The crackdown on independent journalists is intensifying, with three cases of journalists being jailed, arrested or summoned in the past few days. The journalist who has been jailed is Dania Virgen García of Primavera Digital and CubaNet, who was given a 20-month sentence on 23 April. Her case brings the number of journalists imprisoned in Cuba to 25.
Arrested at her home in the Havana suburb of San Miguel del Padrón on 22 April, García was tried and convicted in less than 48 hours and was taken to the women’s prison known as the “Manto Negro” (Black Veil) because of its bad reputation. The regime’s haste to “pass justice” appears to have been due to the municipal elections held on 25 April
The charges on which García, 41, was convicted have yet to be confirmed, but she supported and participated in the marches staged by the Ladies in White, a group formed by the mothers, wives and sisters of political prisoners whose activities have been suppressed by the authorities in recent days.
Independent journalist Yosvani Anzardo Hernández was arrested at his home in San Germán, in the eastern province of Holguín, on the morning of 24 April. His family does not know why. The editor of the newspaper Candonga, Anzardo was detained for two weeks in September 2009, when police confiscated the electronic equipment he needed to produce the newspaper.
Magaly Norvis Otero Suárez, an independent journalist who reports for the Hablemos Press news centre and Miami-based Radio Martí, has been given a summons to report to the National Revolutionary Police in Havana for “a conversation” on 29 April. A staunch supporter of the Ladies in White, Norvis also keeps a blog in which she writes about arbitrary arrests and human rights violations.
Finally, police used force to arrest Calixto Ramón Martínez Arias, another Hablemos Press reporter, on 23 April as he was covering an event in the Havana suburb of Marianao to commemorate imprisoned dissident Orlando Zapata Tamayo’s death. Martínez has been charged with “insulting behaviour.”
“The international community cannot continue to remain silent in the face of the suffering of Cuba’s dissidents and the lack of freedoms imposed by a regime whose hints of a possible opening stopped short at the threshold of human rights,” Reporters Without Borders said.
Independent journalist Guillermo Fariñas Hernández is meanwhile continuing a hunger strike to press for the release of the prisoners of conscience who are in poorest health. Reporters Without Borders has urged him to call off the protest but Fariñas says he is ready to die.
With a total of 25 journalists currently detained, including Reporters Without Borders correspondent Ricardo González Alfonso, Cuba ranks behind only Iran and China as one of the world’s biggest prisons for the media.
Photo : http://www.humanrightscuba.com/2010...
Brian Lloyd French
I am a great admirer of the strength and talents of Cuban people and will share some of my experiences here.