CPJ: Cuba remains a repressive state, in the Top 10 of most censored nations in the world

The Committee to Project Journalists reports on the continuing lack of freedom in Cuba despite the lauded economic “reforms” of the Castro dictatorship. Repression on the island at the hands of the Castro brothers’ totalitarian state ranks Cuba as one of the Top 10 most censored nations in the world:


Key Developments
» One journalist imprisoned; numerous others detained for short periods.
» Government obstructs coverage of pope’s visit, trial in dissident’s death.

Though Cuba projected an image of a nation opening up economically and politically, it took no substantive steps to promote freedom of expression. The authorities announced plans to eliminate exit visa regulations that had long restricted Cuban travel, but skeptics expressed doubts about the government’s commitment to the reform. The prominent blogger Yoani Sánchez, has been denied exit visas at least 19 times, CPJ research shows. Venezuela, which financed a much-heralded Cuban fiber-optic cable project, said the installation was completed, but Havana gave no indication when the technology would be put into use. Internet penetration remained low, with existing public connections slow and expensive. Cuba placed ninth on CPJ’s global survey of most-censored countries, and the authorities continued to stifle dissent. After a one-year absence, the nation rejoined the ranks of countries imprisoning journalists. One independent journalist was jailed when CPJ conducted its annual worldwide survey. Though long-term detentions were more infrequent than in past years, human rights groups and news reports documented short-term detentions and harassment surrounding widely covered events, such as the visit of Pope Benedict XVI in March. The authorities detained Sánchez and two other bloggers while they were en route to cover a trial stemming from the vehicular death in July of Oswaldo Payá, a prominent dissident. Journalist and lawyer Yaremis Flores was detained for two days after reporting local criticism of the government’s response to Hurricane Sandy in articles published on the Miami-based Cubanet. Two years after the Black Spring detainees were freed, many of the journalists faced severe economic challenges in exile. One, Albert Santiago Du Bouchet Hernández, killed himself in April.At least 19 journalists have been forced to flee Cuba since 2007, according to CPJ research. Several of the Black Spring detainees were sent to Spain as part of their release negotiations. Life in exile has been marked by great hardship.

Top countries from which journalists have fled, 2007-12:


1. Somalia: 78
2. Iran: 68
3. Ethiopia: 49
4. Iraq: 40
5. Eritrea: 27
6. Sri Lanka: 23
7. Cuba: 19
8. Pakistan: 15
9. Chad: 14
10. Rwanda: 14