Report to the 76 IAPA General Assembly
October 21-23, 2020

In this period, the regime has increased repression and censorship against independent media and journalists - as well as against activists and citizens. Under warnings of contempt, enemy propaganda, incitement to crime or receiving funding from abroad, independent media have been blocked and hacked, and independent journalists have been arrested, detained, threatened and beaten - as well as forbidden from leaving their homes or the country.

Through decree 370 - which censors and monopolizes the use of the internet - dozens of people were fined the equivalent of three minimum salaries for expressing themselves on social networks. Those who do not pay can be jailed.

ETECSA - the communication monopoly - in addition to charging ridiculously high prices, blocked dozens of independent media websites such as 14ymedio, Diario de Cuba, Cubanet, Cibercuba, El Estornudo, ADN Cuba and Tremenda Nota. The creation of accounts to impersonate opponents and independent journalists also grew, as did the use of trolls and fake accounts.

The official practice of hacking continues – and also the use of cyber-messaging with death and disappearance threats and violence against communicators from the LGTBI community. The victims were Maykel González Vivero, Nonardo Perea, Alfredo Martínez, and Nelson Julio Álvarez Mairat.

Police repression was also used against civil protests in June, July and October. The regime temporarily cut off the protesters' telephone and internet service.

Many independent journalists are forbidden to leave their homes and are watched - among them Luz Escobar, Abraham Jiménez Enoa, Ricardo Fernández Izaguirre, Mario Ramírez Méndez, and Henry Constantin Ferreiro.

During this period, the regime arrested Abraham Jiménez Enoa, Jorge Enrique Rodríguez, Yoe Suárez, Héctor Luis Valdés Cocho, Iliana Hernández, Camila Acosta, Esteban Rodríguez López, Vladimir Turró Páez, Roberto Rodríguez Cardona, Yadisley Rodríguez Ramírez, and Anderlay Guerra, as well as activists Raux Denis and José Luis Acosta Cortellán – for their criticism on Facebook.

Agents from the Ministry of the Interior (MININT) kept surveillance and raided the homes of reporters Yadisley Rodríguez Ramírez, Roberto Rodríguez Cardona and Enrique Díaz Rodríguez. Also, they interrogated Diario de Cuba collaborator, Yoe Suárez; La Hora de Cuba editor and publisher, Mario Ramírez Méndez - for the third time this year; reporters Ricardo Fernández Izaguirre and Jancel Moreno; youtuber Ruhama Fernández; Carlos Melián and Mónica Baró of El Estornudo, Héctor Luis Valdés Cocho, Waldo Fernández Cuenca, Niober García Fournier and José Antonio López Piña, of Palenque Visión.

The regime has also confiscated work equipment and other belongins from Yadisley Rodríguez Ramírez, Anderlay Guerra, Camila Acosta and Adriano Castañeda.

Abraham Jiménez Enoa - correspondent for The Washington Post in Havana - was arrested in October. Niober García Fournier was fined twice for his journalistic work on Facebook. Jorge Enrique Rodríguez was detained for four days after filming police officers. Yoe Suarez was arrested - and was blindfolded while being transported.

In September, Roberto de Jesús Quiñones - the only journalist who was in prison - was released after serving almost a year's sentence. He reported receiving abuse and threats for trying to publish texts from prison.

The authorities have fined journalists Jorge Enrique Rodríguez, Camila Acosta, José Luis Acosta Cortellán, Marisol Peña Cobas, Adrián Quesada, Ediyersi Santana Jobo, Ileana Hernández, Mónica Baró, Yankiel Gutiérrez, Yander Serra, Niober García Fournier, Adriano Castañeda, Yanisbel Valido, Enrique Díaz Rodríguez, Raux Denis, Diosbany Zalazar Rodríguez, Esteban Rodríguez López, Henry Couto Guzmán, and Yeris Curbelo Aguilera.

Waldo Fernández Cuenca - a contributor to Diario de Cuba - had his self-employment license revoked.

Harassment against sources, interviewees and people close to journalists continues. Yoe Suarez's mother was summoned and grilled twice, and asked to pressure her son into quitting journalism. In Guantánamo, the regime summoned Miguel Ángel López Herrera, Abel Rodríguez Ortiz, Luis Terán Ramírez, Oscar Rodríguez Alcántara, Manuel Alejandro León Velázquez and Yobel Martínez Sevilla - just for being interviewed for independent press videos.

The regime uses penal code laws such as contempt - for not showing respect to the authorities or for arguing police prohibitions - and other arbitrary laws such as enemy propaganda, incitement to crime, vagrancy, hoarding, or "mercenarism" - the latter for receiving financial help from abroad.

The following journalists are forbidden to leave the country: Camila Acosta and Anais Remón, from Cubanet; Iliana Hernández, from Cibercuba; Abraham Jiménez Enoa; Luz and Reinaldo Escobar, from 14ymedio; Maikel González Vivero, from Tremenda Nota; Waldo Fernández Cuenca; Yoe Suárez and Boris González Arenas, from Diario de Cuba; Rosalia Viñas Lazo and Yoandy Izquierdo Toledo, from Convivencia; Rolando Rodríguez Lobaina and Niober García Fournier, from Palenque Visión; Regina Coyula and Julio Aleaga.

Other people not related to journalism or civic activism have also been threatened for filming, photographing or publishing images, opinions or criticisms on social networks. This was the case of Jorge Felix Vázquez Acosta - a hotel employee - who was fired from his job because of his critical posts on social networks.

State Security summoned and grilled 15 of the 70 people who signed a letter - published in La Hora de Cuba - addressed to figures within the Catholic Church.

Writer Pedro Armando Junco was kicked out of the Cuban Writers and Artists Union after refusing to retract a letter to President Miguel Díaz-Canel posted on his Facebook page. Weeks later, his literary club was shut down because he continued to write criticisms on Facebook.