News and Facts about Cuba

The IAPA Does Not See Progress In Press Freedom In Cuba

The IAPA Does Not See Progress In Press In Cuba / 14ymedio
Posted on October 3, 2015

14ymedio, 2 October 2015 — Within a few hours of the opening of the 71st
General Assembly of the Inter American Press Association (IAPA),
scheduled between 2 and 6 October in Charleston (South Carolina),
regional reports from the Commission for Freedom of the Press and
Information were made public. According to the organization, ten months
after the beginning of reestablishment of diplomatic relations between
Cuba and the United States, journalism on the island continues to be
“dogged by censorship in the Cuban Communist Party monopoly over the
national media.”

The report details that in Cuba there are still no signs of “economic
improvement,” nor an increase in the respect for “, greater
freedom of , association and the press,” derived from the
process of diplomatic rapprochement that both countries are experiencing.

With special alarm, the text includes the threats and arrests made this
summer by State Security against the reporter Lazaro Yuri Valle Roca,
when he tried to document in videos and photos the repression suffered
by the Ladies in White. The denounced the
repressive methods against the exercise of the unofficial press,
including detentions for “several days without records of arrest nor of
the seizure of our belongings” and the “confiscation of the tools of our

The case of the artist Danilo Maldonado Machado, known as “El Sexto,”
was also highlighted by the IAPA as evidence of the lack of freedom of
expression on the island. Nine months after his arrest for planning a
performance, the Graffiti artist remains in without having been
brought to trial. This week Amnesty International named him as a

The IAPA report also denounces “the censorship maintained on digital
sites, as is the case of sites like Cubaencuentro, Martinoticias, and
the digital newspaper 14ymedio, as well as other sites that address the
Cuban issue from a perspective critical” of the authorities.

’s government maintains a tendency towards
“paramilitarization” of the repressions, with physical and verbal
but without leaving legal footprints, says the report. This
method was demonstrated during Pope Francis’s visit in mid-September,
“particularly with the detention of the opponent Martha
and the independent Miriam Leiva, when both were traveling to
accept an invitation from the Aposolic Nunciature to greet the pontiff
at Havana Cathedral,” it says.

Civil society wins spaces

Among the achievements of Cuban civil society, IAPA enumerates the first
Encuentro de Pensamiento (Meeting of Ideas) for Cuba, hosted by the
independent think tank Center for Coexistence Studies in the city of
Pinar del Río and the magazine of the same name. Founded in 2007, the
publication has already published 45 issues and addresses issues ranging
from culture to citizenship.

The opening of 35 WiFi points to connect to the internet also found
space in the report, although the text reminds us that Cuba remains one
of the least connected countries in the world, with only 5%, which is
reduced to 1% in the case of broadband.

The reports comments on the parole granted to the writer Angel
Santiesteban and transfer to a minimum security prison mid-year of the
journalist Jose Antonio Torres, a former correspondent for the Party
newspaper Granma, accused of espionage.

The report made special mention of the compendium of
audiovisuals and alternative information, known as the “weekly packet.”
The IAPA said that the weekly packet “has continued to gain ground among
the Cuban population and is causing great concern in the ruling party,”
while the official press continues to be characterized by
self-censorship and the absence of “a journalism of investigation, that
puts pressure on government entities to have greater transparency about
their internal workings.”

During the 71st General Assembly of the Inter American Press
Association, there will be seminars run by the Press Institute that will
focus on current issues under the title “Beyond the Digital
Transformation.” Other panels will address the growing contribution of
women in the media, value added and copyrights, according to information
from the organizers.

The meeting will feature Literature Nobelist Mario Vargas Llosa, who
will participate in a special session and be interviewed by journalist
Andres Oppenheimer.

Source: The IAPA Does Not See Progress In Press Freedom In Cuba /
14ymedio | Translating Cuba –

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