Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Cuba’s revolving cell door

As the saying goes: “the more things change, the more they stay the same.”

Last week, blogger and “independent Cuban journalist” Dania Garcia was freed from a jail on the island while she appealed charges of “abuse of authority”. The 23 year-old had been sentenced last month to twenty months in prison after allegedly fighting with her daughter over her criticism of the Castro regime.

According to Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Garcia has been identified as a supporter of dissident protesters the Ladies in White and her blog has ties to “a radical anti-Castro group based in Miami." A statement on RSF’s website on Friday also advocated that 25 other jailed journalists be freed by Cuban authorities.

While the cell door opened for the freeing of one journalist another one seemed to take her place. RSF denounced the arrest “with force” of Calixto Ramon Martinez Arias who had been covering the death via hunger strike of jailed dissident Orlando Zapata Tamayo. According to RSF the Cuban police have not revealed details beyond charging him with striking a policeman, a charge that Arias denied:
Noting that Cuban authorities “have offered no details about what allegedly took place” when Martinez was detained, RSF suggested prosecutors “themselves are not sure what they are claiming.”

While being transferred from one jail to another on April 30, Martinez took the opportunity to denounce the charges against him as unfounded.

“This is an invention designed to stop my work and neither the police nor the prosecutor’s office can agree on the lies they are going to use to convict me,” he said.
Is it any wonder why RSF deemed Cuban president Raul Castro as one of forty global “predators” against the press?

Image- ABC.es (“Dania Garcia, at left, in a photo from her website showing her at a Ladies in White protest.”)
Online Sources- The Latin Americanist, BBC News, LAHT, CNN, Miami Herald, MSNBC

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