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IAPA criticises government for preventing acclaimed blogger from leaving the country

(IAPA/IFEX) - Miami (October 14, 2009) - The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) today criticized the Cuban government's decision to not allow journalist Yoani Sánchez to leave the country to receive a journalism award to be presented today by Columbia University in New York.

The author of the famous blog Generación Y ( http://www.desdecuba.com/generaciony ), who won the 2009 Maria Moors Cabot Prize, will not be able to attend the presentation ceremony scheduled for today (Wednesday, October 14) in New York City because the Cuban government has denied her permission to leave the country, a requirement that all Cubans must comply with. The same thing happened to Sánchez in May last year, when she was unable to travel to Spain to receive the Ortega y Gasset Prize awarded to her by the newspaper El País.

IAPA President Enrique Santos Calderón, editor of the Bogotá, Colombia, newspaper El Tiempo, declared, "This situation also reminds us of the martyrdom of many other journalists who are 'imprisoned' on their island even when they hold visas from third countries. It is unbelievable that in the 21st century there are governments that still fear freedom of expression."

For his part, the chairman of the IAPA's Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Robert Rivard, editor of the San Antonio Express-News, Texas, added, "The IAPA once again repeats its call for the release of other independent Cuban journalists thrown in jail who are less fortunate and lack international attention."

The IAPA has long voiced concern for 27 imprisoned independent journalists, many of them in poor health, that the government has not released despite several holding humanitarian visas from other countries.
Cubanos merecedores del Premio Maria Moors Cabot de la Universidad de Columbia (Cubans Who Merit Columbia University's Maria Moors Cabot Prize)

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