English  |  Español  |  中文

FCG International Thought and Humanities 2005: RAÚL RIVERO

 For his tireless fight in favour of the freedom of expression of every human being, a fight that has turned him into a symbol of that freedom. Among other distinctions, he has been designated by the Paris International Press Institute as one of the 50 heroes of the freedom of information in the second half of the 20th Century and the University of Columbia at New York, the most prestigious university in the world in the field of journalism, awarded him its maximum distinction for the defence of the freedom of press in the year 2000”. According to the jury that met in Valladolid on July 14, 2005, chaired by Mr. Demetrio Madrid López, 1st President of the Junta de Castilla y León [Regional Government] y Counsellor of the Consultative Council; and made up by the following members: Mr. Antonio Catalán Díaz, President of AC Hotels; Mr. Enrique Ojeda Vila, Managing Director of the Tres Culturas Foundation; Mr. Alejandro Royo Villanova Payá, President of El Norte de Castilla newspaper; Mr. José Antonio Zarzalejos, Secretary General of Vocento Communications Group.


RAÚL RIVERO - Biography

 Raúl Rivero Castañeda was born in Morón (Cuba), in 1945.

He graduated with a degree in Journalism in 1969 from the University of La Habana, although he had started working in the means of communication in 1964.

He worked in the Agencia Prensa Latina [Latin Press Agency] as  correspondent in the Soviet Union, travelling correspondent and Director of the Department of Culture and Science.

During his life as an active journalist in the official Cuban means of communication, he collaborated with the Juventud Rebelde and El Mundo newspapers; the Bohemia, Cuba Internacional, Casa de las Américas, Unión and La Gaceta de Cuba magazines. He took parte in the founding group of El Caimán Barbudo, a literary supplement of great transcendency in Cuban culture.

He worked at the Unión de Escritores [Writers’ Union], as a collaborator of the President -the poet Nicolás Guillén- and as its Public Relations and Publications Secretary.

In the 1980s, overwhelmed by the lack of freedom in Cuban society  and as a result of his deep meditation on human conscience, he dedided to distance himself from the official means of communication.  Thus, at the end of the 1980s, he resigned from all his positions at and withdrew his membership from the Writers’ Union and, in 1991, along with another nine intellectuals, he signed a letter demanding changes in the government, including the realease of political prisoners, free and direct elections and a the freedom of movement.

In 1995, he set up the independent journalism agency, Cuba Press, with the aim of undertaking independent journalism and rescuing the freedom of expression by  contributing to the access of information the Cuban population had as an alternative to official journalism.

From then onwards, Rivero has been arrested on several occasions, his home has been searched various times by the Cuban government’s political police and his work has been the object of  uncountable censorship.

On 20th March 2003, in his own country, he was arrested and later sentenced to a 20 year prison term for huis work as ead of the Cuba Press Agency, for establishing an Association of Independent Journalists and editing two issues of a magazine which the government classified as illegal.  All of this was considered by the government as “treason to the motherland.”

Rivero belongs to a generation of intellectuals that started to express themselves during the early years of the Cuban Revolution.  The author of poetry with underlying social tones, he decided to distance himself from the revolutionary process as this headed more and more towards authoritarianism and disrespect for the freedom of expression and Human Rights in general.

He currently lives in Madrid, where he is Editorial Counsellor for the Encuentro de la Cultural Cubana  magazine and for the Encuentro en la Red digital newspaper as well as a collaborator at El Mundo newspaper.


In the year 2000, Raúl Rivero received the María Moros Cabot Award from the University of Columbia at New Cork. That same year he was chosen as one of the 50 Heroes of the Freedom of Information in the second half of the 20th Century by the Paris International Press Institute.  In 2004, he received the Guillermo Cano Award from UNESCO.

Reporters Without Borders had previously given him its annual Freedom of Press Award in 1997 for his work in favour of the freedom of press, democracy and respect for the dignity of mankind.

Literary Work:

The work of Raúl Rivero have been published in the main means of communication in Europe, South America and the United States.

His books Papel de Hombre [The Role of Man] (1968), Poesía sobre la Tierra [Earth Poetry] (1970) and Poesía Pública [Public Poetry] (1981) received awards in national literature competitions.

Among other Works, he has written: Corazón que ofrecer [A Heart to Offer] (1980), Cierta Poesía [Certain Poetry] (1984) and the book of reports entitled La nieve vencida [Conquered Snow] (1980), as well as poetry anthologies called Firmado en la Habana [Signed in La Habana] (Miami, 1996) and Puente de Guitarra [Guitr Bridge] (Mexico, 2002), and the anthology of his verses entitled Herejías elegidas [Chosen Heresies] (Madrid, 1998) and Ojo pinta [Eye Appearance] (Miami, 2000), interviews with even Cuban painters.

In 2003, Hiperión published his journal entitled Recuerdos olvidados [Forgotten Memories] and that same year the Península company published a selection of his jornalistic articles under the title of Sin pan y sin palabras [Without Bread and Without Words].

You may also receive more information from the following website: www.raulrivero.com