Sat, Dec 25, 2004 - Page 7 News List

Cuba cracking down on anti-Castro publications

AP , HAVANA

Just hours after moderate dissidents launched a new magazine, the Cuban government retaliated by confiscating various books and written documents, one of the dissidents said.

Manuel Cuesta Morua, a well-known intellectual who helped present the magazine Consensus on Tuesday, said authorities entered the house of his former partner that night and took all of the books, writings and computer discs he had left there.

"It's a clear and direct message of intolerance," Cuesta Morua said in a statement Thursday.

According to the activist, authorities presented a search warrant and said they took the belongings "to look for counterrevolutionary literature."

They said they believed there were documents connected to US institutions, he said.

Dozens of dissidents arrested in a government crackdown last year were accused of accepting money from US officials to undermine the island's government -- a charge the activists and Washington denied.

Consensus was presented in the headquarters of a state-owned construction company, which was unusual for a dissident activity. Government opponents generally don't hold public gatherings, especially not in state-controlled offices.

Collaborators said the magazine was necessary to broaden the spectrum of opinions presented in Cuba's state-run media.

The first printed edition of Consensus was handed out to journalists at the launching. It contained an interview with dissident writer Raul Rivero -- recently released from prison -- and articles about the death penalty and the situation of women in Cuba.

The magazine, to be published once every two months, will be publicly released on the Internet next week from a US-based server.

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