|Kerry in Havana, Cuba: Independent Cuban journalists persona non grata|
Four-days before the historic event, no independent journalist, dissident, or human rights activist has been invited to participate in the ceremony, or Kerry's press conference.
According to a diplomatic source, after July 20th, the process changed for obtaining a credential to cover events or press conferences of politicians, business, or American organizations visiting the island.
Before that date, when Lynn W. Roche was head of the Section of Press and Culture, I could get credentials in record time. I was able to cover the visit of Roberta Jacobson, congressmen, senators, businessmen, and officials from the State Department, among others.
Now, according to this source, accreditation must be obtained at the International Press Center of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, located at 23rd and O, in Havana's Vedado. A rather crude strategy designed to get rid of independent journalists.
The worst part is not the disrespect or indifference. The government of the United States has the sovereign right to invite to its events those people it deems convenient.
But out of respect, at least have the courtesy to speak face-to-face with independent journalists and inform them of the new policy. Don’t beat around the bush.
The government of the United States, which is not stupid, knows that for 54 years Cuba has been ruled by a military autocracy that prohibits political opposition and independent journalism.
Leaving press accreditation to the regime for events that the United States puts on in Cuba is like putting a child molester in charge of a Boy Scout camp.
But no one would take my call. December 17th marked a new era between Cuba and the United States. That day at noon, Barack Obama promised to empower the Cuban people and to promote respect for human rights on the island.
Pure demagoguery. The government that claims to promote democratic values, shamelessly tramples the spirit and letter of its Constitution, where the right to inform is sacred.
The olive-green autocracy has a rule that it will not take part in any event with Cuban dissidents, whom it considers “mercenaries and employees of the U.S. government.”