Another collapse in Old Havana leaves two injured; Neighbors ask for government action, not regrets (VIDEO)

Another collapse in Old Havana leaves two injured; Neighbors ask for government action, not regrets (VIDEO)
Another collapse in Old Havana leaves two injured; Neighbors ask for government action, not regrets (VIDEO)

Freedom of the press constitutes one of the pillars of democracy, which is why the Cuban regime puts all its efforts into restricting it through its repressive apparatus and the legislative and judicial system itself, independent journalists and a director of the organization agreed in statements to Martí Noticias. Inter-American Press Association (IAPA).

For more than 60 years, the free communication of ideas and opinion has been restricted on the Island and independent journalists and media outlets have been persecuted: dozens of communicators have been imprisoned. One of the most recent Lázaro Yuri Valle Roca sentenced to 5 years in prison for enemy Propaganda and Resistance.

“Lázaro was taken to prison while covering an activist event where they demanded our rights and freedom. He was arbitrarily taken to prison. Practicing journalism in Cuba implies an imminent risk because our lives are exposed to death and our freedom is exposed,” said his wife, reporter Eralidis Frómeta.

But it is not only prison that overwhelms them: harassment, surveillance, limitation of movements and threats from State Security are part of the daily life of independent Cuban journalists: José Luis Tan Estrada from Camagüey has been a frequent target of the attacks by the political police. Before his arrest on April 26, he told our editorial team the reasons why he was fined on the 17th of the same month:

In the 3rd unit of the PNR (National Revolutionary Police) in the city of Camagüey, state agents took an inspector from the state communications monopoly ETECSA to fine the reporter 3,000 pesos: “She showed me that folder full of pages printed with my posts on both Facebook and Twitter [X]in addition to ‘likes’ to memes, comments, ‘likes’ to other publications, shared memes and even publications from last year and, according to the inspector, ‘I was liking’ funny things against the leaders.”

Camila Acosta, correspondent of the Spanish newspaper ABC in Cuba and the middle Cubanetstill lives in Havana, but claims that he has been a victim of several repressive patterns.

“The regime’s repression has had several patterns and began from the moment I began my work as an independent journalist and these expressions of repression have been both physical and psychological. Physical, with the use of violence at the time of arbitrary arrests, kidnappings, because they are really kidnappings, because there is no court order, no justification. On one occasion they stripped me naked in a police station. Psychological repression has translated into intense, continuous interrogations, threats,” he stated.

Acosta has been expelled from homes she rented when the owners were pressured by members of the political police: “They left me on the street.”

“To my dad and my mom at the airport, when they came to visit me [desde Isla de Pinos], they have put them in interrogation rooms to force them to force me to leave independent journalism or leave the country. “They have tried to create conflicts with my partner, with my friends, whom they have threatened because of their relationship with me,” he explained.

After July 11, 2021, the journalist, who went out to cover the protests, was in forced disappearance for 48 hours and detained for four days “they threatened to prosecute me for crimes against State Security that carry up to 30 years in prison, chain life, including the death penalty.

Later, the process that had been initiated against him for public disorder was dissolved, although Acosta was, for several months, under a precautionary measure of house arrest.

“It is about crushing us, making us invisible, discrediting our work and also preventing us from doing it,” he stressed.

Faced with repression, many communicators have been forced to emigrate, like the journalist, for eight years, from the digital newspaper 14 and a half, Luz Escobar, who went into exile in Spain at the end of 2022.

“The bullying was not limited to me and my close adult environment, but it began to affect my daughters directly in recent months. Before I left Cuba, State Security summoned me, not to the police office or the immigration office where they normally interrogated me, but rather they summoned me to the Minors Section. [del Ministerio del Interior] and there several officers dedicated themselves to intimidating me so that my daughters could end up in jail. It was no longer the old threat that I was the one who could go to prison,” she noted.

The reporter was also prohibited from leaving the country, but State Security allowed her to travel to Madrid to collect the International Journalism Award from the Spanish newspaper. The world.

“But I am still banned from leaving Cuba and if I return to the Island I will continue to experience the same threats against me and my family,” Escobar stressed.

He added that the repressive environment against journalists prevents the exercise of the profession due to surveillance and house arrests, arrests, and Internet cuts.

“All this generates a hostile climate, beyond the particular context of the dictatorship that does not allow freedom of expression, that does not allow access to official sources, that is not transparent in the domain of its public agenda or its investments in the public life,” said the reporter.

In this sense, the executive director of the Inter-American Press Association (IAPA), Carlos Lauría, indicated that “the situation of freedom of the press and expression in Cuba continues to be serious,” and is increasingly damaged “from the oiled imposition of the repressive mechanism through the arbitrary use of the courts and laws, the control of public powers and the monopoly of telecommunications and the media.”

The absence of free communication of ideas and opinion limits the ability of citizens to form an opinion and transmit it to those in power who use the judicial system to muzzle criticism and bring to light state inefficiency and corruption. corruption.

“As the semi-annual report of the Inter American Press Association revealed, in the midst of a serious and deteriorating economic crisis, journalists who still continue to work are subjected to all types of harassment and are under surveillance. More than 1,000 people still remain in prison for protesting in the street and there are journalists imprisoned, such as the case of Lázaro Yuri Valle Roca, who has serious health problems and has been imprisoned for his journalistic work since mid-2021,” Lauría denounced. .

At its 79th General Assembly, held in Mexico in November 2023, the IAPA warned that, in terms of press freedom, “the hardest hit countries in the region were once again the dictatorships of Nicaragua, Cuba and Venezuela.”

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