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Cuba Ousts Tribune Correspondent

By Shannon in News on Feb 24, 2007 7:37PM

Mainstream media journalism can be a fickle mistress. Company turnovers, budget crises, and lessening readership has thrown newspapers into a panic recently. It's no surprise to lay off a few reporters here and there. But when you're a foreign correspondent and your adopted country tells you to get out ... that hurts.

cuban flagGary Marx is stationed in Havana, Cuba right now as a foreign journalist for the Tribune. He's been there since 2002, soon after the Cuban Tribune bureau opened in 2001. However, Marx was told on Wednesday by government officials that he's "been here long enough" and that his press credentials would not be renewed. No explicit reason was given for his dismissal, other than his work was negative, without any referential examples. Marx has 90 days to leave the country, but that deadline is lenient, for his children are currently in the Cuban school system; officials will most likely let them finish out the year in June. The bureau itself will remain open in Cuba and shall obtain another correspondent in the future, which won't be easy: New reporters must initially update their papers every 30 days.

Cuba's not playing hardball just with the Trib; they've also declined to renew credentials for a BBC correspondent and one for El Universal, a major Mexican newspaper. Similar reasons were also given for their dismissals. Cuba's become increasingly agitated about how it's portrayed in international media, especially since ailing leader Fidel Castro gave over power to his brother Raul last July. As a result of new guidelines released in December, Cuba can suspend accreditation when they believe journalists display a lack of ethics and/or objectivity. Apparently that doesn't include giving explanations when these journalists are let go. With the cracking down of independent voices in their foreign offices, it's a wonder they even let us set up shop in the first place.