Cholera in Cuba
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Independent reporter released after seven months in detention

Independent reporter released after seven months in detention

Published on Wednesday 10 April 2013.

Reporters Without Borders hails yesterday's release of Calixto Ramón

Martínez Arias, an independent reporter for the Hablemos Press

information centre, after several weeks of mounting calls for his

release from Cuban civil society and international organizations.

On being freed, Martínez immediately went to Hablemos Press

headquarters, where fellow independent journalists Roberto de Jesús

Guerra Pérez, Denis Noa Machines and Gerardo Younel Ávila Perdomo had

begun a hunger strike the day before to press for his release.

Another journalist, David Águila Montero, had joined the protest at

Hablemos Press yesterday, while many journalists in the provinces –

including Daniel Millet Jiménez, Fernando Vázquez Guerra and Misael

Canet Velázquez in Camagüey, and David Águila Montero and Luis Manuel

Fumero – followed suit.

Martínez had himself staged three hunger strikes since his arrest on 16

September 2012. The first was from 10 November to 13 December. He began

the second on 6 March and ended it on 29 March, after the authorities

promised to free him. Still in detention 10 days later, he began the

third one on 8 April, with his Hablemos Press colleagues immediately

taking it up.

Martínez was arrested for revealing the existence of dengue and cholera

epidemics, which the government confirmed a few days later. He had been

facing a possible three-year sentence on a charge of insulting the

president although the charge was never officially confirmed and he was

never tried.

While his release is to be welcomed, it must not divert attention from

the continuing harassment of independent journalists and bloggers, and

the fate of other detainees such as Luis Antonio Torres, a reporter for

the official daily Granma, held since May 2011, and the writer Ángel

Santiesteban-Prats, author of a blog called "Los hijos que nadie quiso",

held since 28 February.,44361.html

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