BURBANK, CA- CNN correspondent in Havana, Lucia Newman, issued a statement to Spanish television network UNIVISION that, even if she doesnít think that there will be problems in her new journalistic assignment, she feels "as if on a glass bowl". This is because I know that "Cubans are very politicized" and the government, on one side, and the opposition on the other, would like for CNN to be at the service of their respective interests.
"But it wonít be like that, we will try to engage in objective and professional journalism, as always", said Newman to Univision host, Maria Elena Salinas.
Newman said that the Cuban government had given CNN guarantees that they will be able to inform freely as to what happens in the island, but the journalist admitted that in this Caribbean island nation, "Cuban opposition journalists do not have such freedoms".
In Cuba, over the last two years, several indepenent news agencies have emerged from the official sources, whose journalists have worked under harassment of the Cuban political police.
The Island is a state governed by the Communist Party of Cuba, who is the sole proprietor of all Cuban mass media, to which Cuban citizens with political views different from Fidel Castroís, do not have access.
"The Cuban government is very conscious that there will be some news reports from us which will bother them, that they will not be in agreement with", added Newman.
Newman, who had travelled several times before to Cuba to put together reports, said that the first time she visited the island was when the Soviet Union still existed, and "there werenít such horrible scarcities, but it was a darker country, the people were more fearful of talking to us, it was difficult to find someone who would speak to a journalist, particularly one from the United States", she said.
"Now thereís the dollar, Coca-Cola, and there are also more economic problems, but thereís more openness on the part of the people of Cuba", said the journalist. CNN, up to now, is the only news organization from the United States which has been accepted by the Cuban government. A total of 10 American news organizations received the go ahead from the Clinton Administration to work in the island.
CNN is owned by Ted Turner, an American multi-millionaire who maintains a personal friendship with the Cuban dictator. Sectors within the anti-Castro opposition have called CNN (Cable News Network) a Castro News Network or Communist News Network, for its reports which have been obviously favorable to the government of Castro and its wide interviews with the islandís leader. CNN has not given equal timing to the opposition to the regime in Havana.
Other international media have been working in Cuba for many years, specially Reuters, from Great Britain, Agence France Press (AFP), from France; EFE, from Spain; and ANSA, from Italy. But CNN is the first American news agency to open an office in Havana within the last 27 years.
Numerous foreign correspondents have been expelled from Cuba, for producing reports which have been adverse to Castroís government.