Zenit, The World Seen From Rome
Feb. 1, 1999 Daily Dispatch
European Left Criticizes Repression of Journalists
ROME, FEB 1 (ZENIT).- "A country which does not respect freedom of the press, has nothing to share with the consensus of the democratic nations." These were the harsh words directed against Fidel Castro's Cuban regime, in an editorial of the Italian center-left newspaper 'La Repubblica.' The unusual invective was provoked by the arrest of six journalists over the last few days; one is quite ill as has been on a hunger strike, and two others have been given harsh sentences based on "fantastic accusations like 'social danger', 'violation of the norms of socialist morality' and 'insult to the maximum leader [Fidel Castro].' "
"Cuba is the only country in Latin American where freedom of the press is not recognized by law. What happens in Cuba, "continues to be culpably unnoticed in Europe, with sporadic exceptions like the publication 'Journalists Without Borders.' "
Acording to 'La Repubblica', "since 1995 some independent journalists -- with great courage and scarce means -- have tried to publish opinions in contrast to the official line. In essence, they try to publish truthful information that can be measured against official publications with titles like 'The Militant Communist', 'Adelante', 'Con la Guardia en Alto', 'Venceremos', 'Victoria' (insignificant papers inspired in the revolutionary bible 'Granma'). The independent journalists, who work in small agencies, are often arrested, jailed or exiled."
The editorial points out that the regime accuses these journalists of being "slaves of imperialism" paid by the CIA. But, "these provocations to good sense do not scandalize an international community which has decided to guarantee an unmerited credit to Fidel Castro," the editorial concludes.