International PEN is pleased to note the release of two more Cuban writers imprisoned since 2003. Librarian and activist José Miguel Martínez Hernández arrived in Madrid, Spain on September 24, 2010, while journalist and activist Miguel Galván Gutiérrez arrived the following day; both traveled to Spain with their families. With their release, a total of 18 Cuban writers have now been freed and exiled since July 12, under a deal brokered by the Catholic Church and the Spanish government. While PEN is pleased that these writers are no longer imprisoned, we are extremely concerned that they have been forced to leave Cuba as a precondition of their release. PEN calls on the Cuban government to make their release unconditional and to allow them to return to Cuba should they so wish. We also continue to call for the immediate and unconditional release of the seven other Cuban writers, journalists, and librarians still imprisoned for their writings.

Background Information

Miguel GALVÁN GUTIÉRREZ: journalist (Havana Press Agency) and coordinator of the pro-democracy Varela Project. Date of birth: January 12, 1965. Sentence: 26 years. Charge: Article 91 and Law 88.


José Miguel MARTÍNEZ HERNÁNDEZ: librarian (General Juan Bruno Zayas Library), area representative for the unofficial political group Movimiento 24 de Febrero, involved in the pro-democracy Varela Project. Date of birth: August 4, 1963. Sentence: 13 years. Charge: Law 88.

With Galván's and Martínez’s release, a total of 18 Cuban writers have now been freed and sent to Spain since July 12; all were apparently forced into exile. Galván reportedly said he wanted to stay in Cuba but had decided to leave for the sake of his family, while Martínez told the media on arrival that “exile was our only alternative.”

Officials from the Spanish Foreign Ministry have now reportedly stated that the remaining imprisoned journalists will be able to stay in Cuba under a special parole program. However, human rights activists in Cuba say that this would be a way to maintain control over the writers after their release. The existence of the parole program in question has yet to be confirmed by the Cuban government.

According to the Spanish Foreign Minister, Miguel Ángel Moratinos, the remaining members of the Group of 75 jailed since March 2003—which includes another four writers—will all be released by the end of October. The European Union is due to review its Common Position on Cuba this autumn. Spain is reportedly campaigning for all remaining sanctions to be lifted.

Write A Letter

  • Welcoming the release of two more writers, José Miguel Martínez Hernández and Miguel Galván Gutiérrez, as well as the Cuban government’s reported intention to release the four other writers who have been imprisoned since March 2003;
  • However, expressing deep concern that the writers who have been freed to date have reportedly been obliged to leave Cuba as a precondition of their release;
  • Calling for the immediate and unconditional release of the seven writers, journalists, and librarians still held in violation of their right to freedom of expression, four of whom have been imprisoned since 2003.

Send Your Letter To


Head of State and GovernmentRaúl Castro Ruz
Presidente
La Habana, Cuba
Fax: (212) 779-1697
(via Cuban Mission to U.N.)
Email: cuba@un.int (c/o Cuban Mission to U.N.)

Interior Minister
General Abelardo Coloma Ibarra
Ministro del Interior y Prisiones
Ministerio del Interior, Plaza de la Revolución, La Habana, Cuba
Fax: (212) 779-1697
(via Cuban Mission to U.N.)

Please also send copies of your appeals to the diplomatic representative for Cuba in your country if possible.

Please send appeals immediately. Contact PEN if sending appeals after November 28, 2010: ftw [at] pen.org