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U.S. Calls on Cuba to Drop Criminal Charges against Journalist

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (Mandel Ngan/Reuters)

The U.S. on Wednesday urged Cuba to drop criminal charges against journalist Roberto Quiñones, who is facing a year in jail.

“We condemn the injustices committed against Cuban journalist Roberto Quiñones, arrested for reporting on Cuba’s repression of religious freedom,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday in a statement. “We will continue to use targeted sanctions to cut off resources from the Cuban regime which uses its income to repress its own people.”

Quiñones, a reporter for CubaNet, was detained in April while covering a trial in Guantanamo, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists. He was charged with resistance and disobedience, and after he refused to pay the fine authorities demanded of him he was sentenced to a year in prison. He has appealed his sentence.

The Trump administration has cracked down on Cuba, targeting tourism and foreign investment in particular and reversing many of the results of President Obama’s thaw in relations between the two nations. The administration intends to keep the economic pressure on Cuba as an incentive to reform the country’s authoritarian government.

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