Cuba / 2011

CPJ Blog

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Recalling Laura Pollán, leader of Cuba's Ladies in White

October 17, 2011 2:36 PM ET

Cuban human rights defender Laura Pollán, who died Friday from respiratory complications at a Havana hospital, fought a mighty battle against the Cuban government for almost a decade. Pollán, 63, leaves behind her husband, the award-winning independent journalist Héctor Maseda Gutiérrez, and a daughter. She also leaves a legacy...

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Assisting journalists in Cuba: Hurdles in prison and beyond

August 12, 2011 4:53 PM ET

In mid-2006, CPJ's Journalist Assistance program began sending regular remittances to the families of independent Cuban journalists in prison. By CPJ's count, of the 29 journalists jailed during a massive crackdown in 2003, 24 were still in prison at the time--making Cuba the world's second-worst jailer of journalists in...

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CPJ's exiled journalists survey: Behind the numbers

June 20, 2011 12:00 AM ET

In 2007, my colleague Karen Phillips suggested we do something to mark World Refugee Day. Initially planning to publish a brief statement, I set about reviewing our data for background, checking in with older journalist cases about their current situation and looking broadly for trends to highlight. As the...

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The best day of the last 2,684: A Cuban prisoner deported

May 31, 2011 3:23 PM ET

When I awoke on the morning of July 8, 2010, in the Guamajal Prison in Villa Clara, I couldn't have imagined that five days later I was going to be landing at Barajas International Airport in Spain, accompanied by five of my comrades....

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From a Cuban youth movement, to journalism, to jail

May 25, 2011 10:40 AM ET

I joined the political civilist youth movement in 1991. Curiously, what I remember most from that period is how my apprehensions led me to disguise myself with a hat and glasses when traveling from my town of Artemisa to Havana to meet with other activists. These feelings of fear,...

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Cuban journalist Fernández Saínz: I was a reporter in prison

April 8, 2011 11:22 AM ET

I went to prison for practicing independent journalism in Cuba. As soon as you get there, you must prepare yourself to narrate the horrors of the hellhole you've ended up in. And Cuban prisons are horrendous. But the horrors start not one step back in the penal tribunal, not...

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For Cuban blogger Sánchez, a government 'distinction'

March 25, 2011 12:28 PM ET

Acclaimed Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez has had her share of honors lately. Last year alone, her blogging, which offers a personal and critical view of life in Cuba, was honored by the Dutch Prince Claus Fund, the International Press Institute, and the Danish Centre for Political Studies. This week,...

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A not so dark Cuban Black Spring anniversary

March 18, 2011 4:17 PM ET

March 18 is not a day we usually look forward to at CPJ. On this day in 2003, the Cuban government launched a massive crackdown on the independent press resulting in the jailing of 29 reporters. But this year we have reason to feel encouraged. On March 4, with...

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Cuban journalist survives 'hell' and emerges ready to fight

March 18, 2011 2:05 PM ET

On March 18, 2003, our people endured one of the worst episodes in Cuba's history. The peaceable political dissident community, human rights defenders, trade unionists, and independent journalists, along with representatives of the emergent and democratic civil society--74 men and one woman--were the victims of the most absolute, merciless,...

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A new spring, and a couple's devotion blossoms anew

March 18, 2011 12:18 PM ET

When I wake up and sense my husband's body next to mine, I ask myself if I'm dreaming or if it is true that he has returned to our home.Eight years have passed since 75 Cubans were uprooted from their homes for thinking differently than the governmental discourse and...

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Moments before arrest in Cuba

March 8, 2011 10:31 AM ET

On March 18, 2003, I got up early as usual, connected my shortwave radio receiver, and tuned into a number of radio stations in the south of Florida in search of the day's most important news. As always, the radio interference was brutal and made it hard to hear....

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After 'trial by fire,' Cuba's Maseda back to journalism

March 3, 2011 12:44 PM ET

Almost three weeks after being released from jail following eight years of inhumane treatment in Cuba's infamous prison system, CPJ's 2008 International Press Freedom award winner Héctor Maseda Gutiérrez said he is committed to going back to independent journalism. "That's my will, and I have decided to do it...

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A Cuban journalist in exile: Unkept promises

February 1, 2011 11:30 AM ET

The clouds of exile are twice as bitter. Being forced from your birthplace and into legal limbo in the land of your grandparents where you're met by complete official abandonment only deepens the wounds. My gloominess has nothing to do with the affection and solidarity shown by the Spanish...

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For Cuban dissidents, prison is the only destination

January 11, 2011 10:14 AM ET

I was born beneath the yoke of a tyranny, now more than 50 years old, in which prison is the only destination for its deterrents. I first came across this destination in 1997, when I was sentenced to five years in prison for the alleged crime of committing an...

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