14ymedio, Havana, 6 March 2017 – Cuban police prevented activist Joanna Columbié from boarding a plane this Monday heading to Mexico. The car in which she was raveling was intercepted on the way to the airport and a State Security official warned her that she would not be allowed to travel abroad, according to what she herself told 14ymedio after being released.
Columbié had planned to participate in a discussion meeting of the Democratic Action Roundtable (MUAD) to be held in Mexico City. The meeting is scheduled for this week and four activists from various opposition groups and social projects were invited.
Manuel Cuesta Morúa, Boris González, Roberto Díaz and Eroisis González were the other participants planning to attend event in Mexico. So far this newspaper has not been able to determine if those four activists managed to board their flights or if any of them was detained inside the Havana airport.
“The meeting was to be the MUAD secretariat with other members outside the island,” says Columbié. The activist also states that the Konrad Adenauer Foundation participated in organizing the event.
“I left the house in a taxi and I was nearing Lenin Park when a police patrol car with the number 784 stopped us. They told me to go with them and they also asked me for my phone so I could not make any calls,” says the member of Somos+ (We Are More) Movement.
The official warned her to stay away from “the counterrevolution” and threatened that “from now on” her life would become “very bad.”
In the police car was a State Security official known to Columbié from previous arrests, who calls himself Leandro. She was taken to Bacuranao Beach, to the east of the city, where the man warned her that they would have “a long conversation” and that she would not be allowed to travel to Mexico.
“I asked him what the reasons were but he simply told me that he wanted to talk,” recalls the activist. Leandro warned her that in recent months she had been “greatly elevated in her profile,” and that this could lead to her being deported to the village of Céspedes in Camagüey, where Columbié lived before residing in the capital.
The official warned her to stay away from “the counterrevolution” and threatened that “from now on” her life would become “very bad.” The man insisted that they would not let her leave the country.
“This is totally arbitrary,” says Columbié. “They have come to the point of taking completely arbitrary actions without even seeking a pretext.” The activist does not rule out taking legal action before the Military Prosecutor’s Office to denounce what happened.
During 2016, the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCDHRN) documented a total of 9,940 arbitrary detentions in the country. A figure that “puts the Government of Cuba in the first place in all of Latin America,” according to the report of the independent organization.