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Montevideo, September 26th 2023 - 16:34 UTC



Cuba cracks down on free journalism

Friday, January 21st 2022 - 09:27 UTC
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“They are about to kick us out of Cuba,” EFE's Gabriela Cañas said this week “They are about to kick us out of Cuba,” EFE's Gabriela Cañas said this week

Following the July 2021 uprisings and how information left the island of Cuba and reached the world, the Communist regime has been revoking visas from foreign journalists, it was reported.

Gabriela Cañas, President of the Spanish news agency EFE made it clear: “They are about to kick us out of Cuba,” she told US state broadcaster Voice of America this week. She added the island's Government was making serious journalism almost impossible.

Only two EFE correspondents have a valid work permit after the administration of President Miguel Díaz-Canel revoked the accreditation of five EFE reporters in mid-November 2021 and gave no reasaon for it. If the trend goes on, there is a possibility that the agency may have to end its work on the island after nearly 50 years, Cañas fears.

“It has never been easy for journalists to work in Cuba,” says Juliane Matthey, press officer for Latin America at Reporters Without Borders. For years, journalists critical of Cuba have been threatened, attacked and imprisoned. In its “Press Freedom Ranking 2021,” Cuba ranks 171 out of 180, trailing only war zones and other totalitarian states, not taking recent developments into account: “After protests last July, the regime tightened the screws again,” says Matthey.

On July 11, 2021, massive protests erupted in Havana and spread throughout the island, marking the largest demonstrations since the 1959 revolution. Since then, the Communist regime's repression has been mounting to avoid any new similar occurrence.

Private media outlets are not permitted in Cuba, although a small network of independent news websites have emerged on the Internet. But these publications have been targeted by paralegal groups.

Apart from Government-run TV stations, the only alternative is TeleSUR, founded by former Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez and owned jointly by the Governments of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua.

The Cuban Regime Fears Free Internet Access and social media are monitored by Government agents. “Good internet access would cost many Cubans half their salary. Many websites are blocked and can only be accessed through a VPN connection,” the Deutsche Welle reported. One of the reasons why the July protests probably died down after only five days was that access to the internet was blocked to prevent coordination among protesting groups.

The suspension of work permits for EFE journalists came a few days before a demonstration planned by the opposition for November 15.

(Source: DW)

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