Santiago, Chile, Dec 1 (Prensa Latina) – President of the Metropolitan College of Journalists of Chile, Iván Gutiérrez, urged today the US Government to stop hindering the work of the office of Prensa Latina Latin American news agency in the United Nations and assume its obligations as UN host. In a statement from Santiago de Chile, Gutierrez decried the closure of the bank account of Prensa Latina’s office in the United Nations by the M&T Bank, an action that is part of US blockade measures against Cuba.
“The US blockade, imposed on Cuba for over 50 years, prevents today Prensa Latina from receiving money from its headquarters in Havana, which is allocated to its operations in the United Nations,” said Gutierrez, who is also the editor of Cronica Digital journal.
He insisted that the US Government has the legal obligation to secure compliance with Vienna conventions on diplomatic and consular relations and thus “respect the right to report by journalists and media based in his country”.
The Chilean journalistic leader also called on UN Chief Ban Ki-moon to make a statement about the issue, as the UN must ensure that all citizens worldwide have the right to receive all the information flowing from the world body through the different media organizations accredited in the UN.
Since March 2010, the M&T Bank has handled the account of the Prensa Latina office in the UN, a press agency with more than five decades of work in the UN headquarters in New York.
However, on July 12, 2013, the Prensa Latina correspondent got a letter from Peter Senica, Vice President of M&T Bank, with headquarters in Baltimore, informing the decision to “close the department that offers services to diplomatic missions and all related accounts, including the private accounts of employees and their relatives.”
Prensa Latina is known worldwide for its 55 years of work as an international news media specialized in Latin American and the Caribbean issues, with 30 offices worldwide.
PL is also a founding member of the Latin American Union of News Agencies, takes part actively in the context of world news agency congresses, being the latest one held in Saudi Arabia.
In January this year, the Prensa Latina office in the UN was granted a renewed special license by the Office of Foreign Assets Control under the U.S. Treasury Department, valid until 2015.