The outlook for journalism is still affected by the government’s censorship and resistance to change, with new incidents of propaganda campaigns in the official media, harassment of independent journalists and disdain for the people’s information needs. At this time, government-controlled media are filled with an outlandish and hypocritical campaign for the freedom of the so-called Five Heroic Prisoners of the Empire, five Cuban citizens tried and convicted by a U.S. court for belonging to an espionage network serving the Cuban government. There are continuous references to these alleged patriots, arguing that they are people who were infiltrated into the United States to combat terrorism and neutralize the activities of some groups within the Cuban community in Miami. At the same time, the most important newspaper, the Communist Party organ Granma slips in defamatory comments, saying in one of its “commemorative” articles about the first anniversary of the terrorist attacks in Washington and New York, “if September 11 had not happened, President George W. Bush and the military-industrial complex would have invented it.” The Cuban media have made no mention whatsoever of a case of espionage for Cuba in the U.S. Defense Department, which was detected last year. The spy was sentenced a few days ago by a federal judge in Washington. This case, involving U.S. citizen Ana Belén Montes, is the most important espionage case involving Cuba in the last four decades, with important national security implications for United States. Another propaganda spectacle orchestrated by the government press was a campaign to gather signatures in support of a constitutional amendment that would declare socialism irrevocable. The maneuver is a tacit response to a referendum petition by peaceful opposition groups that has been signed by 10,000 citizens residing in Cuba, the so-called Varela Project. As is now customary, the event was hidden from the public and information about the project was disseminated solely by the independent and foreign media. Along with the informal silencing of the Varela Project, the government staged an overwhelming barrage of propaganda that flooded the media with puerile declarations about citizens’ support for constitutional reforms, without providing information about the true motives of this unprecedented campaign. Because of this totalitarian policy, the challenge for journalists who are independent of the government’s control of the news is to stand up to government repression. The most notorious case is still that of Bernardo Arévalo Padrón, who recently was transferred to a hard labor camp within Ariza jail, Cienfuegos. The situation is alarming because jail officials constantly tell the inmates that they will lose visits and other privileges because of Arévalo’s “lack of discipline.” Areválo has sent several reports about the jail to the media. Arévalo, founder of the independent news agency Línea Sur, has been serving a six-year prison sentence since November 28, 1997, on charges of “contempt” for President Fidel Castro and Vice President Carlos Lage. Other important developments since March are: Reporters Léxter Téllez Castro and Carlos Brizuela Yera of the Avileña Free Press Agency and the Independent Journalists’ Colegio are in custody facing charges carrying sentences of six and five years respectively. They were arrested March 4 during a civic protest in Ciego de Avila and since then have been sending reports on conditions and mistreatment that they have witnessed in the jails where they are being held. Reporter Carlos Alberto Domínguez of the Cuba Verdad agency has been held since March 29 in Valle Grande prison, where he has continued to report the appalling conditions of the inmates. He has not yet gone on trial. Correspondent Angel Polanco, who lives in Havana, was detained for five days at the headquarters of the state security police there. Police officers searched his house, confiscated office equipment and his files, and seized $1,500. The journalist had returned from Miami where he received medical treatment. Journalist Carlos Serpa Maceira was attacked by police in Nueva Gerona, Island of Youth, and was fined 30 pesos. Other independent journalists received the police treatment that is consistently used to deny them access to information sources and coverage of events. Throughout the country, independent reporters are treated the same way: intimidating calls, temporary detention in their homes, warnings, fines, inspections and forcible expulsion from places where they go to do their work. Efforts for professional training in Cuba or by invitation abroad are repeatedly blocked. The Manuel Márquez Sterling Society, which includes half of the 120 independent journalists in the country, has been prevented from conducting its training courses. At the same time, Claudia Márquez, Marvin Hernández Monzón, Víctor Domínguez and Luis García, who were invited by the Latin American Press Center go to seminars in Panama and Mexico were prevented by migration authorities from even beginning to make arrangements for their trips. Delays and denials of permission to emigrate or travel aboard also continue. Journalist and poet Raúl Rivero, editor of CubaPress is still in “national captivity” as he has been for 14 years, despite his many invitations to participate in literary events abroad. He has been denied permission to leave temporarily, but he has been “invited” to leave the country permanently. After several years of these reprisals, his wife finally was allowed to go to the United States to visit her son. Independent journalists still have the same difficulties in getting their news reports to publications and agencies abroad. Reports are still transmitted by collect telephone calls and, less often, by fax. E-mail and Internet access is still an impossible dream for independent journalists in Cuba. Government decree 383/2001 prohibits even the sale of technological parts and tools that some citizens could use to build a personal computer at home. Only people with a special authorization card from the so-called National Office of Technological Security can bring a computer into the country. Independent journalists are not allowed to use online services in hotels, cyber cafes and tourist centers paid by hard currency, because their work is considered “counterrevolutionary work paid for by the enemy.” At the beginning of September, government authorities announced the beginning of the first Cuban project of 24-hour virtual television on the Internet. The project is a collaboration between government agencies and Hspeed Net corporation of Germany. This service, which broadcasts a boastful view of the government, broadens the first Cuban television project on the Internet, which, for the past three years has broadcast every day the so-called News Round Tables and other political propaganda programs which, in the government’s demagogic language are called “battle fronts against the freedom to lie.” The government’s Union of Cuban Journalists (UPEC) has announced that from now until next February it will be honoring the centenary of the birth of Czech journalist Julius Fucik, in an old-fashioned ideological maneuver than has even linked the celebration to the campaign demanding the release of the five spies imprisoned in the United States. The date of the death of the controversial journalist, Fucik, September 8, 1943, has been commemorated in the Socialist Bloc to celebrate International Journalists’ Day. In Cuba, the celebration of that day was changed to a historic date of domestic importance, March 14, the day José Martí founded the newspaper Patria in 1892. A truly demagogic and ironic gesture occurred recently in Havana at the Third International Meeting of War Correspondents. Participants championed the ethical practice of journalism and loyalty to “the true press freedom, which is faithful to the people,” contrasting it to the “captive proclaimed by the owners of the major media.” Within this context of double speak, 40 representatives of U.S. journalism visited Cuba under the sponsorship of the American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE). The highest Cuban officials and UPEC leaders spoke to the visitors about “common ties,” cooperative spirit and bilateral exchanges without mentioning the news embargo that the Cuban government has imposed on its citizens. This is an old strategy based on opening up the communication bridge in only one direction, under the supervision of the state. We do not want to conclude this report without mentioning our colleague and friend Carlos Catañeda, a member of the IAPA Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information who died October 10 in Lisbon. Castañeda, who was responsible for the report on journalism in Cuba for many years, was a passionate defender of the press as an instrument of democracy, the exchange of ideas and citizen participation. His tireless efforts to restore press freedom in the Cuba of the future will continue to guide our demands for restoration of democratic communications there.