An Official Journalist Calls For Justice / 14ymedio, Havana

Jose Ramirez Pantoja, Holguin Radio journalist and author of the blog Verdadecuba.(Facebook
Jose Ramirez Pantoja, Holguin Radio journalist and author of the blog Verdadecuba.(Facebook)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 6 August 2016 – Radio Holguin journalist, Jose Ramon Ramirez Pantoja, will find out this Friday if a labor tribunal will punish him with the permanent loss of his job for having published in his blog some controversial words from a deputy directory of the newspaper Granma about the current economic crisis in Cuba.

Ramirez Pantoja explained in a phone conversation with 14ymedio that, given his disagreement with the disciplinary measure, he filed an appeal “within the seven days required by the labor law.” The reporter says he feels confident that “justice will be done,” although he declined to allow his statements to this newspaper to be recorded.

The cause of his firing, according to the digital newspaper Cubanet, was the publication in his blog Verdadecuba (Truth of Cuba) of the words of Karin Marrón, deputy director of the official organ of the Cuban Communist Party. Marrón’s statements were made during a meeting of the Cuban Journalists Union (UPC) in July.

In her comments, the official journalist expressed her fear that there would be “protests in the street” if there is a crisis similar to that suffered by the Cuban people in the 1990s. Marrón said that “a perfect storm” is brewing, and she fears a repeat of episodes like that of the 1994 Maleconazo.

The transcript of the journalist’s speech, divulged by Ramirez Pantoja, circulated among various media and on the social networks, but so far the official press has not published Marrón’s words.

Secrecy has been denounced from the government itself as one of the problems most affecting the work of the Cuban media. The highest government officials, such as Raul Castro and Miguel Diaz-Canel, have spoken on several occasions about the need to eliminate this evil, and the warnings from Granma’s deputy director were widely discussed in the plenary session of the UPC.

The demand for the enactment of a Media Law that would limit censorship is shared among professionals of the press, with particular enthusiasm from the young people who are studying in the universities to be future communicators. Recently, in a letter signed by the base committee of the Young Communists Union of the periodical Vanguardia in Villa Clara province, they denounced instances of persecution by State Security against the most critical journalists.

The decision of the labor tribunal in the case of Ramon Ramirez is expected to be a sign of where the shots are being fired in this battle.