept of American news
bureaus on the island.
U.S.-based news organizations need U.S. government appproval to
open an office in Cuba because of the U.S. trade embargo against
The Associated Press, a not-for-profit news cooperative celebrating
its 150th anniversary this year, is the world's oldest and largest
newsgathering organization, serving more than 15,000 news
organizations worldwide with news, photos, graphics, audio and video.
The AP has 3,500 staff members and transmits more than 20 million
words a day to more than 110 countries. Its membership includes
1,700 newspapers and 6,000 radio and television stations in the United
Copyright 1998 Associated Press.