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Raúl Rivero Castañeda is a Cuban poet, journalist, and dissident. Rivero was born in 1945 in Morón, Camagüey, in central Cuba.

In his youth, he was an ardent follower of Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution. He was among the first generation of journalists to graduate after the triumph of the Revolution. From 1973-1976 he was the chief correspondent of the official Cuban press in Moscow. He also served as chairman of the pro-regime National Union of Writers and Artists. He was then known as "the Poet of the Revolution", and associated with the major cultural figures of communist Cuba.

In 1989, he left the National Union of Writers and Artists, and on 2 June 1991, he signed the so-called "letter of the 10 intellectuals", a petition asking for the liberation of political prisoners and holding of democratic elections. Since then, Rivero has been an outcast in Cuban society. In 1995, he founded Cuba Press, and became active in the movement of independent journalism, publishing his works in newspapers in the US and other countries.

In 1999 Rivero was awarded the prestigious Maria Moors Cabot prize for International Journalism from Columbia University.

In 2003, as a part of the "Black Spring" crackdown on dissidents, Rivero was charged with "acting against Cuban independence and attempting to divide Cuban territorial unity", as well as with writing "against the government", organizing "subversive meetings" at his home, and collaborating with US diplomat James Cason.[1] Rivero was convicted and sentenced to twenty years imprisonment. He spent his first 11 months in a tiny one-man cell with no windows or any contact to the outside world. The arrest of Rivero was later defended by Cuban writer and culture minister Abel Prieto who argued that Rivero "was not arrested for his views, but for receiving US funding for his collaboration with a country that has besieged our island." [2] Rivero has asserted, in prison interrogations as well as in public, that all funds received consisted of fees for his articles, paid by the publishing media, not by governments or political organizations.

In November 2004 he was released following international pressure on Cuba and subsequently relocated to Spain, and was awarded the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize.

See also


  1. ^ [1]

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