From the Friends of Cuban Libraries
Date: August 31, 2000 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SWEDISH JOURNALISTS ARRESTED BEFORE LIBRARY VISIT
On Tuesday, August 29, three Swedish journalists were arrested in Havana
by agents of the State Security police; they are being held in the "Control
of Foreigners" detention center in the Miramar neighborhood of Havana. The
three journalists - Peter Goetell, Birger Thuresson and Helena Soederquist -
had travelled to Cuba on tourist visas to present workshops on freedom of the
press. The last workshop in the series was scheduled to be given at Havana's
Jorge Manach Library, which is one of approximately fifty independent
libraries in Cuba whose goal is to provide uncensored reading materials to
the people of the island nation. The Jorge Manach Library was featured in an
article in the August 3 edition of the Washington Post which was sindicated
in other newspapers. The workshops on press freedom were sponsored by the
Swedish International Liberal Center in Stockholm. The SILC is funded by
the Liberal Party with financial assistance from the Swedish government.
The arrest of the three journalists met with an angry reaction in Sweden.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Anna Lindh, demanded the release of the
imprisoned journalists. In an interview with Sweden's National Television,
Ms. Lindh stated: "It is tragic that Cuba once again demonstrates the type of
dictatorial regime that it is." In another statement, the Foreign Minister
declared: "This is sadly tragic, as it concerns a dictatorship that doesn't
accept contacts between journalists or citizens, but rather reacts in this
way to impede free discussion." The president of Sweden's Liberal Party,
Lars Leijonborg, also demanded the release of the journalists and called for
a review of Swedish foreign aid programs for Cuba.
The Cuban government has announced that the three journalists will be
deported later today.
This news has been gathered from today's Nuevo Herald and an article by
Manuel Orrio published in yesterday's edition of the CubaNet database
(www.cubanet.org), in the Independent Press section.
BACKGROUND: The Friends of Cuban Libraries, founded in June 1999, is an
independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit support group for the independent
librarians. The Friends oppose censorship and all other violations of
intellectual freedom, as defined by the International Declaration of Human
Rights, regardless of whatever political party may be in office in Cuba. We
are funded entirely by our members and do not seek or accept contributions
from other sources. For more information, contact Robert Kent
([log in to unmask]) or telephone (USA) 718-340-8494. Mailing address: 4-74
48th Avenue, Apt. 3-C, Long Island City, NY 11109 USA.