Feb. 20 2009

2 aspiring journalists detained by police

HAVANA, Cuba, February 20 (Ana Aguililla / – Two independent journalists were detained by police for three hours on Wednesday after attending a videoconference workshop at the U.S. Interests Section.

Reynier Vera, a member of the Juvenile Martiana Coalition, identified the two as coalition member Heriberto Liranza and Rafael Martínez of the New Republic Movement. He said the police confiscated T-shirts they were wearing and wrist bands which carried the letting “Cambio” (Change), a popular phrase used by dissidents. They were told the police would be on the lookout for them in the future.

The workshop was given by the International Media Center at Florida International University.

State security agents threaten librarian

HAVANA, Cuba, February 20 (Roberto de Jesús Guerra Pérez, Hablemos Press / -Omayda Padrón Azcuy, secretary general of the Independent Libraries of Cuba, says State Security agents threatened him because he had attended a journalism workshop at the U.S. Interests Section.

Padrón Azcuy said two agents went to her home Thursday and said she could be arrested and jailed for attending for her participation in the workshops, which are given via videoconference by the International Media Center at Florida International University in Miami. “We’re tired of speaking to you and we’ll take action,” she said one of the agents, named Roque, told her.

She said Roque is the agent who has threatened blogger Yoanis Sánchez for more than a year and a half.

Work stoppages in Ranchuelo

RANCHUELO, Cuba, February 20 (Félix Reyes, Cubanacán Press / – There were two work stoppages in Ranchuelo this week by workers demanding wage increases.

Fifty workers at the Ramiro Lavandero Cruz cigarette packing plant stopped work for an hour on February 16, idling their U.S.-made machinery. The protest was touched off by a company decision to reduce the amount paid for overtime.

“We’ll restart the equipment when the government reduces the price of soap, detergents, oils, shoes, clothing and other products sold in the convertible peso stores,” said one worker.

A similar situation occurred at the Ifraín Alfonso Agroindustrial Complex where welders, mechanics and electricians walked off the job, saying their salaries weren’t in line with the work they were performing.