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JOURNALISM IN THE AMERICAS Blog

Reporter for official Cuban newspaper faces 10-year prison sentence on corruption charge



Jailed Cuban journalist José Antonio Torres is facing 10 years in prison for corruption charges, according to the website Observatorio Crítico Desde Cuba.

A correspondent for the official newspaper Granma, Torres has been accused of being a "CIA agent" and funneling confidential information off the island, reported the Havana Times. Months before his arrest, Torres published a report critical of a public works project to repair Havana's aqueduct. There is speculation that the arrest was ordered by public officials responsible for the multimillion dollar project, according to the website Café Fuerte.

Authorities have not released where Torres is being detained. When he was arrested in March 2011, his colleagues were shocked, considering his well-known stance favoring the regime. According to Diario de Cuba, the adoration went both ways, as Raúl Castro personally praised Torres' work.

Despite Torres' 10 months already served in jail, for the first time in 15 years, Cuba did not appear on the Committee to Protect Journalists' census of jailed reporters.



1 comment

 
Corruption Fighter wrote 1 year 48 weeks ago

Accusations by Corrupt Goverments Common

It is not unusual for corrupt governments to accuse those exposing wrongdoing to be spies or criminals.

I am a first-rate example. Last year, I started a site called http://www.pbsotalk.com that documents government corruption, specifically in Palm Beach County. If you have never heard of it, Palm Beach County, Florida has been dubbed “Corruption County” by Forbes Magazine and voted one of the worst places to live because of corruption.

The Sheriff, Ric Bradshaw, was not only caught stealing a firearm out of the evidence room, but he was caught taking out campaign contributors whom are members of of the mafia; these mafia contributors were taken to dinner at fine steak houses with tax payer money.

The public sector workers in Palm Beach County make amazing salaries and benefits. In the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, many secretaries are making in excess of $140,000 per year; 134 of them have county take-home cars and county gas cards for their commute to work. This has resulted in a half BILLION dollar budget just to run the Sheriff’s Department. And since the Sheriff is the most powerful figure in the county, the State Attorney’s office won’t touch him. Like your article, the Sheriff of Palm Beach County is the most powerful "kingpin" around.

We have obtained documentation to all these facts but they have not been easy to obtain. The Sheriff has lied about the existence of documents relating to these things on more than one occasion. We received a tip he purchased 64 firearms as gifts for other elected Sheriffs in the state; we did four separate public-records requests only to have them deny all existence. The proof came from the distributor who sent us the invoice showing them purchased by the Sheriff.

The result? Shortly after I began my site where people are free to anonymously post, I obtained documentation that they made me the subject of an investigation they cite as being so secretive they haven't pulled a case number. In a probable cause affidavit they wrote on an employee suspected of leaking information to my site, they stated "they have been searching every avenue for any crime they can find to charge [me] with, only to run in to dead ends at every turn." Still, this does not stop them from telling the local newspapers I am the subject of an "ongoing" criminal investigation in an attempt to discredit me and distract from the documented evidence I've obtained.

Thanks for your work and keep it up! People like you will eventually make governments everywhere more transparent.

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