14ymedio, Havana, 19 June 2019 — The authorities again prevented the independent journalist Henry Constantín from leaving the country, as he prepared to attend the next General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS), in Colombia. The director of La Hora de Cuba will not be able to participate in the event because he is “regulated” — Cuban State Security’s preferred euphemism — and can not travel outside the country, according to Constantín himself speaking to 14ymedio.
Before buying the ticket for the trip, the reporter visited the Identity Card offices in Camagüey on Tuesday where he was informed that there is an exit ban in force against him. On this occasion the reporter did not even arrive at the airport where the officers of the Directorate of Identification, Immigration and Foreigners (DIIE) denies exit to those who are “regulated.”
“It had been little more than three months that I had not been ’regulated’, since March 8,” the reporter told this newspaper. “I returned from my last trip a week ago and they are forbidding me to leave again.” The refusal to allow Henry Constantín to travel is added to those received last month by several collaborators of ’La Hora de Cuba’, when they tried to attend different international events.
“The repressive wave, which started in 2016 against La Hora de Cuba, has had periods of greater and lesser intensity, but the vigilance over the most active members of the team, the prohibitions on leaving the country or moving freely within our own borders have been maintained, depending on the most important events and our publications,” he explains.
Constantín explains that there is “a succession of acts” against his family and the collaborators of the publication he directs that have “intensified” since the last half of last year. “The harassment has gone from death threats, and attacks on social networks to prohibitions on leaving the country,” he added.
As has happened in previous situations with other civil society activists and independent journalists, the immigration authorities did not provide details on what procedures a person has to perform to appeal the travel ban.
Previously the authorities prevented three of the Camagüey magazine’s collaborators — Inalkis Rodríguez, Iris Mariño and Sol García — from taking a flight to Trinidad and Tobago where they had been invited by the Simone de Beauvoir Leadership Institute to an event on the participation of women in society.
The Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, based in Havana, has repeatedly denounced the use of travel restrictions as a repressive measure against government opponents and activists.
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