Spanish news agency may be forced out of Cuba 'within weeks'

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The Spanish news agency, EFE, has been reporting from Cuba for almost 50 years, but its president has warned it may have to leave the country within weeks as the Cuban government clamps down on independent journalism.
“We don’t want to leave Cuba. The problem is that they are kicking us out of Cuba. We only have two accredited journalists there and one of these has to renew their visa every month,” said Gabriela Cañas, during a phone call in Madrid to Voices Of America.
“We are not going to leave out of our own choice. We are the international media that reports the most from Cuba. The [Cuban government] wants to force us out,” she said, adding that EFE would have to decide its future “within weeks.”
The Spanish news agency is looking into as many options as it can to stay and is hoping that the new Cuban ambassador to Madrid, Marcelino Medina, may be able to act as an intermediary.
Typically, the EFE news agency has seven journalists reporting from Havana, but currently, only two have permission to work. In November, Havana revoked the press credentials for three editors, a camera operator and a photographer. No reason for the decision was provided.
At the time of the revoked credentials, EFE had been covering protests and the lead-up to the Civic March for Change. Havana issued a ban on the protest that had been calling for greater civil rights.
There was widespread outcry over the decisions made by the Cuban Government, which led to them reinstating the press credentials for one editor and one photographer. The agency’s new bureau chief has still not been granted a visa, however, even though the application was submitted in July.
Cañas believes EFE was singled out by the Cuban government because of its reach. “Practically half the news in Latin America about Cuba comes from us, but I do not have the answer. You will have to ask [the Cuban government],” Cañas said, as reported by Voices Of America.

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Written by

Claire Gordon


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