Cuba willing to discuss easing limits on Spanish news agency Efe

Havana, Feb 1 (EFE).- The Cuban government said Tuesday that it is positively inclined toward “finding a solution” to the situation of Spanish news agency Efe, whose operations on the island have been hampered by the withdrawal of credentials from most of its staff.

The International Press Center (CPI) commented on Twitter in an apparent response to a call from Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares for Efe to be allowed to operate in Cuba with the same latitude it enjoys in Spain.

Efe, the CPI insisted, continues “working with absolute freedom in Cuba,” while demanding that Spain’s international news agency respect the Cuban constitution’s mandate “for the exercise of objective, truthful, impartial and non-tendentious journalism.”

In November, the CPI revoked the accreditations of all seven Efe journalists in Cuba without explanation.

Only two of the seven have had their credentials restored, while the person who was supposed to take over last summer as Efe’s new bureau chief in Havana has still not been allowed to enter Cuba.

The CPI said that it has been “in permanent contact with Efe directors and the Embassy of Spain” throughout the impasse.

“I believe that everyone, the Cuban authorities as well, has an interest in Efe’s being able to continue working from Cuba,” Albares said Monday during an appearance before the Ibero-American Affairs committee of the Spanish Senate.

He said that the foreign ministry is “fighting for Efe to remain in Cuba, and for it to remain in Cuba it must be permitted to work the same way it works in Spain.”

Efe President Gabriela Cañas said early last month that while the agency does not want to abandon Cuba and would not leave the island on its own initiative, the decisions of the Cuban authorities were forcing Efe to reconsider its permanence in the country.

Both the agency and the Spanish government believe that “Efe must be” in Cuba, where it has been for 50 years, she said.

Cañas noted that Efe, which has one of the largest Havana bureaus of the international outlets with a presence on the island, accounts for half of the Cuban news stories published in Latin America. EFE int-lh/dr

NOTE TO SUBSCRIBERS: The decisions of the Cuban authorities in recent months have reduced the strength of the Efe team in Havana, where currently only two journalists can continue to carry out their work. Efe hopes to be able to recover its full capacity on the island as soon as possible.

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