The Inter American Press Association has urged that respect for freedom of expression and of the press in Cuba be a key part in the talks between the governments of Raúl Castro and Barack Obama following the announcement of normalization of diplomatic relations after 53 years.
Association President Gustavo Mohme declared, “This good gesture between the two governments carries with it the great opportunity for Cuba to be required to respect human rights, freedom of expression and press freedom, that it release jailed independent journalists and comply with what is stipulated about these issues in international treaties.”
Mohme warned that “the initiation of new relations cannot remain in just a political agreement on the exchange of spies, but involve all human rights, which makes necessary the release of journalists and everyone jailed for their way of thinking.”
The Castro government is keeping imprisoned three journalists: Yoennis de Jesús Guerra García, Ángel Santiesteban-Prats and José Antonio Torres. Juliet Micheleba Díaz, arrested on April 7, was released on Nov. 14. “To them we express our deep solidarity and we will work on insisting on their release,” Mohme added.
“Any attempt at dialogue will be doomed to failure if there does not exist a will to guarantee individual and collective freedoms and transparency nor respect for the work of journalists and the public’s right to information,” declared Mohme, editor of the Lima, Peru, newspaper La República.
“In this dialogue freedom of expression and of the press should be an essential part. The government of Cuba must assume great responsibilities at this time of opening.”