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Exiled Cuban journalist complains of poor living conditions in Spain

Dissident Cuban journalist Julio César Gálvez, who was freed in July 2010 by Cuba after seven years in prison, complained that the living conditions of his exile in Spain are not what he was promised.

It seems as though the Spanish government is punishing us,” Gálvez wrote in a blog post for the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), detailing his struggles in the outskirts of Madrid: no money, no privacy, and no support from the Spanish government.

Gálvez was part of the first group of jailed political prisoners who were released into exile last July. He was arrested in 2003 for his opposition to the Cuban government and was sentenced to 14 years in prison. Sixteen other imprisoned journalists were also sent to Spain, but three remain in a Cuban prison for refusing to leave the island.

“[T]he government of José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero is reluctant to grant us political asylum after helping us get out of Cuban prisons and bringing us to Spain,” the journalist writes.

Gálvez, who was a freelance reporter before his arrest, said he wants nothing more than what officials at the Spanish Embassy in Cuban promised him: “I only aspire to rebuild my life while learning to live in freedom and democracy, an impossibility for the Cuban people. But to do this one needs stability and a place to live, which at this moment we still do not have. We hope to see the promises that were made at the gates to exile soon fulfilled.”

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.

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