MADRID -- One of Spain's largest media groups says Cuba has revoked the accreditation of its longtime correspondent on the Caribbean island for alleged bias and negative reporting, the latest in a series of steps by the communist government targeting foreign journalists and news organizations. El Pais said Sunday that 47-year-old Mauricio Vicent has reported from Cuba for the newspaper El Pais and the radio network Cadena SER – both part of Grupo Prisa – for 20 years. He is married to a Cuban woman and has children born on the island. It was not clear whether the revocation of his accreditation meant Vicent would have to leave the country, or if he was just barred from reporting.
Cuba's international press center informed Vicent his permit was withdrawn "irrevocably," according to El Pais. Several phone calls to Vicent went unanswered Sunday, and Cuba's government did not immediately respond to requests for comment. El Pais said Vicent's work was an example of professionalism, impartiality and balance, and that he won Spain's 1998 International Press Club award for best work. Several correspondents based on the island have not had their press credentials renewed in recent months, and some have left.
Cuba's state-run media often accuse the foreign press of being biased, and the country has kept up an unusually strong stream of criticism this year. State-run media most recently have accused the foreign press of misunderstanding the country's economic changes because they see them through a capitalist prism. In February, the Communist Party newspaper Granma carried an article denouncing The Wall Street Journal for an editorial that drew parallels between Cuba and Egypt, where a popular uprising forced former President Hosni Mubarak to step down. The editorial was published days after Cuban media lashed out at CNN's Spanish-language channel for reporting that an opposition demonstration was going to take place in Havana. The protest never occurred.
Cuban state cable TV providers in January removed CNN's Spanish service from a package of channels provided mostly to hotels, foreign companies and diplomats on the island, though no reason was given. Then in April, a Cuban state-television channel accused a former bureau chief for the Reuters news agency of helping arrange a meeting between an undercover Cuban agent and a U.S. diplomat who the program described as a CIA operative. Reuters vehemently denied the accusation.