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The Center for International Media Assistance at the National Endowment for Democracy and the George W. Bush Institute invite you to a panel discussion on

Information Denied:
Cuban Media and the Defense of Press Freedom



Normando Hernandez
Bush Institute Fellow

Luis Botello
International Center for Journalists

Moderated by:

Miriam Kornblith
National Endowment for Democracy

Tuesday, February 4, 2014
12:00-2:00 p.m. EST

Fundamental freedoms of expression and information are eroding or under attack in Latin America.  For decades, watchdog organizations like Freedom House and the Committee to Protect Journalists have consistently identified Cuba as one of the most repressive governments in the world and the most restrictive environment for media in the region.  More recently, they have highlighted the deteriorating media environment across Latin America as governments in Venezuela, Ecuador and Nicaragua have clamped down as well. In this context, what strategies can be used to reverse the trend and advance the free flow of information in Cuba and throughout the region?

Please join the Center for International Media Assistance and the Bush Institute for an important discussion of freedom of expression in Latin America. The event will include a preview of “Freedom Denied:  Cuba’s Black Spring Continues,” a new, short documentary produced by the Bush Institute’s Freedom Collection.

Normando Hernandez is a Freedom Advocate Fellow with the George W. Bush Institute.  A former political prisoner, he has been a key figure in advancing the cause of freedom in his native Cuba.  Normando is an independent journalist who has dedicated himself to providing alternate sources of news and information in Cuba.  He was the youngest of 75 dissidents arrested by Cuban authorities on March 18, 2003, a day that became known as the “Black Spring.” Normando was sentenced to 25 years in prison for writing about the condition of state-run services in Cuba and criticizing the government’s management of issues such as tourism, agriculture, and fishing.  Normando was exiled to Spain in 2010 and has since relocated to the United States with his family.  He was a Spring 2012 Reagan-Fascell Fellow with the National Endowment for Democracy, focusing his research on the monopoly of communications by the Cuban regime and how independent journalists can combat totalitarianism.

Luis Botello is the senior program director of special projects at the International Center for Journalists. He oversees ICFJ’s Latin American programs and works on the development and implementation of new initiatives promoting digital innovation. He conducts a variety of training programs and conferences on digital media, mobile technology, ethics, press freedom, and media development worldwide.  Botello has worked in more than 20 countries. He is a regular on-air guest in major networks such as CNN En Español, Aljazeera, and NTN24. He launched ICFJ’s International Journalism Network (IJNet), an online media assistance news service. Botello has taught international media at American University in Washington, D.C. Botello previously served as morning newscast producer, host and television reporter for Televisora Nacional in Panama, where he covered assignments in Colombia, the United States and Europe. He is a member of the board of directors of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at the University of Texas at Austin and the Latin American Journalism Center (CELAP) in Panama City, Panama. He received a Fulbright Scholarship in 1988 and a fellowship to Louisiana State University’s Manship School of Mass Communication in 1997. He has a B.A. in journalism and a M.A. in mass communications from Louisiana State University.

Miriam Kornblith is Director for Latin America and the Caribbean at the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington, D.C. She has taught politics at the Central University of Venezuela, and from 1998 to1999 served as a board member and vice-president of the Venezuelan National Electoral Council.