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Cuba30 March 2007

On eve of official visit, Spain’s foreign minister asked to intercede on behalf of imprisoned journalists

Mr. Miguel Ángel Moratinos Cuyaubé
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation
Madrid, Spain

Dear Foreign Minister,

You are about to begin a two-day official visit to Cuba on 2 April at the invitation of your Cuban counterpart, Mr. Felipe Pérez Roque. Reporters Without Borders, a press freedom organisation, hopes that this visit will contribute to an improvement in the human rights situation in Cuba.

This will be the first time that a foreign minister from a European Union member country has visited Cuba since the EU imposed political sanctions on Cuba after the “Black Spring” of March 2003. These sanctions were finally lifted in 2005 at your government’s request, in the name of dialogue with the Cuban authorities. They will again be the subject of a debate among the member states in June.

Four years after this unprecedented crackdown on Cuban dissidents, and despite the recent transfer of power to an acting president, Cuba still has 270 political prisoners. Twenty-five of them are contributors to small independent news agencies, some of whom - such as our own correspondent, Ricardo González Alfonso - are serving jail terms ranging from 14 to 27 years. Cuba is the world’s second biggest prison for journalists, after China, and is the only country in the western hemisphere where there is no free speech or press freedom.

A member of the United Nations Human Rights Council, Cuba nonetheless undertook to “promote” and “ensure respect” for basic freedoms when it took over the rotating presidency of the Non-Aligned Movement in September 2006.

Dialogue with the Cuban government, which is deaf to the international community’s appeals, in no way precludes firmness towards it. You are the representative of one of the only governments likely to remind the Cuban authorities of their duty to act with humanity and justice. The imprisoned dissidents must be freed.

We thank you in advance for giving this request your careful consideration.


Robert Ménard

In this country
20 May - Cuba
Anyone can browse the Internet... unless they are Cuban
15 May - Cuba
Journalist gets three-year jail sentence
24 February - Cuba
After a year of Raúl Castro as president, political opening still ignores imprisoned journalists
3 February - Cuba
As UN conducts universal periodic review, 205 political prisoners, including 23 journalists, await release.
3 October - Cuba
US finally issues visas to Prensa Latina’s two UN correspondents

in the annual report
Cuba - Annual Report 2008
Cuba - Annual report 2007
Cuba - Annual report 2006

14 March 2008 - Cuba
No surrender by independent journalists, five years on from “black spring”
5 June 2007 - Venezuela
Closure of Radio Caracas Televisión consolidates media hegemony
22 May 2007 - Colombia
Paramilitary "black eagles" poised to swoop down on press

Americas press releases
3 June - United States
President Obama urged to raise freedom of expression in his Cairo speech
29 May - Venezuela
Open letter to President Hugo Chavez to protest about official hounding of Globovisión
27 May - Mexico
Crime reporter abducted and killed in Durango state
15 May - Colombia
Former intelligence officials leak list of news media and journalists whose phones were tapped
14 May - United States
Arraignment of suspected mastermind of Chauncey Bailey’s murder postponed again

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