MONTREAL, Sept. 30 /CNW Telbec/ - Reporters Without Borders calls on the
office of the UN secretary-general to intercede on behalf of husband-and-wife
journalists Tomas Granados Jiménez and Ilsa Rodriguez Santana - both UN
correspondents for the Cuban news agency Prensa Latina - who were refused
visas to reenter the United States after a short holiday in Cuba.
Based in New York for the past three years, the couple were not given any
explanation by the US authorities for the refusal, which Reporters Without
Borders regards as arbitrary. They were, however, given a form suggesting they
are regarded as a threat to the United States.
"This measure is both persecutory and incomprehensible," Reporters
Without Borders said. "Since when could journalists who have been accredited
to the United Nations for three years suddenly pose a 'threat' to the United
States? That is what the US authorities seem to think, to judge by the clause
they brandished without further explanation."
The press freedom organisation added: "The office of the UN
secretary-general must demand an explanation from the US State Department and
ensure that Granados and Rodriguez are able to return to their posts."
Granados and Rodriguez were refused US visas yesterday in Havana as they
were about to return to New York. The US Interests Section (which functions as
embassy and consulate in the absence of diplomatic relations) gave them a
State Department document referring to a clause "212F," which apparently
authorises the US president to deny entry to anyone posing a "threat" to the
United States. The Interests Section provided them with no explanation.
The couple, who have been covering the UN for more than three years, have
accreditation that is valid until next year. Prensa Latina, which was created
in 1959 after the Cuban revolution, said it has always had correspondents at
the UN and none of them has ever been the victim of such a measure in the
50 years of its existence.
Granados and Rodriguez described the episode as "an aggression not only
against Prensa Latina's journalists but also against good journalism."
For further information:
For further information: Katherine Borlongan, Executive Director,
Reporters Without Borders Canada, (514) 521-4111, firstname.lastname@example.org/