IAPA condemns repression against independent journalists in Cuba
Miami (February 28, 2020) - The Cuban regime increased repression against independent journalists and activists in recent weeks, according to complaints received by the Inter American Press Association (IAPA).
The president of the IAPA, Christopher Barnes and the president of the Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information, Roberto Rock, reiterated their solidarity with the independent journalists of Cuba and condemned the "repression of the old regime that continues to qualify independent journalists as activists or political opponents."
"We cannot lower our guard, as an organization that defends freedom of the press, it is our duty to continue denouncing the different methods that the regime uses at all levels to repress the work of independent journalists," said Barnes, director of the Jamaican newspaper The Gleaner.
Rock, director of the Mexican news portal La Silla Rota, added that "we strongly condemn the psychological torture, persecution, espionage, harassment, limitations and other repressive practices suffered by Cuban journalists."
According to the vice chairman of the IAPA Committee on Freedom of the Press and Information for Cuba, Henry Constantín, most of the recent repressive events aim to "neutralize coverage" on the trial against opposition leader José Daniel Ferrer that is being conducted in the city of Santiago de Cuba.
Among those actions, on February 17, Camagüey's magazine La Hora de Cuba collaborator Ricardo Fernández Izaguirre was banned from traveling to Santiago de Cuba. The journalist was also detained for several hours.
That same day at dawn the political police raided in Pinar del Río the house of Yusleidy Romero, journalist and director of the publication of the Cuban Institute for Press Freedom (ICLEP), Panorama Pinareño. The ICLEP reported that in February journalists and executives of the organization have been monitored, detained and their houses were raided in the provinces of Havana, Matanzas, Villa Clara, Sancti Spíritus and Pinar del Río.
Last week, Cubanet's journalist Camila Acosta was evicted from her residence where she lived for two years. The owners of the property, who were fined, notified Acosta that due to orders from the political police, she had to leave the house in 48 hours.
On February 20, independent journalist Julio Aleaga Pesant was threatened and summoned to an interrogation on February 26. Also cited for that day and by different offices of the Interior Ministry were Carlos Manuel Álvarez, of the magazine El Estornudo and Luz Escobar, of the digital newspaper 14ymedio.
On February 22 Mario Ramírez, editor of La Hora de Cuba, was threatened after attending a police summons, the second in less than 20 days. During the interrogation, they warned him that Constantin, publisher of La Hora de Cuba, will be convicted by a future decree that would regulate the publication of content on social media. Constantin denounced that since February 25 his home have been monitored.
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.