4

National Circle of Journalists from Cuba Passes on Honoring a Cuban Journalist

^
Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Miami and help keep the future of New Times free.

For the first time in its 15-year history, the National Circle of Journalists from Cuba did not give out an award recognizing a heroic colleague on the mainland when they commemorated Cuban Journalist Day on October 25.

It wasn't that reporters on the island were no longer risking arrest by stealthily passing information to a foreign correspondent. Or that there weren't still those posting anonymous blogs on the tightly State-controlled Internet. Or even that mimeographed dispatches were no longer being surreptitiously distributed.

The problem, group leaders say, was that the circle couldn't contact any of the candidates to inform them they would be winning an award that could place them "at great risk."

"There is a repressive wave in Cuba that has risen," says Jose R. Carreño, the group's president and a former political prisoner under the Castro regime. "We tried to make contact through various means."

"Before, we just made a phone call or used the internet," says the group's secretary, Marta R. Hanono.

Carreño, who like many of the other members of the circle comes from a

generation that clacked on the keys of a manual typewriter, says he

spent 16 years in a Cuban jail for undermining the

government-controlled propaganda machine.

After the revolutionary regime "took over all 200 printing presses and

every newspaper" on the island -- including the two Carreño wrote for, Excelsior and El Pais

-- he and some of his colleagues secretly tried to print their own

small paper every two weeks. Carreño said he was jailed in 1963 and

stayed behind bars until 1979, when international pressure led to the

release of 40 Cuban journalists.

Group members view the award as a vote of confidence for those trying

to write their mind under a totalitarian regime that has effectively

crushed free speech. They periodically send $100 to the island to make

sure journalists can buy paper and pens and other necessities, such as

shoes.

They're also trying to raise money to spruce up the 20-year-old Plaza

de los Periodistas at S.W. 13th Avenue and 11th Street and update the

plaques bearing the names of all the Cuban journalists who have died in

exile.

If El Circulo didn't honor a journalist on the island this year, they

used the opportunity to present a special award during the group's

luncheon at La Habana Vieja, an old-style Cuban restaurant near Coral

Gables where the waiters are all men and the columns bear the names of

streets in Old Habana.

There, in the back room, after singing the American, Honduran and Cuban

national anthems, Carreño presented the award to "Roberto Micheletti

and his valorous Honduran people who have made manifest their love of

liberty with courage and determination" for keeping Mel Zelaya out of

power.

Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.