April 12, 2024

Press Freedom


Cuba October 5, 2005

H.E. Fidel Castro Ruz
Office of the President
Consejo de Estado
Plaza de la Revolución
Ciudad de la Habana
Republic of Cuba
Fax: (011.537) 81-22-71

Your Excellency:

We protest the imprisonment of yet another Cuban colleague, Alberto Santiago Du Bouchet Hernández . He joins the long list of Cubans persecuted for exercising a right to free expression — recognized throughout the world except in the most repressive dictatorships.

Hernández, we are informed, was arrested on August 6, charged with resisting arrest and showing disrespect to the police chief in Artemisa. Three days later, he was tried — without a lawyer and without the knowledge of his family — and sentenced to one year in prison. His “crime,” which in most countries would be no crime at all, was to attend the congress of the Assembly to Promote Civil Society in May, an unprecedented two-day gathering of 200 opposition activists. He reported on the event as director of an independent news agency, Havana Press.

Hernández now joins his colleague, Oscar Mario González , who was arrested on July 22 in a round-up of 33 dissidents who were planning a protest demonstration. González has been moved around among four police stations without being brought to trial. However, a judge has announced he will be tried for violating Law 88, enacted to protect “ Cuba ‘s national independence and economy.” González, who is 61 and in poor health, faces a possible sentence of 20 years in jail. As you well know, the announcement of a trial in Cuba is the same as a conviction.

Oscar Mario González is associated with the news agency, Grupo de Trabajo Decoro. Three other journalists from the same group have been jailed since the “black spring” of March, 2003, when Cuba ‘s police forces rounded up dozens of dissidents. The three are all serving long prison terms.

Reports of abuses of press freedom by your government continues to reach us: the expulsion of foreign correspondents; the mistreatment and appalling conditions suffered by those in jail; the threats against the brave few who continue to try to practice journalism. These abuses have been going on so long and have been protested so widely and so often, that we have no illusions that a letter from the Overseas Press Club will have any effect on you. But, in good conscience, we can not let these abuses pass without making a vigorous protest and reminding Your Excellency of how they affirm your government’s pariah status among free people everywhere.


Respectfully yours,
Jeremy Main
Kevin McDermott
Freedom of the Press Committee



Ambassador Bruno Rodríguez

Permanent Representative

Permanent Mission of the Republic of Cuba

to the United Nations

315 Lexington Avenue

New York , NY 10016

Fax: (212) 689-9073



Dagoberto Rodriguez Barrera

Principal Officer, Cuban Interests Section

Embassy of Switzerland

2630 Sixteenth Street, NW

Washington , DC 20009

Fax: (202) 986-7283



James C. Cason

Chief of Mission , U.S. Interests Section

Embassy of Switzerland

Calzada between L and M Streets

Vedado Seccion



Fax: (011.537) 33-37-00



Hon. Louise Arbour

Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

8-14 Avenue de la Paix

1211 Geneva 10


Fax: (011.41.22) 917-9022