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Lack Of Press Freedom In Cuba

Reporters Without Borders, a Paris-based independent monitoring group, has issued a written statement welcoming the release of Ahmed Rodriguez Albacia, a journalist in Cuba and member of the independent news agency Jovenes sin Censura [Young People Without Censorship]. Mr. Rodriguez had been detained for four days by state security officers. Reporters Without Borders said it will "continue to monitor this case closely as the authorities ordered Rodriguez to stop working as a journalist."

Reporters Without Borders noted that Mr. Rodriguez's arrest came as Cuba assumed the rotating presidency of the world's nonaligned movement at a summit meeting held in Havana. It said that as president of that movement, Cuba should ensure respect for human rights and civil liberties.

Reporters Without Borders also said, "Cuba is the second biggest prison in the world for journalists, after China, with twenty-three journalists behind bars."

Those imprisoned include Ricardo Gonzales Alfonso, founder of the magazine De Cuba. In July, Cuban journalists Roberto de Jesus Guerra Perez and Oscar Mario Gonzales Perez marked their first anniversary in a Cuban prison. They have yet to be charged with any crime. Mr. Guerra is a contributor to Radio Marti and to the Payolibre and Nueva Presenta Cubana Internet websites. Mr. Gonzales is a founder of the Grupo de Trabajo Decoro, an independent Cuban news agency.

U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack commented on the curbs on press freedom in Cuba:

"It's a sad situation where the Cuban people are suffering and freedom of expression is virtually nonexistent in Cuba."

A recent report by the U.S. Commission for Assistance to a Free Cuba says that restoring freedom of the press in Cuba "will be essential to securing free and fair multiparty elections." U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says, "all free societies carry the responsibility to press restrictive governments to allow an open press."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.