Call for release of independent journalist accused of insulting president

first_img Cuba and its Decree Law 370: annihilating freedom of expression on the Internet New press freedom predators elected to UN Human Rights Council CubaAmericas News Follow the news on Cuba Organisation Harassment of dissidents has never really stopped since Raúl Castro became president in 2006 but, if they are detained, it is usually for short spells. The arrest of Calixto Ramón Martínez Arias, a reporter for the independent Hablemos Press agency, could prove to be the exception and could hark back to an era when dissidents were detained for longer periods.Martínez was arrested on 16 September and has been held ever since on a charge of insulting the president, which could lead to a three-year prison sentence.Initially held at the National Police detention and deportation centre in Havana, he was transferred on 27 September to Valle Grande prison in La Lisa, in Havana province.”It is hard to see how the investigation into a spoiled consignment of medicines that Martínez was carrying out at the time of his arrest, or his earlier revelations about cholera and dengue, which the authorities confirmed, could result in a charge of insulting the president,” Reporters Without Borders said.”This charge is totally absurd, just as any attempt to make an example out of this case will be futile. Information of public interest should be disseminated, discussed and debated. Such a debate is clearly lacking in the official media, one of whose journalists is still detained while others have chosen exile. We call for Martínez’s immediate release.”Reporters Without Borders added: “The Cuban government must accept civil society’s right to ask questions and report information in accordance with the conventions on civil and political rights it signed in 2008, but has not yet ratified. Will the other members of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) remind it of the need to respect this principle?”Hablemos Press editor Roberto de Jesús Guerra Pérez tried without success on 21 September to obtain permission to visit Martínez, who was arrested near José Martí international airport. Dissident journalists who were present were threatened with arrest and some were briefly detained.According to the latest information, Martínez was transferred to Enrique Cabrera Hospital on 20 September for treatment to blows he received to the left eye.Martínez is being persecuted by the authorities, who want him to go back to Camagüey, where he was from, although he now lives and works in Havana. In the past 10 years, he has been sent back to Camagüey ten times, although the law on internal migration, which used to make it hard for provincial residents to move to the capital, was relaxed at the end of 2011.He is the third Hablemos Press journalist to be detained this month.Government journalists defectThe day that Martínez was arrested, Mairelys Cuevas Gómez, an editor with the Communist Party newspaper Granma, took advantage of a working visit to Mexico to go the US border and request asylum.She was following the example of Luis López Viera, the sports editor of Juventud Rebelde, another official newspaper, who asked the British immigration authorities for asylum a month earlier, on 15 August, as the London Olympics were ending.Reporters Without Borders would like to hear the Cuban government’s reaction to the departure of journalists it employs, and to know more about the fate of José Antonio Torres, another reporter for the Cuban state media, who has been held for more than a year on an unexplained charge of spying. May 6, 2020 Find out more RSF_en CubaAmericas Newscenter_img to go further October 15, 2020 Find out more September 24, 2012 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Call for release of independent journalist accused of insulting president Receive email alerts October 12, 2018 Find out more News News RSF and Fundamedios welcome US asylum ruling in favor of Cuban journalist Serafin Moran Santiago Help by sharing this information last_img read more

Governor Wolf Announces Record $690 Million in Human Services’ Recoveries and Cost Avoidance

first_img SHARE Email Facebook Twitter Governor Wolf Announces Record $690 Million in Human Services’ Recoveries and Cost Avoidance Efficiency,  GO-TIME,  Government That Works,  Human Services,  Innovation,  Press Release Harrisburg, PA– The Wolf Administration today announced $690 million in program integrity cost avoidance and recoveries in fiscal year 2016-17 at the Department of Human Services (DHS) – a $42 million increase from fiscal year 2015-16. Of the $690 million, $328 million are state dollars; the remainder is federal.“My administration is focused on cost-savings, but also avoiding costs that can save money and time,” Gov. Wolf said. “The tremendous savings announced by DHS are indicative of the department’s concentrated efforts to improve how they work, streamlining processes, and truly putting a finer point on government that works.“This is just another example of how the executive branch is taking the lead on controlling costs and saving money for taxpayers.”’The $690 million in cost avoidance and recoveries represents a 6.5 percent increase over fiscal year 2015-16.“The department is committed to making sure taxpayer dollars are going where they are meant to go – to serving older Pennsylvanians, children, and individuals with a disability, and protecting the well-being of our most vulnerable populations,” said DHS Acting Secretary Teresa Miller. “Our program integrity activities are safeguarding the money spent on delivering quality, essential care while demonstrating accountability.”This increase can be attributed to:Concentrated efforts by DHS’ Health Insurance Premium Program (HIPP) staff on increasing the number of enrollments each month, which allowed the program to surpass its FY 2016-17 goal of $90 million by $7 million. This represents an increase of $10 million in cost avoidance over last fiscal year. HIPP is a program for Medical Assistance beneficiaries who are employed by an employer that offers health insurance. HIPP staff determine whether it is more cost effective for DHS to pay the employer-sponsored insurance premium than to enroll the beneficiary in the HealthChoices program.Streamlining of selected processes in order to expedite resolution of outstanding Third- Party Liability (TPL) casualty and estate recoveries, resulting in $12.8 million more in recoveries over last year. One component of the streamlining is a GOTIME initiative to implement a web portal for DHS customers. The web portal will greatly improve customer service, while freeing staff time to process cases, and again, ultimately increase recoveries. This resulted in a $10.6 million savings in 2016-17.Increased use of data analytics to help to identify patterns of fraud, waste, and abuse.DHS continues to modernize its program integrity efforts by undertaking a significant process improvement initiative that includes mapping and evaluating internal operations related both to estate and casualty recoveries and to fraud, waste, and abuse efforts. Through this initiative, we hope to:Identify additional opportunities for streamlining operational processes;Identify opportunities for automation;Develop a plan for targeted redirection of fraud, waste, and abuse from the fee-for-service to the managed care delivery system; andRestructure the bureau to better meet future business needs.“The record amount of money DHS was able to reclaim or avoid is a result of identifying opportunities and making operational changes. That is government that works,” said Miller. “A commonsense example is from the TPL casualty and estate recoveries. At times DHS received an estate or casualty recovery check for just a portion of the amount owed. Historically, those checks were stored and not cashed while we tried to recover the balance of the claim. The checks would become outdated before we could cash them and we’d have to start the process all over again. Now we cash the checks and send a letter informing the beneficiary that we’ve accepted the partial payment and what amount they still owe us.”For more information, visit October 24, 2017last_img read more