17 March 2007

RSF Commemorates "Black Spring"

Reporters Without Borders continues its tireless fight to call attention to the repression and brutality of the hard-line communist regime in Havana.

Cuba has the highest number of reporters imprisoned, per capita. Some 25 languish in Castro's gulags just for trying to tell a story. Many,20 to be exact, where rounded up between March 18, 2003 and March 21, 2003; what we now call "Black Spring" and solemnly commemorate this weekend.

Spring just as sombre for independent press four years after Black Spring crackdown

Four years after the March 2003 crackdown, Cuba still has 270 prisoners of conscience including 25 journalists, which makes the island the world’s second biggest prisoner for the press after China, Reporters Without Borders said today, after staging a protest at Cuba’s stand in the international tourism fair in Paris.

Some 30 Reporters Without Borders activists demonstrated today in front of Cuba’s stand at the tourism fair in Paris, unfurling banners, putting up posters and demanding the release of the 25 journalists detained in Cuba. Wearing black T-shirts with the words “Cuba = prison,” they covered the stand with adhesive black stripes symbolising the bars of a prison. Reporters Without Borders also demonstrated in front of the Tunisian and Egyptian stands.

Unfortunately, as RSF, reminds us, Cuba's "Black Spring" has been a perpetual one. Even journalists that are not jailed are not safe from the regime's viciousness and vindictiveness. Their brutal attempts to silence the voice of the Cuban people knows no bounds. Repression and brutality rule.

Whether or not they are imprisoned, Cuba’s independent journalists have been having a particularly trying March. Twenty of them, who have been held ever since the March 2003 “Black Spring” and who are serving jail terms ranging from 14 to 27 years, continue to be mistreated by their guards and their health has suffered.

Examples of the horrific treatment that Cuban independent journalist must endure here

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