Friday 12/3/21
PRESS FREEDOM

Ahead of protests, Cuba revokes work permits for Spanish news agency

It's the first time that an entire news service's work has been shut down on the island nation
FILED - A man with a mouth-and-nose guard walks in front of a mural of former Cuban President Fidel Castro. In Cuba, 5310 people have contracted Covid-19. Photo: Guillermo Nova/dpa
A man with a mouth-and-nose guard walks in front of a mural of former Cuban President Fidel Castro. Photo: Guillermo Nova/dpa/File photo.

The work permits of all journalists with Spain's EFE news agency have been suspended in Cuba, a decision that comes a day ahead of protests called by the opposition that have been expressly forbidden by the government.

It's the first time that an entire news service's work has been shut down on the island nation, wrote Atahualpa Amerise, EFE's bureau chief, on Twitter on Sunday.

Amerise said Efe's five reporters were called to the international press centre on Saturday. According to the Europa Press news agency, they were then told that their permits to work as journalists had been revoked.

It is not clear if the revocation is permanent or not. EFE recently ran an interview with one of the leaders of the banned marches, playwright Yunior Garcia Aguilera.

Gabriela Canas, the news agency's president, called upon Cuba to "reconsider" its decision.

Decision criticized

"The EFE agency is an objective and responsible medium, which has reported on this island for more than 40 years and does understand the reasons for this step," she said, according to Europa Press.

Amnesty International also criticized the move.

Spontaneous protests broke out in Cuba on 11 July, the largest it had seen in decades, with people calling for freedom and economic reforms. There were hundreds of arrests.

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