International Pen: Resolution on Cuba
International Pen: Resolution on Cuba
The Assembly of Delegates of International PEN, meeting at its 72nd
International Congress in Berlin, Germany from 22nd to 28th May
Deeply concerned that the Cuban government continues to carry out an
appalling policy of repression against writers, independent journalists
and librarians – repression that has increased recently with a wave of
new arrests – in spite of international calls on the Cuban government
for more democratic openings within the field of human rights, including
freedom of expression.
Alarmed on account of the fact that there are currently 28 writers,
independent journalists and librarians sentenced to lengthy prison terms
for attempting to carry out independent journalism and practice their
right to free speech. They have been charged under Law 88 of 1999 which
allows for long jail sentences that deter journalists and writers from
exercising their freedom of expression.
Dismayed that these journalists, writers and librarians are kept in
prisons that lack humane conditions and, in many cases, in prisons that
are a great distance from their families, which makes it very difficult,
and at times impossible, for their relatives to visit them.
Concerned that many of these prisoners are in a very poor state of
health and lack adequate medical attention in prison, a situation that
puts their lives at risk.
Among these prisoners are the following:
RICARDO GONZALEZ ALFONSO, short story writer, poet and journalist,
editor of the literary magazine ‘De Cuba’ and founder of the Manuel
Márquez Sterling School of Independent Journalism – both of which have
been banned by the government; and author of the book of poetry ‘Hombres
sin rostro’ [‘Faceless men’]; arrested in March 2003 and serving a
20-year prison sentence.
REGIS IGLESIAS RAMIREZ, fiction writer and poet, author of the book
‘Historias gentiles antes de la Resurrección’ (‘All Blues and Tomorrow
Songs’), sentenced to 18 years’ imprisonment in March 2003 for his work
with the Varela Project.
Also in prison since March 2003 and in poor health are the journalists
OMAR RODRIGUEZ SALUDES, VICTOR ROLANDO ARROYO, ADOLFO FERNANDEZ SAINZ,
MIGUEL GALVAN GUTIERREZ, JOSE LUIS GARCIA PANEQUE and PEDRO ARGÜELLES MORAN.
Alarmed by the fact that the independent journalists JORGE OLIVERA, EDEL
JOSE GARCIA DIAS and OSCAR ESPINOSA CHEPE – who were freed from prison
in 2004 – have been denied permission by the Cuban government to leave
the country, despite the fact that the United States Interests Office in
Havana has granted them their visas.
Concerned that those few writers and librarians who have been released
on ‘conditional licences’ (licencias extrapenales) have been subjected
to police harassment or aggression from crowds organised by the authorities.
Disappointed that the Cuban government has not quashed the so-called
Security of Information Law that impedes Cubans from using internet
services, these being reserved for use by those who work for official
Urges the Cuban government to release unconditionally all the writers,
journalists and librarians who have been imprisoned for carrying out
their profession and cultural activities independent of official
Demands that the Cuban government allow the aforementioned independent
journalists to leave the country since they have been granted visas to
travel to the United States where their relatives are already living.
This would bring the Cuban government into line with Article 13 of the
UN Declaration of Human Rights.
Urges the Cuban government to quash Law 88 of 1999 as well as the
Security of Information Law, on the grounds that it prohibits citizens
independent of the State from accessing information freely via the
internet; and to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights which guarantees freedom of expression and information.
http://www.miscelaneasdecuba.net/web/article.asp?artID=5755Tags: arrested, expression, freedom, Germany, health, human rights, journalist, Oscar Espinosa Chepe, police, prison, school, travel, Varela