Thursday, July 31, 2014

Independent Cuban journalists in Miami for training

Posted on Wednesday, 07.30.14

Independent Cuban journalists in Miami for training

The nine independent Cuban journalists said that authorities have
detained them a total of more than 400 times, usually for reporting news
that the Cuban government tries to hide from the island nation's 11
million people.

One said he uses eight home printers to publish his newsletter, but only
two are currently working because ink cartridges are so expensive.
Another said he boldly delivers his newsletter to his local Communist
Party and government authorities.

They are part of a group of 12 independent Cuban journalists in Miami
for three weeks of training on multimedia journalism and the use of
smart phones to add quality photos and videos to their reporting. On
Wednesday, the nine visited El Nuevo Herald.

With the Cuban government controlling all mass media, including
newspapers, television and radio stations, independent or dissident
journalists are technically working illegally and are regularly detained
and harassed by State Security officers.

Among the nine were a dentist, a man who studied law, a nurse, a
chemist, a former worker at a printing plant and even a former
lieutenant colonel in the Interior Ministry, in charge of domestic security.

They publish newsletters on paper or digital memories such as USB flash
drives, or send their reports to webpages based abroad, where island
residents can read them. Supporters also can send the reports back to
Cuba on flash drives, CDs and DVDs.

Roberto de Jesus Guerra, 35, said he spent three years in prison and has
been detained more than 180 times for his work as founder and director
of the Hablemos Press news agency in Havana, which focuses on denouncing
government abuses.

The agency also prints 400-600 copies of a newsletter with four to eight
pages twice a month, and distributes them around Havana. Three of his
contributors also have spent time in prison, added Guerra, who said he
milked cows before turning to journalism.

Raul Luis Risco Perez said he served as a lieutenant colonel in the
Interior Ministry and fought in Angola before joining the opposition
Alianza Democrática in Pinar del Rio province. He has been briefly
detained about 200 times, Risco said.

His newsletter focuses more on "social journalism," he said, and he
delivers it to Communist Party and government officials in the province
to show that he is working above-board, if illegally.

Cuba's government has alleged that all such programs are designed to
undermine its communist system and branded dissidents as "mercenaries"
hired to attack the Castro revolution.

Source: Independent Cuban journalists in Miami for training - Cuba - -

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