IAPA pleased by launch of independent magazine in Cuba

Miami (December 27, 2002) – The Inter American Press Association (IAPA)
applauds the launch of a new publication from the independent press in Cuba
which according to the hemispheric organization will be another promotional
tool and a window of opportunity to inform without government restrictions.

A special edition of the 52-page magazine, De Cuba, began circulation last
week in Havana. The Manuel Márquez Sterling Society, an association not
recognized by Cuban authorities dedicated to the teaching of journalism courses
for independent journalists, sponsors the new bi-monthly publication.

IAPA President, Andrés García, stated that “it is our intention
to promote this new window of opportunity to obtain information without censorship.
We are aware that this iniciative brings along risks for the men and women who
strive to inform. We also know that this space will open up other spaces which
will ultimately lead to the dream of all good people: a free Cuba where individual
rights and guarantees are respected.”

García, publisher of Novedades de Quintana Roo, in Mexico, referred
to Law 88, also known as the Gag Law, in effect since 1999, which raises the
level of offense and punishment with imprisonment for printing information about
Cuba that does not meet government standards. “The independent journalists
run the risk of being harassed, imprisoned, beaten, routinely detained and even
having materials confiscated from them preventing them from carrying out their
work,” he added.

Rafael Molina, Chairman of the Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information,
mentioned that the IAPA, “will continue to denounce the lack of freedoms
in Cuba and attempts by the government to close the cracks which the independent
journalists try so hard to find.”

Molina, from Ahora magazine, of the Dominican Republic, added that “to
express oneself freely and to have access to information from different sources,
is one of the main challenges of the journalists that make up the independent
press agencies; a challenge the IAPA is determined to support.”

Both IAPA officers agreed that the magazine will be another promotional tool
for the independent press, a window of opportunity, and a way to prepare journalism
in Cuba for democracy.

De Cuba will have regular sections on culture and sports, interviews, news,
and current events. The first edition included stories from independent journalists
and interviews with opposition leaders, Martha Beatriz Roque and Vladimiro Roca,
co-authors of the work critical of government politics, La Patria es de Todos
(The Homeland is for All), written in 1997, and whom were imprisoned for several
years for its content.

Journalist Ricardo González Alfonso is the publisher and journalists
Tania Quintero, Claudia Márquez, and Luis Cino form the Editorial Board.
Raúl Rivero, Regional Vice Chairman of the IAPA’s Committee on
Freedom of the Press and Information for Cuba, is the magazine’s advisor.

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