CUBA A climate of persecution of intellectual and news activities has increased drastically in Cuba, with strange and draconian punishments far things not considered crimes elsewhere in the world. This report, perhaps the longest and most extensive chronicle of free speeeh abuses in Cuba, is backed by verified specific names, addresses, dates and additional documentation. In the last few weeks, members of the Association of lndependent Journalists of Cuba (APIC) have been attacked individually in the streets of Havana. The campaign against this small but influential independent journalists' association is not an isolated attack on press freedom. Foreign correspondents have also been beaten up when they have tried to interview dissidents. They have been arbitrarily expelled from the eountry and have had their journalistic equipment and material destroyed or confiseated. Much of this repression is unofficial, carried out by plainclothes operators, but clearly officially sanctioned. Victims of these attacks are ignored in the police stations and when they go to hospitals, they are treated, but medical authorities refuse te file a denunciation, as required by law. Cuban intellectuals who have written or signed statements or articles, which in some way could be interpreted as anti-government, have been jailed or removed from their jobs, with no prospect of other employment. The use of so-called "brigades of rapid response" against writers and intellectuals has been stepped up, and in at least one case the editorial staff of an official newspaper was employed in an "act of repudiation" against a human rights activist. Such attaeks are launched against the homes of people who have been fingered by the Department of State Security. Since last April, there have been several serious infringements of press freedom. They include the case of APIC, founded in Cuba several years ago by Huber Jerez, now in exile, and Yndamiro Restano, now in jail, and other now-exiled or jailed journalists. The organization was started up again earlier this year with new leaders to "defend the rights of press professionals who have decided to assume the responsibility which their profession demands towards their country and its citizens' The organization states, "We have as our purpose to defend freedom of expression and the press, the undeniable basis of mankind's full dignity." APIC has also called for the total elimination of press censorship and the establishment of independent and private media. The organization defines itself as a totally apolitical journalists' association, to which media professionals of "all tendencies" can belong. "Our association is a project which tries to establish the basis of professional validity so that when there is a political change, we can operate as a free press," stated Elias Valentin Noa, an APIC vice-president, who left Cuba August 28. He indicated that the organization has only about ten official members, but said that almost half of Cuba's journalists had expressed interest in participation. Last May, APIC asked the government for official recognition as an association in order to hold legal meetings and attract new members. Its leaders were all working journalists in good standing. Noa was editorial director of Radio Cadena Habana and the group's president, Néstor S. Baguer, a member of the Cuban Royal Academy of the Language, was director of cultural programming for the same radio station, having warked far many years in Cuba's official news agency. The proeess of official intimidation began a few weeks after the petition for government approval was submitted. Rolando Pratt, one of the key journalists in the reactivation of the organizatian, was attacked near his house in July. On August 3, Baguer and Noa were arrested and questioned for several hours about APIC. They were told their organization was strictly illegal and that its activities would not be tolerated. On August 10, APIC secretary Bernardo Marqués, copy editor at the literary magazine El Caimán Barbudo was beaten up by two men as he was leaving the home of APIC treasurer Raúl Rivero. Marqués tried to file an official complaint at a nearby poliee station, but could not find anyone to take it. Then, on August 18, Baguer was involved in a strange accident when a cydist gave him a karate chop on a Havana street. Although the APIC president required three stitches in his head, hospital authorities refused to issue a certifieate that he had been injured or to file a report themselves to the government, as required by law. An APIC vice-president, who asked that his name not be used, was attacked four days later on a main street in Miramar by two individuals, who beat him up and stole his walet. Noa asserted: "The creatian of an association undermines the offieial press beeause it establishes the desire of the majority of press professionals for a radical change in the media. journalists feel badly about the way in which they must do their job at the present time. They maintain a two-faced attitude at work, but they are disenchanted." As Noa left Cuba from the Havana airport August 28 with a six-month official permission, he was again detained and questioned about APIC activities, and again told the association would not be tolerated. Another important infringement of press liberty is the case of Freneh journalist Bertrand de la Grange. The Le Monde correspondent for Central America was attacked May 23 by two beefy men, using Interior Ministry vehides. La Grange, who had visited Cuba on many occasions, was surveilled for days as he interviewed Cuban dissidents. On arrival by taxi at the home of Vladimiro Roca, a government official who had reeently made public his opposition to the regime, La Grange was "fierecly attacked, beaten savagely in the face and other parts of the body, and left bleeding and unconscious," according to reports from human rights organizations on the island. The attack was interrupted with the arrival of Roca's wife, who screamed for help. The assailants escaped in a white government Lada without license plates, taking the journalist's camera and notebooks. A police patrol subsequently took La Grange to a hospital and then to a police station, where it was established that he had arrived in the country on a tourist visa without official press accreditation. He was expelled from Cuba. A third case involves Angela de la Coba, 57, president of the Committee of Independent Mothers (CIM), who wrote an artide about the organization and distributed it to the media. In the artide, De la Coba, mother of political prisoner Orlando Domínguez de la Coba, described how CIM was trying to gather signatures for a petition to obtain amnesty for political prisoners. The artide was not published, and no reporters came to interview De la Coba, but on April 7, two automobiles with a dozen Union of Cuban journalists reporters arrived at her home. The journalists began to scream at the woman and stood on the staircase of her house, tearing up the notes she had sent to the press. They accused her of being a CIA agent and an enemy of Cuba. The journalists then staged a similar attack at the house of another CIM member, Haydee Marrero, although she was not at home during the incident. Her neighbors suffered the brunt of the verbal attacks. Another incident concerns Royal Academy of the Language member Manuel Díaz Martínez, who was dismissed from his job on a Radio Enciclopedia Popular edueation program and attacked repeatedly in the juventud Rebelde newspaper after he signed a document supporting a democratic system and known as the "Declaration of the Ten." Subsequently, he resigned from a Foreign Ministry position he held. His case is not isolated. In the last few months, according to both APIC and human rights organizations, at least 48 journalists and intellectuals have been fired because of participation or collaboration with groups such as APIC or because of the signing of documents supporting democracy. The dismissed journalists were from the official media, induding the news agency Prensa Latina, cultural magazine Revolución, Radio Cadena Habana,juventud Rebelde and Trabajadores. The repression extends not only to journalists, but to writers. Roberto Luque Escalona, whose book "Fidel, el juicio de la Historia" was published in Mexico in 1990, while he was still residing in Cuba, was continually subject to attacks and "acts of repudiation" and then arrest. He was finally allowed to leave the country on june 18, but his 18-year-old son Ernesto was detained at the airport and refused permission te travel, even though he had an exit visa. After an unsuccessful week-long hunger strike beginning September 16 in New York, Luque offered to return to Cuba to face charges in exchange for his son's freedom. The government did not respond. The poet Marla Elena Cruz Varela and the journalist Yndamiro Restano were arrested and jailed as a result of their activities and writings in defense of human rights. According to Americas Watch, more than 200 human rights monitors have been jailed in Cuba since 1989. Luis Alberto Pita Santos and other members of the Association of Human Rights Defenders were arrested after participating in a press conference with foreign journalists. Official declarations have recently attacked intellectual dissent and collaboration with the foreign press. Recent arrests include that of Ceipo Borrego, director of the television program "Jóven-Jóven," who dropped leaflets against the government from a bathroom window of the Cuban Radio and Television headquarters. Dr. Santiago Medina Corzo was arrested for hanging up a poster in support of Maria Elena Cruz Varela and democratic freedoms. Others have been arrested for distributing pamphlets and shouting anti-government slogans.