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Cuba: We Won’t Accept Hostile U.S. Media

Fri., Feb. 14, 1997

The Clinton administration’s decision to let 10 news organizations try to open offices in Cuba is part of a campaign to destroy Fidel Castro’s government, Cuba said Thursday.

The Cubans stressed that only one U.S. news company, CNN, has been granted approval to open a bureau in Havana and that some other applications were being examined.

“Any organ of the press that lends itself to following the U.S. policy of hostility toward Cuba is rejected immediately,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marianela Ferriol said at a news conference in Havana.

The White House announced Wednesday that it would grant licenses for Cuba operations to CNN, The AP and eight other news outlets.

Cuban Foreign Minister Roberto Robaina called the U.S. action “a publicity show” and said the White House decision to authorize only a few organizations was “selective and discriminatory” as well as irrelevant.

“The only one who can give accreditation to the press in this country is our government,” Robaina said in a Cuban broadcast made available to APTV.

“The fact that the United States had authorized them - that does not mean that we’ll process the application,” he added. “We’ve processed many of them and to many of them we said that we were not interested in having them in the country.”

The Cuban Communist Party daily Granma said the action was related to the Helms-Burton Act, approved last year, which strengthened the 35-year-old U.S. embargo of Cuba while encouraging support for groups opposed to Castro’s government.

“We reject this new act of intervention by Washington and repeat that we have no intention of assisting … a law that intends our destruction as a nation,” Granma added.

Ferriol’s comments and those from Granma were telephoned to The AP in Mexico City by reporters in Havana.

Ferriol said details of the agreement with CNN were still being negotiated. CNN has said it plans to open a Havana bureau next month.

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