We Are All Omar Rodriguez Saludes

Wednesday, July 8, 2009
The International Press Institute ("IPI") is calling for the immediate release of 22 journalists imprisoned in Cuba - 21 of them arrested in a 2003 government crackdown.

Among the cases highlighted by the IPI is that of Cuban journalist Omar Rodriguez Saludes, director of the independent news agency Nueva Prensa Cubana in Havana, who was arrested during the March 2003 crackdown on Cuba's political dissidents and independent journalists.

Rodriguez was sentenced to 27 years in prison, the longest sentence handed down to any of the 29 journalists arrested in the 2003 crackdown. Speaking to IPI about "changes" within Cuba’s regime and potential hopes that Rodriguez may be granted leniency, the journalist’s wife, Ileana Marrero Joa, said, “The term ‘leniency’ is not correct, because what we need is ‘justice’ and he should be freed, since he did not commit any crime.”

Rodríguez began his journalistic career in 1995 as a freelance reporter and photographer. He later joined Nueva Prensa Cubana, where he wrote about political repression under the Castro regime, among other topics, and soon became the agency's director.

The following video features interviews with members of Rodriguez’s family and photographs taken by the journalist, is a powerful reminder that fundamental rights are being continuously violated in Cuba.