IAPA condemns attack of Cuban authorities against independent journalists

Temporary arrests, interrogations, threats of trial, harassment, prohibition of traveling abroad, citations, interrogations and other attacks.

Miami (January 30, 2020) - The Inter American Press Association (IAPA) condemned a new wave of Cuban government repression against independent journalists, including temporary arrests, interrogations, threats of trial, harassment, prohibition of traveling abroad, citations, interrogations and other attacks.

The President of the IAPA, Christopher Barnes, and the President of the Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Roberto Rock, expressed their condemnation on the continuous repression that seeks to silence "the brave journalists and independent media" in Cuba.

On January 27, the editor-in-chief of the news portal 14ymedio, Reinaldo Escobar, was banned from leaving the country. The journalist planned to travel to Colombia where he was invited by a university to participate in a conference. When requesting an explanation, the Immigration officer of the airport ordered him to visit the police station in his area of residence to know the reason for the travel impediment. Escobar is not being prosecuted or investigated for any crime, does not have pending fines and does not have a criminal record, according with 14ymedio.

Last year, journalists Luz Escobar and Ricardo Fernández of 14ymedio were also banned from leaving the country, as well as Abraham Jiménez Enoa, from El Estornudo; Boris González Arenas, Maykel González Vivero and Jorge Amado from other independent media.

On January 8, the police raided the residence of Iliana Hernández, a contributor of CiberCuba; confiscated her computer, a mobile phone, documents, and accused the journalist of receiving stolen goods, a crime punishable in the Criminal Code with the deprivation of liberty of up to one year, according to a denounce of the Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ). Although Hernandez presented documents that legitimized the acquisition of the equipment, it was not returned. She was also threatened with a fine for the dissemination of "information contrary to the social interest, morals, good customs and integrity of the people".

In mid-January the family of the journalist and lawyer, Roberto de Jesús Quiñones Haces, sentenced to one year in prison and imprisoned since last September, denounced the deterioration of his health.

Barnes, publisher of the Jamaican newspaper The Gleaner and Rock, director of the Mexican news portal La Silla Rota, reiterated the IAPA's complaint for the repression in Cuba based on the legal framework of the Constitution, the Criminal Code, as well as in laws and decrees that justify sanctions for the free exercise of freedom of expression and of the press.

The IAPA is a non-profit organization dedicated to the defense and promotion of freedom of the press and expression in the Americas. It is made up of more than 1,300 publications from the Western Hemisphere; and is based in Miami, Florida, United States.