CNN to have first U.S. news bureau in Cuba
Other organizations may followFebruary 12, 1997
Web posted at: 4:00 p.m. EST
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Clinton administration cleared the way on Wednesday for CNN to become the first U.S.-based news organization in nearly 30 years with a bureau in Cuba.
The White House also granted licenses to nine other news organizations to open offices in the Cuban capital, Havana.
White House spokesman Mike McCurry said the decision was in keeping with President Bill Clinton's stated policy to support an "increased flow of accurate information to and from and within Cuba itself."
In its announcement, the White House granted permission for Cuba bureaus to CNN, The Associated Press, ABC, CBS, Univisiion, The Miami Herald, Dow Jones News Services, Cuba Info, the Chicago Tribune and the Sun-Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale.
Currently, CNN is the only U.S.-based news organization to have been given the go-ahead from Cuba. The other organizations must now gain permission from the Cuban government.
In virtually all other countries, U.S. news organizations do not need U.S. government approval to open an office. But the rules for Cuba are different because of the U.S. trade embargo against Cuba.
Wednesday's decision is a break in a long-standing U.S. policy to isolate Fidel Castro's Communist regime.
The Associated Press, the last American news outlet in Cuba, was expelled from Cuba in 1969 as Castro cracked down on dissent.
A Cuban Foreign Minister official said his government plans to review all the applicants. He said CNN is the only organization to already have permission for a Havana office.
"We will continue analyzing the rest of the applications," he said, and would make decisions "when the Cuban government considers it opportune."
CNN applied to the Cuban government to open a bureau there in the summer of 1995 and received permission in November 1996.
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