Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Voices In Cuba’s Official Press Question Dismissal Of Radio Holguin Journalist

Voices In Cuba's Official Press Question Dismissal Of Radio Holguin
Journalist / 14ymedio, Mario Penton

14ymedio, Mario Penton, Miami, 27 August 2016 — Jose Ramirez Pantoja,
the journalist recently fired from Holguin Radio, never imagined that
some colleagues from the official press would come to his support. This
unusual situation has arisen following the statements by the vice
president of the Cuban Journalists Union (UPEC), Aixa Hevia, who in an
article titled "If It Quacks Like a Duck," attacked the correspondent,
insinuating that he was trying to create a back story so that he could
"move to the Miami press."

Hevia did not leave it there, but also suggested expelling from
CubaUruguayan journalist Fernando Ravsberg for coming to the defense of
the ousted journalist from Holguin, which has provoked pandemonium in
the "Revolutionary blogosphere."

After two months of silence, since his internet account was suspended,
Ramirez published a new article on his blog Verdadecuba under the title
"Where is the ethics of Aixa Hevia?" In the article he not only
expresses his appreciation for the solidarity of his colleagues across
the island, but castigates the "ugly, low and irresponsible" attitude of
UPEC's vice president.

In early August, the ethics committee of the Association of Official
Journalists expelled Ramirez Pantoja from his job and deprived him of
the right to exercise his profession. His sin: having published the
words of the deputy director of the official Party newspaper Granma on
his personal blog.

" 'If it quacks like a duck…'* my grandmother used to say, when behind
certain events the real intentions were visible," Hevia wrote in
reference to Jose Ramirez, insinuating later that this was how a
journalist sought to "cross over" to the Miami media.

"The accusation launched against me in this venomous and repulsive
commentary by the first vice president of UPEC is ugly, low and
irresponsible," responded Ramirez, who in a conversation with 14ymedio
explained that he was unaware of the impact of that had been generated
by the measure taken against him. "Once I was expelled from the media
they cut off my internet access. Thanks to a friend I heard about what
was happening," he said.

According to Ramirez, many colleagues in the profession have openly
supported his cause. "The profession has shown a lot of solidarity,
especially in other parts of the country. In Holguin there are no
comments for or against it because the actions taken have made the
journalists afraid."

In this Friday's publication, Ramirez cited Arnaldo Mirabal Hernández,
from the newspaper Girón, in Matanzas, who said that the fact that
"perhaps tomorrow Pantojo will show up in some other media, whether in
Florida or on Cochinchina [Vietnam], does not mean that he was not
unjustly and arbitrarily expelled from the media, and that we of UPEC,
far from defending him, we injure him."

For the journalist from Holguin this experience has opened his eyes to
the need for another kind of journalism on the island, "more serious,
closer to the people, to people's needs, to the problems that affect

With regards to his case, Ramirez explains that he is confident that
justice will finally triumph and everyone's interests would become
clear. "If the court rules against me, I will look for another job. I
will work in something, even if it is not journalism, but I don't know
how I will make a living. If the court rules in my favor, even then I
don't know what I will do."

Ramirez says it is impossible to consider Hevia's declarations as
something separate from the journalists' organization. "When they
sanctioned me they told me that even though the blog where I published
Karina Marron's words was personal, I was still a Radio Holguin
journalist and so the same responsibility applies to Hevia," he added.

According to the journalist, Hevia's intentions are clear: to prejudge
the National Ethics Committee that is considering his case. "She is not
just any journalist, behind all of this that she wrote are very bad

Karina Marron, deputy director of the official newspaper Granma has not
commented on what happened with Ramirez Pantoja.

Fernando Ravsberg published an article entitled "Journalists, Bad News
And Expulsions," in which he claims that the campaign against his blog,
Cartas desde Cuba, "is going to extremes." Although he affirms that it
is not about a personal matter, he regrets that "the extremists spend
years trying to stop the development of the new journalism that is being
born, including within the official media."

*Translator's note: The original expression in Cuban Spanish is: If it
is green and spiky it's a soursop.

Source: Voices In Cuba's Official Press Question Dismissal Of Radio
Holguin Journalist / 14ymedio, Mario Penton – Translating Cuba -

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