Spain's foreign minister said Wednesday that Cuba made a "great mistake" in declining to renew the work permit of a Spanish journalist who reported from the island for 20 years.

Trinidad Jimenez said the decision was unfair to Mauricio Vicent, Havana correspondent for Madrid daily El Pais and the Cadena Ser radio network, and "liable to criticism from the perspective of the right to information."

"I think he is a magnificent journalist and he has done an excellent job as a correspondent. His reports have helped us a great deal in getting close to the political and social reality of the country," the minister told Onda Cero radio.

Cuban authorities accused Vicent of a lack of journalistic ethics and objectivity.

Jimenez, however, described Vicent as a reporter who "has always tried to maintain critical stances - when he thought he should - with the maximum respect."

"Criticism does not mean the reporting is biased," the foreign minister said.

The minister said that both she and the Spanish Embassy in Havana tried to dissuade the Cuban government from booting Vicent, "but, regrettably, it was a firm decision."