HAVANA, Nov. 17th The Cuban authorities have communicated to the Spanish Government the restitution of two other credentials to the journalists of the Efe team in Havana, of the five withdrawn, after having returned two accreditations last Sunday, Spanish diplomatic sources reported today.
The restitution of these credentials will be accompanied by the authorization to grant the journalist visa to the new Efe delegate in Cuba, Juan Palop, appointed by the agency at the end of last July, added the sources, who specified that the Cuban authorities will adopt these decisions. “As of November 28”.
The president of Efe, Gabriela Cañas, considered the new measure “insufficient” and “delaying” while demanding the return of the accreditations to the entire team and assured that the Agency will continue to insist on the need for Efe to recompose its delegation, traditionally made up of seven journalists.
“The harassment of the agency by the Cuban authorities is serious and sibylline,” said Cañas. “The decisions of the last few months have weakened our team. The withdrawal of all accreditations last Saturday and this dropper return shows an unequivocal desire to destabilize our journalistic work, “he added.
In the escalation of tension that Efe has suffered in recent months from the Cuban authorities, they have withdrawn the accreditation of six members of their team and have delayed the visa process for the new delegate. “What happened in recent weeks is an unprecedented attack on the world’s leading agency in Spanish,” added Cañas.
Cuba withdrew the press credentials of five Efe journalists in Havana last Saturday without clarifying the reasons or whether that measure was temporary and permanent, on the eve of the protests called for last Monday the 15th by opposition groups to demand changes and not to they were authorized by the Government.
Previously, Havana had withdrawn the credential of the coordinator of the Efe team at the end of August and had not finished granting the journalist visa to the new head of the office.
Cuba’s decision generated the unanimous condemnation of organizations for the defence of press freedom and of many countries and institutions, such as the European Union and the UN, and the Spanish government called on Sunday for consultations with the charge d’affaires of the Cuban Embassy in Madrid to request explanations for that decision and demand the return of the credentials.
The Spanish Government, including its embassy in Cuba, and the president of the Efe Agency have taken steps from the beginning for Havana to re-integrate the accreditations to the entire Agency team.