Treatment of musicians or poets whose lyrics are critical of the government; whether such individuals would be permitted to travel abroad temporarily in order to give performances (1999-January 2000) [CUB33604.E]

Very little information on the treatment of musicians or poets whose lyrics are critical of the government, or on whether such individuals would be permitted to travel abroad for performances could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate. However, a number of reports refer to the authorities' treatment of Raúl Rivero, whom The Washington Post has described as an "acclaimed poet" and "one of the most prominent members of the independent press" (9 Mar. 1997). Books written by Mr. Rivero, including two collections of poetry published in 1987 and 1996, are reportedly banned in Cuba (Digital Freedom Network 29 Sept. 1999).

According to the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), Mr. Rivero has faced "harassment since he left the state-controlled press in 1988. His movements have been restricted, he has been threatened, interrogated, and detained" (28 Sept. 1999). This information is corroborated by the Digital Freedom Network in its 29 September 1999 report. Two other articles indicate that law enforcement personnel had detained Mr. Rivero for a number of hours in March 1999 after he had failed to appear for an interview with state security agents (EFE 11 Mar. 1999; AIF 12 Mar. 1999).

In September 1999, Cuban authorities denied Mr. Rivero's application for an exit and re-entry permit so that he might travel to the United States to receive a journalism award (IFEX 28 Sept. 1999; Reuters 4 Nov. 1999; Digital Freedom Network 29 Sept. 1999). Authorities have reportedly told him repeatedly that he would be allowed to leave Cuba so long as he did not attempt to return (ibid.; IFEX 28 Sept. 1999). However, President Fidel Castro was reported to have said that "Rivero is never going to leave Cuba" (Reuters 4 Nov. 1999). According to Country Reports 1998, Cuban authorities "impose some restrictions on both emigration and temporary foreign travel," and denied exit permits in 1998 to two "dissidents" who wished to attend conferences in Europe (1999, Section 2).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Agence Internationale Fides (AIF). 12 March 1999. No. 4053-NE146. "Cuba: Préoccupation de l'Eglise sur la régression à propos des droits de l'homme." [Accessed 17 Jan. 2000]

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1998. 1999. [Accessed 18 Jan. 2000]

Digital Freedom Network. 29 September 1999. "Trapped in his Homeland." [Accessed 17 Jan. 2000]

EFE. 11 March 1999. "Liberado Rivero." [Accessed 17 Jan. 2000]

International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX). 28 September 1999. "Alert: Cuban Government Bars Journalist From Collecting Award in New York."

Reuters. 4 November 1999. "Castro Said Opposed to US Trial of Olympic Boxer." [Accessed 17 Jan. 2000]

The Washington Post. 9 March 1997. Elise Ackerman. "A Look ... Changing Cuba: Guerrilla Journalism; The Underground Press Fights for an Audience." [Accessed 17 Jan. 2000]

Additional Sources Consulted

IRB databases.


World News Connection (WNC)

Internet sites including:

Amnesty International.

Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)



Digital Freedom Network.

Freedom in the World.

Human Rights Watch.