Top Cuban newspaper editor defects

A former senior editor of Granma, the newspaper of the Communist Party of Cuba, has arrived in Miami to join her husband, a former Radio Rebelde editor, and become one of the highest-ranking journalists to defect from the island in recent years.

Aida Calviac Mora, former head of the newspaper’s international pages, said journalists

can offer critical ideas for stories but are told, “now is not the time.” She said journalists are given “the convenient argument of the besieged country … that the enemy could use it against us,” Calviac told America TeVe’s Juan Manuel Cao Thursday.

Calviac, 29, said her position in charge of foreign coverage brought her “a special attention within the Central Committee” of the ruling Communist Party because “you can’t criticize certain countries” and anger their embassies in Havana.

And although Cuban ruler Raul Castro and First Vice President Miguel Diaz-Canel have repeatedly urged journalists to be more aggressive, she added, “You censor yourself … and don’t go beyond that limit.”

Cubans give the official media little credibility because of all the censorship, Calviac told Cao Thursday during his nightly talk program, El Espejo. She was scheduled to return to the program Friday for a second interview.

Cao said Calviac was one of the highest ranking of the half-dozen journalists to defect in recent years from Cuba’s official media. The Cuban government controls all mass media outlets in print, television and radio.

Calviac appeared on the program with her husband, Abel González Veranes, a former director of a news program on Radio Rebelde, one of Cuba’s most important radio stations, who defected to the United States last year.

She said she broke with Granma after she was stopped at the Havana airport on Sept. 8 and denied permission to travel abroad, apparently because of her senior position at the newspaper. Calviac said she left Cuba on a second attempt and arrived in the United States via Mexico.

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