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How CPJ investigates and classifies attacks on the press

APRIL 16, 2004
Posted: May 11, 2004

Fara Armenteros, UPECI

Armenteros, a journalist and director of independent news agency Unión de Periodistas y Escritores de Cuba Independientes (UPECI), was harassed and threatened by state security officials in the capital, Havana.

At around 9 a.m., three agents from the State Security Department (DSE) showed up at the journalistís home in the Havana suburb of Lawton and took her away for questioning, Armenteros told CPJ. The DSE agents drove her to a house in the outskirts of Havana and questioned her for hours. She was allowed to make one phone call, which she used to tell her son to go home and take care of his elderly father. Armenteros was offered lunch, but she refused.

The agents, who took turns questioning her, wanted to know about her work as an independent journalist and, particularly, about her reporting on imprisoned journalists, said Armenteros. They warned her that they had enough evidence to prosecute her, just as they did the 75 dissidents and journalists charged and imprisoned in a government crackdown in March 2003.

The agents added that they could prosecute her at any moment but had decided against it. In addition, the agents told her that journalists were opposition members who where working for the United States, which they referred to as "the enemy."

The DSE agents brought Armenteros back home at around 4 p.m.

MAY 22, 2004
Posted: May 25, 2004

María Elena Alpízar, Grupo de Trabajo Decoro

Alpízar, a journalist with the independent news agency Grupo de Trabajo Decoro, was detained by Cuban police in the capital, Havana, and deported to her hometown of Placetas, in central Villa Clara Province.

On May 21, Alpízar was ordered to appear the next morning at a local I.D. Card Office to respond to accusations that she had violated residency laws, according to her colleague Ana Leonor Díaz. Alpízar's friend Dolia Leal, at whose house she was temporarily staying in Havana, was also notified to go with Alpízar to the I.D. Card Office. Under Cuban law, household members must register with their local I.D. Card Office, which are run by the Ministry of the Interior.

Ministry of the Interior officials ordered Leal, who is the wife of a jailed dissident, to pay a fine of 500 pesos (US$20) and took Alpízar to a police station and held her until 7 p.m. Alpízar, who suffers from hypoglycemia, fell ill after having spent several hours without any food or fluids and had to been seen by a doctor from a nearby hospital.

Before releasing Alpízar, police told her she had violated residency laws, fined her 200 pesos (US$8), and told her she must leave Havana within 72 hours. Police also told her from which train station she should depart.

Alpízar arrived in Placetas on April 23, around 3 p.m.