Cuban dissident journalist Raul Rivero dies at 75
Miami Raul Rivero, a former foreign correspondent for Cuban state media before he broke with the government and was imprisoned for months in a widespread crackdown, has died at the age of 75.
His wife, Blanca Reyes, confirmed Rivero’s death on November 6 after respiratory problems at a Miami hospital. She said his death had nothing to do with COVID-19. Rivero’s death has gone largely unnoticed outside the Hispanic-speaking exile communities of South Florida and Spain.
Born in Morón in the Cuban province of Ciego de Avila in 1945, Rivero co-founded the literary magazine “El Caimán Barbudo” in 1966. He was a Moscow correspondent for Cuba’s Prensa Latina from 1973 to 1976, and upon his return to Havana, he oversaw the administration of affairs agency. Covering science and culture.
But he cut ties with the government during Cuba’s so-called “special period” after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and in 1991 joined other intellectuals in calling for the release of political prisoners.
Rivero founded the independent Cuba Press in 1995, which provided stories by dissident writers to US and other foreign media.
Rivero became internationally known and in 1999 was awarded the Maria Mores Cabot Prize for International Journalism by Columbia University. The following year, he was named one of the IPI’s 50 Press Freedom Champions of the last half-century.
But he was arrested along with 74 other dissidents during the Cuban government’s 2003 crackdown on dissent and sentenced to 20 years in prison.
Rivero spent a year and a half behind bars before being released and allowed to go into exile in Spain. Shortly thereafter, he was awarded the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize.
A decade later, he and Reyes moved to Miami in 2014 to be closer to family. Reyes had co-founded Ladies in White, whose members organized a silent march every Sunday to protest the imprisonment of their relatives.
Reyes said Rivero continued to write until early this year. He published many poetry and journalistic books during his career.
In addition to Reyes, Rivero is survived by three daughters and three grandchildren. Reyes said that a memorial service was not planned according to his wishes.
“He was very conservative,” she said.
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