Case   |   Cuba

CUBA

MAY 20, 2005
Posted: May 25, 2005

Francesco Battistini, Corriere della Sera
Seweryn Blumsztajn, Gazeta Wyborcza
Jerzy Jurecki, Tygodnik Podhalanski
Wojciech Rogacin, Newsweek

HARASSED, EXPELLED

Cuban authorities detained and expelled these foreign journalists who traveled to Cuba to cover an unprecedented gathering of opposition activists and international observers.

Italian journalist Francesco Battistini, on assignment for the Milan-based daily Corriere della Sera, was detained and later expelled. Upon his return to Milan on May 21, Battistini said Cuban police told him he was arrested for making “illegal contacts” and for violating immigration law, Corriere della Sera reported. Battistini also said that police took his passport and plane ticket, and did not allow him to call the Italian embassy, his family, or his paper.

Polish journalist Jerzy Jurecki, an editor with the regional weekly Tygodnik Podhalanski, was detained at his hotel in Havana and taken to an immigration detention center near Havana’s airport, according to international news reports. Polish journalist Seweryn Blumsztajn, who works for the national daily Gazeta Wyborcza, was detained with Jurecki, press reports said. A third journalist, Wojciech Rogacin of the Polish edition of Newsweek magazine, was also taken into police custody.

Cuba’s ambassador to Poland said the journalists had traveled to Cuba on tourist visas and were violating Cuban law, The Associated Press reported.

All three Polish journalists returned to Warsaw, Poland's capital, on May 21. On his arrival, Rogacin was quoted by the Polish news agency PAP as saying that their detention and deportation showed that the Cuban government was “afraid to reveal the truth.”

The two-day meeting—the first such event ever held by opposition activists—was organized by the Assembly to Promote Civil Society (APSC), an umbrella group of civil society and dissident groups. The assembly, in the planning for several years, was designed to bring together dissidents and to formulate plans to create a democratic society in Cuba. The meeting began today with 200 activists and guests in attendance at the house of dissident Félix Bonne Carcassés in Havana’s outskirts. Organizers have complained that dissidents from other provinces were harassed and forbidden to travel to Havana.

Under Cuban immigration regulations, foreign reporters who visit the island to work must apply for journalist visas, which are processed through Cuban embassies abroad. Cuban officials grant visas to foreign journalists selectively, CPJ research shows, and they routinely exclude those from media outlets deemed unfriendly, such as The Miami Herald. Cuban law further specifies that foreign journalists who travel to the country on a tourist visa “should abstain from practicing journalism.”


MAY 21, 2005
Posted: June 10, 2005

Francesca Caferri, Repubblica
HARASSED, EXPELLED

Caferri, an Italian journalist who traveled to Cuba on assignment for the Rome-based daily Reppublica to cover an unprecedented gathering of opposition activists, was detained in Havana by Cuban authorities and expelled.

The journalist had covered the second day of the two-day opposition meeting and was at her hotel room when two police agents knocked on her door, said she had violated Cuban immigration law by doing journalistic work, and arrested her, Caferri told Repubblica. Police officers took her to the Havana airport's immigration offices and questioned her before putting her on an 11 p.m. flight bound for Madrid, Spain.

Caferri's detention and expulsion came a day after one Italian and three Polish journalists, who were covering the opposition gathering, were detained by police and expelled from Cuba.

The two-day meeting—the first such event ever held by opposition activists—was organized by the Assembly to Promote Civil Society (APSC), an umbrella group of civil society and dissident groups. The assembly, in the planning for several years, was designed to bring together dissidents and to formulate plans to create a democratic society in Cuba. The meeting began on May 20, 2005, with 200 activists and guests in attendance at the house of dissident Félix Bonne Carcassés in Havana's outskirts.

Under Cuban immigration regulations, foreign reporters who visit the island to work must apply for journalist visas, which are processed through Cuban embassies abroad. Cuban officials grant visas to foreign journalists selectively, CPJ research shows, and they routinely exclude those from media outlets deemed unfriendly, such as The Miami Herald. Cuban law further specifies that foreign journalists who travel to the country on a tourist visa "should abstain from practicing journalism."

Published

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