Monday, February 26, 2007

Cuba- Media Bulletin

Cuba orders three foreign journalists out of Cuba: COHA condemns move as self-destructive and wrong-minded: Statement of COHA Director, Larry Birns

COHA has consistently condemned the continuing refusal of the Bush Administration to grant travel permission for Cuban scholars and artists to visit the U.S. For example, recently, the State Department would not issue visas to allow several Cuban academics from addressing a gathering of the Latin American Studies Association.

COHA also condemned Havana’s expulsion, almost two decades ago, of reporters for Reuters and Agence France Presse. While a foreign journalist’s right to be accredited by Havana is not unlimited, it is destructive for this right to be exercised frivolously and as a weapon. This is what the Cuban government appears to have done in this most recent case, and it is unfortunate that this action is sure to bring on negative consequences in terms of Cuba’s reputation.

In the past several years, COHA has worked closely with Gary Marx of the Chicago Tribune, giving him its thoughts on various themes upon which he was writing, as well as with the other two media organizations. While we haven’t directly worked with El Universal’s Havana office, we have had good reason to believe that it is a newspaper of rectitude. As for the BBC, we frequently have been interviewed by its World Service on Cuban issues and they always have posed appropriate, non-propagandistic questions.

According to our experience, all three of these organizations have been entirely professional in their Cuban operations. What is particularly surprising about the Tribune’s Gary Marx is that he always has had a well earned reputation of striving to be meticulously fair and balanced in his coverage of Cuban issues. Perhaps there is a case to be made against the three journalists; if so, we haven’t heard nor seen it.

Throughout the world there are organizations like COHA who energetically work for the U.S. to commit itself to be constructively engaged when it comes to Cuba and throw over all barriers to the exchanges of various kinds, including the freedom to travel and an openness to new ideas, and certainly to terminate the embargo, Havana’s action has now delivered a counter-productive and harmful blow against this advocacy of pluralism.

One can derive some satisfaction that Havana’s action was not technically an expulsion, but a non-renewal of credentials. Cuban officials would be wise to use this wiggle room to reverse their action and thereby make a valuable contribution to the creation of an open society, both in the U.S. and Cuba, in trying to advance the normalization of relations between the two neighbors.


Anonymous said...

Your article re Cuba tosing out a few reporters is based on ignorance. Have your read Gary Marx's articles--really read them? It is a good thing COHA is not running Cuba. If it were Cuba would have been down the drain long ago, and the millions of lives they have saved with their doctors would not have been saved and the millions of people they have educated in literacy would would still be illiterate. This is a country that has overcome more than any other country in the world. It has the only true participatory decomocracy of which I am aware. There is no earthly nor "spiritual" reason they should have to tolerate the Western media lies. I advise COHA to get real or get out of the business of promoting deception.
Socialism or Nothing!
Joan Malerich

Anonymous said...

Joan, what a joke. Cuba has been been living on handouts for years. First the Soviet Union and now Venezuala. If it really operated by itself it would be farther down the toilet bowl than it is now. Cuba is a loser and so is any kind of socialism.

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