Ricardo González, an inconveniently energetic journalist
González, a 52-year-old former state TV scriptwriter, was one of the first independent journalists to be arrested at home on 18 March 2003. Since 1995 he has been one of the most active members of the independent media and in 1998 became the Reporters Without Borders correspondent in Cuba. Each week he told the organisation about attacks on press freedom there.
He and his friend Raúl Rivero founded the Manuel Márquez Sterling Association in May 2001 to train independent journalists, who are often self-taught. In December 2002, he went beyond the pale by starting up a bi-monthly magazine called De Cuba. It was the first time independent journalists, who until then had simply sent articles abroad for publication, had tried to break the ruling Communist Party’s monopoly of news.
This was more than President Fidel Castro could tolerate. González was tried with Rivero on 4 April 2003 and sentenced to 20 years in prison for "undermining the independence and unity of the state." At the end of that month, he was transferred to the "Kilo 8" prison in Camagüey, more than 500 kms from Havana.
He is being held in very harsh conditions but does not complain. "They’ve jailed me with my optimism," he told his wife.
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