The Inter American Press Association (SIP) regretted this Monday the presence of the dictator of Cuba, Miguel Diaz-Caneland the chancellors of Nicaragua Y Venezuela on the Summit of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), “the three most repressive governments of freedom of the press and expression and journalism in the Americas,” said the entity based in Miami, Florida (USA) in a statement.
The VII CELAC summit will open this Tuesday in the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires, and the three countries were invited by the Government of Alberto Fernándezwho is also president pro tempore of this regional intergovernmental mechanism.
“If the invitation obeys the objective of promoting dialogue and political agreement on the continent, this required a prior commitment from each member of the regional forum to put an end to repression and the systematic violation of human rights,” says the IAPA statement.
It is about, stressed the IAPA, three dictatorships, Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela, which “they occupy the last three positions of 22 countries in the Chapultepec Index”a barometer that measures the state of freedom of the press and expression in the Americas.
“We are talking about The three most repressive governments of freedom of the press and expression and of journalism in the Americas”, pointed out, for his part, the president of the IAPA, Michael Greenspon.
“We regret that these leaders who violate human rights and disbelieve in democracy have been invited by an organization that, among its objectives, includes the promotion of a respectful dialogue capable of building consensus on issues of common interest,” he said.
Greenspon, global director of Print Licensing and Innovation at The New York Times Company, considered that Celac standards should be reviewed from the perspective of the Inter-American Democratic Charterwhich obliges all the countries of the continent to respect freedom of the press and expression.
“Without this assumed commitment, no government can be considered democratic,” he stressed.
The president of the IAPA Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Carlos Jornetindicated that the democratic rulers of the region should demand that Nicaragua, Cuba and Venezuela “to put a stop to the repression against journalists, social leaders and political dissidents”.
“Democracy is based on respect for pluralism, citizen control over those who govern, the periodicity of mandates, the balance of powers, free access to public information and respect for essential human rights, among which freedom of Expression is a central piece”, Jornet pointed out.
Jornet, journalistic director of The voice of the interiorArgentina, reiterated the demand to the three governments to “release dozens of prisoners of conscience who were sentenced in trials without the right to defense”.
He also called for an end to the persecution “against those who dare to criticize public policies in those countries.”
In the conclusions of the 78th IAPA General Assembly, held last October in Madrid, the IAPA denounced that “the case of Nicaragua, under the Daniel Ortega regime, continues to be the most alarming.”
It was denounced that six convicted journalists have been deprived of their liberty for more than a year and more than 150 have gone into exile in the last four years, while the Nicaraguan government continues to close media outletsamong them several radio stations of the Catholic Church, to which is added the cut of the signal of CNN in Spanish.
On Cuba, the IAPA General Assembly highlighted that The island’s regime is another critical protagonist of exiles and detentions that seriously infringe freedom of expression; while in Venezuela, it was denounced, the dictatorship of Nicolás Maduro closed 41 radio stations and intensified its offensive against free access to information by blocking the websites of national and international media.
(With information from AFP)