Exiled Cuban journalists blog about imprisonment as deadline passes for Castro to free remaining political prisoners

The deadline for Cuba to release 52 political prisoners came and went Sunday night, Nov. 14, and as of Monday, 13 remained imprisoned, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and the Associated Press. The prisoners were arrested in March 2003 during a crackdown on dissidents and independent journalists known as "Black Spring."

In July, Cuban President Raul Castro had agreed in a deal brokered by the Catholic Church to release the prisoners of conscienceSeventeen journalists have been freed and flown to exile in Spain.

The remaining prisoners have refused to leave the island, the Associated Press reported. According to the Miami Herald, dissident journalist Guillermo Fariñas, who ended a four-month hunger strike when Castro agreed to free the prisoners, is holding off on resuming his hunger strike.

CPJ has started a blog for the exiled Cuban journalists to chronicle their experiences. The first post, "Finding freedom in a Cuban cell," is by Ricardo González Alfonso, one of the first political prisoners released.

González Alfonso is the founder of the newsmagazine De Cuba and a Havana-based journalist association. He also worked as a freelance reporter and Cuba correspondent for Reporters Without Borders, according to CPJ.

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.