Cuban police arrest independent journalist
August 12, 1997
Web posted at: 10:37 p.m. EDT (0237 GMT)
From Havana Bureau Chief Lucia Newman
HAVANA, Cuba (CNN) -- Popular Cuban journalist Raul Rivero
was arrested Tuesday morning at his home in Havana, according
to his wife. Rivero, considered one of the most prominent
dissidents in Cuba, was taken away by members of the Cuban
Rivero is the founder and director of Cuba Press, one of
several fledgling independent journalist organizations now
springing up on the island. His opposition news agency is
illegal; it gets its message out primarily through the U.S.
government-funded Radio Marti and several American and
He has also reported for the Miami Herald and Radio Marti.
State security agents arrived at his home around 9 a.m. and
spent much of the day searching every item in Rivero's
apartment. They said the search was totally legal and
maintained that they were just doing their job.
But they declined to allow CNN's reporters into the apartment
during their search, and gave no explanation as to why Rivero
had been taken away to intelligence police headquarters
earlier in the morning.
By the time the agents left, little more than the furniture
"They took a sack full of books, a cordless phone, a radio,
his typewriter and all the files of Cuba Press, as well as
tons of personal documents that have nothing to do with the
news agency," said his wife, Blanca Rivero.
Police detained Rivero briefly two weeks ago, warning he
would be prosecuted if he and his colleagues, including
dissident journalist Ana Luisa Lopez, continued their
"They went so far as to tell him how long the sentence would
be, and what prison he'd be sent to, the Taco Taco prison in
Pinar del Rio," Lopez said. "Which shows just how much Cuba's
justice system is at the service of the state."
Government crackdown against dissidents
Rivero's arrest is the latest in a widening government
crackdown against its opponents, a crackdown Lopez blames on
increasingly difficult conditions for the Castro regime.
Even Cuba's notoriously efficient intelligence services have
been unable to prevent a series of explosions in tourist
hotels in Havana over the last few months -- acts of sabotage
that have authorities seriously worried.
But common wisdom in Havana is that when the going gets
tough, Cuba's communist authorities get tougher with their
Four other prominent dissidents last month were accused of
carrying out counter-revolutionary activities. And last week
two dissident journalists went into exile in the United
Sources close to Rivero believe he faces a long prison
sentence unless he, too, bows to pressure and leaves the
country in exchange for his freedom.
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