CUBA In Cuba, repression against independent journalists continues, and the state continues to control all information, which means that there is no press freedom. But on Nov. 13, the government agreed to allow the news agency Associated Press to open a bureau, making it the second U.S. news organization after CNN to have an office on the island. In 1969, the Cuban government expelled all U.S. organizations. Despite its embargo, the U.S. government allowed 10 news organization to operate in Cuba, but so far only two have been approved by Havana. Starting in September, authorities have gone back to directly repressing independent journalists with arrests, harassment and threats. Three journalists are serving jail terms and two more have trials pending. They are Bernardo Arevalo Padron, serving a six-year sentence in the Ariza jail in Cienfuegos, Lorenzo Paez Nunez, 18 months in Kilo Cinco y Medio, Pinar del Rio; and Juan Carlos Recio Martinez, who is serving a one-year sentence in a cooperative in Camajuani, Villa Clara. The two correspondents awaiting sentencing are Mario Viera, facing a libel complaint brought by the legal director of the Foreign Ministry, and Manuel Antonio Castellanos of Holguin, accused of contempt against the ruler, Fidel Castro. On October 31, journalist Edel Jose Garcia was interrogated and threatened in Villa Clara. He was told that he will be put on trial on charges of publishing false news. On September 8, journalist Hector Trujillo Pais of Caibarien in Villa Clara was summoned to the headquarters of State Security in Santa Clara. He was interrogated for six hours and urged to stop working as an independent journalist. On September 10, journalist Juan Antonio Sanchez was arrested in Havana. He was held for six days at a State Security facility in Pinar del Rio. The political police apparently has begun harassing independent journalists in a new way, pressuring landlords not to renew the leases of those who rent their houses or apartments. There have been two such incidents. On Aug. 28, Efrain Martinez Pulgaron was evicted from the room he rented; on Nov. 6, journalist Orlando Bordon was forced to leave his home because of police pressure against the owner. Following a period when the government put up a false front for the Pope's visit at the end of the year, attacks against independent journalism have intensified as has the trend for the journalists to leave the country. The main events were: October 29: The independent journalist Ana Luisa Lopez Baeza arrived in Miami following fierce harassment by State Security in recent years involving her professional work. Lopez Baeza was a journalist for CubaPress, the independent press agency founded and run by Raul Rivero. Previously she worked for the Association of Independent Journalists of Cuba (APIC) after resigning from her job at the official newspaper Tribuna de la Havana in March of 1995. October: Jose Peraza Chapeu, legal director of the Foreign Ministry, brought a libel complalnt in the Havana court against the independent journalist Manuel Viera for criticizing him in a news story on the Internet. lf found guilty, Viera, 56, could be sentenced to a year and a half in prison. October 1: Manuel Gonzalez Castellanos of CubaPress was detained for no apparent reason and his house was raided by State Security. During the violent search, his mother and young brothers were struck by police agents. On the same date, journalist Maria de los Angeles Gonzalez was summoned to appear before an official of the Interior Ministry who told her to "go into exile in Nicaragua, Venezuela, Russia or any other country that would accept you.". In another case, Bernardo Arevalo Padron, president of the agency Linea Sur Press, languishes in a provincial prison without medical attention, despite his ill health. September 16: Five State Security agents interrogated and threatened Jesus Labrador Arias, the CubaPress correspondent in Granma, in the eastern part of Cuba, for two hours. Before releasing him they drew up a "warning memorandum" which he did not sign. September 10: Juan Antonio Sanchez Rodriguez of CubaPress was detained in Havana by a National Police patrol and taken to the headquarters of State Security in Pinar del Rio. In 1997 he was imprisoned for 10 days. September 7: Journalists Maria de los Angeles Gonzalez, Luis Lopez Prendes and Ofelia Nardo Cruz were detained by State Security agents and released the next day. It is assumed that the detentions were related to their coverage of preparations for the day of the Virgin of Charity of Copper which was observed on September 8 and for reporting on a demonstration in front of a Havana court the week before to protest the sentencing of an opposition leader. In related events, two CubaPress journalists, Ana Luisa Lopez Baeza and Efren Martinez Pulgaron, were also harassed. Baeza's telephone was disconnected, and Martinez Pulgaron was suddenly evicted by his landlord for being a "counterrevolutionary." July 21: Foreign correspondents covering the opening session of the legislature were expelled. President Fidel Castro told the correspondents to leave the meeting so, he said, "we can speak freely." June: In the middle of the month it was learned that a document had been distributed at a meeting of the Communist Party of Cuba in Havana referring to independent journalists in a threatening way. "Small counterrevolutionary ... groups are confessed collaborators in the macabre plans being woven against Cuba. Their fifth column activities are part of the arsenal of weapons used by the enemy to make the revolution collapse. The self-styled 'independent journalists' are the same, defaming our people in Miami radio stations that broadcast to Cuba." The Cuban government once again denied permission to travel to journalist Raul Rivero, who had been invited to travel to Spain. The immigration authorities denied him a temporary travel permit. May 27: Ariel Tapia of CubaPress was summoned by the chief of his neighborhood's Unique System of Vigilance and Protection (SUVP). The SUVP is made up of members of the Interior Ministry, the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution and the Communist Party. In April, this same person had said in a meeting, "In this block there is a person who belongs to the self-sryled independent journalists financed by imperialism." May 3: IAPA President Oliver Clarke expressed his concern about the Cuban government's restrictions on the movement of journalists and asked the Caribbean Community (CARl COM) not to allow Cuba to join until it recognizes and respects press freedom and human rights. Clarke made this statement after the Cuban government refused to allow independent journalists Nestor Baguer and Raul Rivero to leave the country to participate in a seminar on "The Media in the Caribbean: Freedom and Understanding" in Kingston, Jamaica. May: Customs officials confiscated several foreign magazines from the director of the independent press agency CubaPress, Raul Rivero, saying that the publications had diversionary material. His telephones are also still tapped. April 28: Independent journalist Bernardo Arevalo Padron was physically attacked for allegedly distributing anti-government manifestos in the jail where he has been detained since last year. Interior Ministry employees at the Ariza jail, about 4 _ miles from Cienfuegos, struck Arevalo Padron, who, since November of 1997, has been serving a six-year prison term for the alleged crime of contempt against President Fidel Castro and Vice President Carlos Lange. April 11: Journalist Bernardo Arevalo Padron was savagely beaten by two State Security employees at Ariza prison, in the southern province Cienfuegos. The situation of journalist Lorenzo Paez Nunez has not changed. His family reports that he continues to be detained at the Kilo 5 jail in Pinar del Rio province. The state of his health is acceptable. Paez Nunez is serving an 18-month term for allegedly publishing false news.