Cuba

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WHEREAS there has been no freedom of expression in Cuba for 44 years WHEREAS the Cuban government is holding 32 independent journalists in poor conditions, with terrible food and insufficient medical care, subjected to physical and psychological mistreatment WHEREAS Raúl Rivero, a member of the IAPA Board of Directors and regional vice chairman of the Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, is among those serving long sentences WHEREAS UNESCO awarded the World Press Freedom Prize to Raúl Rivero, a member of the IAPA Board of Directors and regional vice chairman of the Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information WHEREAS a dozen of the imprisoned journalists, most of them elderly, are seriously ill, and six of them are hospitalized with life-threatening conditions WHEREAS journalists Carlos Alberto Domínguez, Léster Téllez Castro and Carlos Brizuela have been in custody for more than two years without going to trial in an obvious violation of their rights WHEREAS the authorities are continuing a relentless policy of harassment, searches of homes, temporary detentions, fines and even violent attacks in the street against about 30 independent journalists who remain active in the country, defying the police repression WHEREAS the government, through a new resolution by the Computer and Communications Ministry (MIC), has put up a new barrier restricting Cubans’ already limited access to the Internet, preventing access to the Web through the state telephone system, which is the only one available on the island WHEREAS Principle 2 of the Declaration of Chapultepec says, “Every person has the right to seek and receive information, express opinions and disseminate them freely. No one may restrict or deny these rights” WHEREAS Principle 4 of the Declaration of Chapultepec says, “Freedom of expression and of the press are severely limited by murder, terrorism, kidnapping, pressure, intimidation, the unjust imprisonment of journalists, the destruction of facilities, violence of any kind and impunity for perpetrators. Such acts must be investigated promptly and punished harshly” THE MIDYEAR MEETING OF THE IAPA RESOLVES to demand the immediate release of the imprisoned journalists and the end of harassment of independent professionals who try to disseminate their ideas, opinions and news inside and outside the country to congratulate itself on the awarding of the 2004 World Press Freedom Prize by UNESCO to Raúl Rivero, and recommend that on Press Freedom Day, May 3, 2004, all members pay tribute to Rivero, our colleague in Cuban prison, and once again demand his release to request the intervention of democratic governments, humanitarian, professional and religious institutions and the international community to demand expedited release and adequate medical treatment for the sick and elderly journalists whose lives are at risk under conditions in the prisons to demand the suspension of government bans that increase state control on use of the Internet and bar Cuban citizens from options for free access to information provided by the new communications technologies.

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