Petition to Free Cuban Journalist Manuel Vázquez Portal
(Note: This petition will be submitted to the Cuban government on June 16, 2004.)
|I support the Committee to Protect Journalists, an independent nonprofit organization that works to safeguard press freedom worldwide, in its campaign to free Cuban journalist Manuel Vázquez Portal.
Vázquez Portal is one of 29 journalists--about a third of the island's independent press corps--who along with 46 members of the opposition were arrested, summarily tried, and convicted during three weeks in March and April 2003 while the world's attention was focused on the war in Iraq. The journalists, many of whom were accused of acting as "counterrevolutionaries" at the service of the United States, were each given prison sentences ranging from 14 to 27 years.
The imprisonment of Vázquez Portal and his colleagues in reprisal for their independent reporting violates the most basic norms of international law, including Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which guarantees everyone "the right to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."
I call on the Cuban government to immediately and unconditionally release Manuel Vázquez Portal, along with the other journalists imprisoned in Cuba, and to uphold the right of all journalists to work freely and safely.