79th IAPA General Assembly, November 9 - 12, 2023, Mexico City, Mexico


Freedom of the press and freedom of expression continued to deteriorate due to the high level of repression in the country, leaving the Internet as the only refuge for citizens to criticize the difficult social situation in the country.

Precarious living conditions worsened during this period, and rising inflation continues to pulverize the value of salaries and state pensions. Public health continues to be in chaos due to the deficit of material and human resources and the increase in the cost of public transportation due to the lack of fuel. Blackouts continue for four to ten hours, and water shortages in cities and towns make daily life unsustainable.

Independent journalists Lázaro Yuri Valle Roca and Jorge Bello have been imprisoned since 2021. Valle Roca, director of the independent media and organization Delibera, was sentenced to five years in prison after being arrested on June 15, 2021, for filming and disseminating pamphlets with phrases of 19th-century independence fighters. He does not have adequate medical attention despite suffering from several serious illnesses, a benign eye tumor, and a kidney and mouth infection. Bello, journalist and activist, was sentenced in April 2022 to 15 years in prison for contempt for participating in the protests of July 11, 2021.

Several people remain imprisoned for recording or broadcasting live protests. Among them, Madelyn Rodríguez, known on Facebook as La Chamaca, for interviewing and showing girls beaten by agents of the Ministry of the Interior (MININT), and Anniette García, detained without sentence for publishing on her Facebook profile photos wrapped in the national flag. Leandro Pupo, from Holguín, was tried for publishing critical content on Facebook about the rulers and YouTuber Iván Daniel Calás for the content of his channel "Voz de verdad" (Voice of Truth).

Arbitrary detentions, house arrest, surveillance, and harassment through subpoenas are the most common forms of repression against independent journalism. Repression is exercised by the State Security Department (SE) through the National Revolutionary Police (PNR), with the support of the Communist Party, local governments, the Cuban Telecommunications Company (ETECSA), the Committees for the Defense of the Revolution (CDR) and the management of work or study centers.

The journalists who suffered house arrest or detention in police centers were Camila Acosta, Luis Ángel Cuza, Yunia Figueredo, and Henry Constantín, editor of the independent media La Hora de Cuba and regional vice-president of the IAPA. Police units detained Constantín three times between September and October. On one occasion, he was deprived of his freedom for four days to stay overnight in a rented room next to the street in Havana, where foreign leaders were traveling during the G-77 Summit. He was threatened with further arrest if he returned to Havana from his residence in Camagüey. Journalist Neife Rigau received threats from the SE for taking Contantín toiletries to where he was detained.

Also detained for hours or days were journalists Evert Oscar Matos Leyva, José Luis Tan Estrada, Yoani Sánchez, Reinaldo Escobar, Yunia Figueredo, Orlidia Barceló, Pedro Luis Hernández, Agustín López Canino, José Antonio López Piña, Carlos Milanés, Héctor Miguel Sierra, Yusleidy Romero Becerra, Onelcys Díaz Becerra, Jorge Luis Romero Becerra, Erika Pérez, Yanet Rodríguez, Yenys Fernández, Rolando Rodríguez Lobaina, Pedro Quiala, Gustavo Mena Artola, writer and humorist Jorge Fernández Era and intellectual Alina Bárbara López.

Yaima Sardiñas, Agustín López, Yeris Curbelo, Yoandi Montiel (YouTuber known as El Gato de Cuba), and Jorge Enrique Rodríguez suffered physical and psychological aggressions.

Restrictions in the digital space, especially Internet cuts, continue to be applied profusely to independent journalists. Some of the victims were Jorge Enrique Rodríguez, Boris González, Yunia Figueredo, Henry Constantín and Vladimir Turró. Also reporting such incidents were José Luis Tan, Juan Manuel Moreno, Melba González, Frank Abel García, Aniuska Paredes, Mabel Páez, Yadier Hernández, and Leinier Álvarez.

The Cuban Institute for Freedom of the Press (ICLEP) reported as victims of Internet blackouts Orlidia Barceló, Lídice Palmero, María Julia Triana, Juan Rosario Pérez, Lidier Pérez, Yaquelin Herrera, Deysi Martínez, Pedro Luis Hernández, Antonio Suárez, Donald Pérez, Omar Brito, Pablo Suárez, Alberto Hernández, Yanaisy Quezada, Flora Quiñones, Mario Labrada, Carlos Alejandro, Adiari Díaz, Vladimir Turró and Yania Suárez.

Twelve journalists are still banned from leaving Cuba for exclusively political reasons. These "regulated," a euphemism used by the regime, are Anay Remón, Camila Acosta, and Niober García, collaborators of the independent media CubaNet; designer Rosalia Viñas and María del Carmen Gort of Convivencia magazine; Reinaldo Escobar, editor-in-chief of the daily 14ymedio; Emilio Almaguer, of Diario de Cuba; Julio Aleaga, of the Pro-Freedom of the Press Association; and Henry Constantín. Also "regulated" are writers Jorge Fernández Era and José Gabriel Barrenechea, intellectual Alina Bárbara López, and influencer Yoandi Montiel.