Published on Monday 21 February 2011.
Iván Hernández Carrillo, a correspondent for the small independent news
agency Pátria, returned to his family home in Matanzas province on 19
February after eight years in jail. Sentenced to 25 years in prison
during the March 2003 "Black Spring" crackdown on dissidents, he is the
second of the "Black Spring" journalists to be allowed the stay in Cuba
following their release.
The first was Héctor Maseda Gutiérrez, who was freed nine days ago. All
the others had to agree to go into exile in return for their release.
Hernández has said he plans to resume working as an independent journalist.
Pedro Argüelles Morán is now the only "Black Spring" journalist still
awaiting release. We hope he will be freed soon, like Albert Santiago Du
Bouchet, an independent journalist who has been jailed since 2009. We
are also still waiting to know the exact reasons for former Spanish
producer and journalist Sebastián Martínez Ferrate's detention in Havana
since 11 July 2010.
We welcome the fact that the government is finally turning the page on
the "Black Spring," a harrowing chapter in Cuba's recent history, and we
urge it to take this further by respecting the rights of all its
citizens, bloggers and human rights activities, who are demanding more
freedom of expression.
The repression must stop and the authorities must accept the principle
of pluralism. Recent encouraging signs of an opening, including the
unblocking of certain blogs and websites, will hopefully pave the way
for a real debate between government and civil society.