MADRID (AP) — Spain’s foreign minister said Monday that the Cuban government’s decision to revoke the press credentials of journalists working for the Spanish state news agency in Havana is “unacceptable” and demanded that all the credentials be returned.
The Cuban government has given no explanation for its decision to revoke six EFE press credentials last Saturday, two days ahead of planned protest marches in Havana that have generated tension.
“We do not think it is acceptable to revoke credentials for no reason. Freedom of the press is vital in any country in the world,” Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs José Manuel Albares said.
Albares on Sunday summoned the chargé d’affaires at the Cuban embassy in Madrid — Cuba’s top diplomat in Spain because it currently has no ambassador there – to the foreign ministry for a meeting about the issue.
But the Cuban official said he couldn’t attend the Monday talks due to COVID-19, providing no further explanation.
Albares said that Juan Fernández Trigo, Spain’s Secretary of State for Ibero-America and the Caribbean, discussed the matter on the phone with the chargé d’affaires.
Albares said he has also asked the Spanish ambassador to Cuba to “stay on top of” the issue.
The Cuban government revoked the credentials of six journalists, including three text reporters, two photographers and a cameraman. Two of them, a text writer and a cameraman, had the passes returned to them on Sunday.
Gabriela Cañas, EFE´s president, said that returning two credentials was “insufficient.” Albares said “We will not cease to demand the return of all credentials.”
Another journalist working for foreign media, Abraham Jiménez Enoa, a regular contributor to the Washington Post, has not been allowed to leave his house by authorities.
It is not unusual for the Cuban government to limit the movement of journalists, especially when demonstrations are expected.