Report to the Midyear Meeting 2023
April, 25-27

The crisis of independent journalism is approaching a depth not seen in the last 30 years. As a result, there are fewer independent journalists, and those who remain in the country survive in hazardous material and mental conditions.

Nor had the population had such a massive desire to emigrate when economic problems, inflation, general shortages, and the deterioration of health and education systems had intensified. In this destructive environment, Miguel Díaz-Canel and his unpopular Council of Ministers were re-elected among praises of Raúl Castro and theatrical votes.

The press and independent activists have been the most affected sectors in this scenario. Nevertheless, the repression continues, so there are more than a thousand political prisoners.

The repression against journalists and independent media continue to be carried out with two hands by the Communist Party and the Ministry of the Interior. However, the number of attacks dropped, not because of a change in official strategy but because dozens of reporters left the country. The gag against freedom of the press and expression is rooted in the Penal Code, the Associations Law, Law 88, the Constitution, and specific decrees.

Around the dates with high political significance (November 15 and 27, December 10 and March 26) have been the times when there were more attacks against journalists, such as threats of arrest, house police surveillance, and blocking of telephone communications.

Reporter Lázaro Yuri Valle Roca continues in prison. Amid serious health problems, he is serving a five-year sentence for filming and reporting on the launch of leaflets in Havana.

Journalists Reinaldo Escobar, Boris González Arenas, Inalkis Rodríguez, Camila Acosta, Julio Aleaga, Jorge Enrique Rodríguez, Iris Mariño, Rolando Rodríguez Lobaina, and Henry Constantín, regional vice president for Cuba of the IAPA Press Freedom and Information Committee, continue to be prohibited from leaving the country.

The most recent case of prohibition is the writer Jorge Fernández Era, for giving an interview and having one of his texts published in an independent media. He was also arrested, fined, and interrogated for the same reason.

The media and associations of independent journalists continue to be banned from having spaces on radio or television. Furthermore, the printed reproduction and circulation of its materials are punishable by imprisonment.

The Internet, especially Facebook, continues to be the main space for expression for Cubans. However, it is periodically reported that critical citizens are threatened or taken to police units. The most notorious cases are those of Sulmira Martínez and Hilda Núñez. Martínez has been in prison since January after posting her right to express herself on Facebook. A few days ago, State Security published an interview in which she accused herself of her jail. As a result, Núñez, a YouTuber, was arrested, and the police confiscated a mobile phone and her computer.

The activist Yasmany González was fined 3,000 pesos for his critical expressions on the Internet, starting with Decree 370, used to punish those who annoyed the regime with their expressions on networks.

The YouTuber Yoandi Montiel, known as El Gato de Cuba, was released after serving two years in prison for the mocking and critical videos of him against Miguel Díaz-Canel and the government.