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naaman fletcher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 03:08 AM
Original message
Cuban journalist survives 'hell' and emerges ready to fight
On March 18, 2003, our people endured one of the worst episodes in Cuba's history. The peaceable political dissident community, human rights defenders, trade unionists, and independent journalists, along with representatives of the emergent and democratic civil society--74 men and one woman--were the victims of the most absolute, merciless, and cruel government power.

Massive arrests took place: Our property was searched and seized, including technical and literary texts that were needed to do the job of circulating information. We were taken to political police detention centers in the capital and in provincial cities.

Next were the hellish political police interrogations in Villa Marista, state security headquarters. Later on came the summary trials without the slightest semblance of due process. Then we had the absurd judicial requests and the exaggerated sentences based on the alleged offenses. Finally, the convicted innocents were locked up in prisons, far from their home provinces. We were subjected to the worst possible living conditions: isolated in punishment cells, without lighting in the hallways, and kept under the highest possible security within the prison system.

And so began the martyrdom of the victims of the so-called Black Spring of 2003. Seventy-five Cuban freedom fighters began a period of their life that would be overrun with bitter experiences. Eventually, we would be declared political prisoners of conscience by Amnesty International.
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dipsydoodle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 04:37 AM
Response to Original message
1. Your link is defective.
Edited on Thu Apr-07-11 05:00 AM by dipsydoodle
Directs to an LA Forum post page ?
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joshcryer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 10:56 AM
Response to Original message
2. Corrected link:

RSF still lists Cuba at the bottom of their list of countries that respect free press.

Amazingly the US has "improved" since the Bush years.
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 05:39 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Democratic DU posters knew about RSF's obsession long, long ago.
There has been a lot written about it for many years, and it's been discussed here repeatedly.

A quick Wiki reference:
CubaRWB has been highly critical of press freedom in Cuba, describing the Cuban government as "totalitarian" and engages in direct campaigning against it.<40> RWB's campaign includes declarations on radio and television, full-page ads in Parisian dailies, posters, leafletting at airports, and an April 2003 occupation of the Cuban tourism office in Paris.<41>

A Paris court (tribunal de grande instance) ordered RWB to pay 6,000 Euros to the daughter and heir of Alberto Korda for non-compliance with a court order of 9 July 2003 banning it from using Korda's famous (and copyrighted) photograph of Ernesto "Che" Guevara in a beret, taken at the funeral of La Coubre victims. RWB said it was "relieved" it was not given a harsher sentence.<40><42> The face had been superimposed by RSF with that of a May 1968 CRS anti-riot police agent, and the postcard handed out at Orly Airport in Paris to tourists boarding on flights for Cuba. Korda's daughter declared to Granma that "Reporters Without Borders should call themselves Reporters Without Principles."<43> Led by Robert Mnard, RWB also burst into the Cuban Tourism Office in Paris on 4 April 2003, obstructing the running of the office for nearly four hours.<44><45> On April 24, 2003, RWB organized a demonstration outside the Cuban embassy in Paris.<44>

RWB in turn has been described as an "ultra-reactionary" organization by the official newspaper of the Central Committee of the Cuban Communist Party, Granma.<40> Tensions between Cuban authorities and RWB are high, particularly after the imprisonment in 2003 of 75 dissidents (27 journalists) by the Cuban Government, including Ral Rivero and scar Elas Biscet.

RWB has denied that its campaigning on Cuba are related to payments it has received from anti-Castro organisations. In 2004, it received $50,000 from the Miami based exile group, the Center for a Free Cuba, which was personally signed by the US State Department's Special Envoy to the Western Hemisphere, Otto Reich.<31> RWB has also received extensive funding from other institutions long critical of Fidel Castro's government, including the International Republican Institute.<46>


Reporters Without Borders

Funding Sources

Robert Menard, the Secretary General of RSF, was forced to confess that RSF's budget was primarily provided by "US organizations strictly linked with US foreign policy" (Thibodeau, La Presse).

* NED (US$39,900 paid 14 Jan 2005)
* Center for a Free Cuba (USAID and NED funded) $50,000 per year NED grant. Contract was signed by Otto Reich
* European Union (1.2m Euro) -- currently contested in EU parliament
* Rights & Democracy in 2004 supported Reporters Without Borders-Canada <1>

"Grants from private foundations (Open Society Foundation, Center for a Free Cuba, Fondation de France, National Endowment for Democracy) were slightly up, due to the Africa project funded by the NED and payment by Center for a Free Cuba for a reprint of the banned magazine De Cuba." <2>

Principal focus of RSF activities

* Cuba
* Venezuela
* Haiti

Otto Reich connection

"The man who links RSF to these activities is Otto Reich, who worked on the coups first as assistant secretary of state for Latin American affairs, and, after Nov. 2002, as a special envoy to Latin America on the National Security Council. Besides being a trustee of the government-funded Center for a Free Cuba, which gives RSF $50,000 a year, Reich has worked since the early 1980's with the IRI.'s senior vice president, Georges Fauriol, another member of the Center for a Free Cuba. But it is Reich's experience in propaganda that is especially relevant." <4>
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 06:04 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Oddly enough, RSF doesn't publish much, or often on the country which has had the Americas' record
for MURDERED journalists, and NO effort spent in bringing any murderers to trial for the terror campaigns preceding the journalists' murders.

The journalists themselves do indicate they follow a pattern of self-censorship in order to protect the LIVES of themselves and their loved ones. Some of them, the ones who can afford it, have bullet proof vehicles, and body guards for themselves and family members, as posted here, with links, over the years.
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joshcryer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 11:06 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. Are there any freedom indices you *wouldn't* have a problem with?
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 11:12 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. Thank you, Judi Lynn, for this info! So Otto Reich signed the U.S. checks (our tax dollars) for
these so-called "martyrs." Nuff said.
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