Apologies: The video is in Spanish without subtitles
14ymedio, Mario Penton, Miami, 30 November 2016 — Leamsy Requejo Lorite, who worked as a curator at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Havana, was expelled from his workplace on Tuesday, after publishing on the social network Facebook an ironic text about the death of Fidel Castro, accusing him of owing him thousands of pesos that he was never paid for the work of his whole life.
“Good morning to those who know the true reality of Cuba,” Requejo said in a video posted on his Facebook profile in which he denounces his dismissal. “It saddens me greatly to use my Facebook profile to give this news. The abuse here in Cuba is becoming more evident,” he adds.
On November 26, a day after the death of Fidel Castro, this 31-year-old Cuban wrote a post for which he was fired. According to what he explained to 14ymedio by telephone, his co-workers reported him to the museum administration.
“I feel so sad, but so sad, that a person died who was paying my monthly salary,” his Facebook page said.
“He left and didn’t pay me what he owed. He left owing me thousands of pesos.”
“On Monday I approached Oscar Antuñu, deputy technical director of the museum, and he berated me for having posted these words on Facebook. He had not yet made the decision to fire me, but it was already rumored. A day later, he told me to get out because I’m not trustworthy,” says Requejo.
“They have not given me the pink slip, but at least verbally they kicked me out. They have told me I can not even enter the museum,” he adds.
The reason offered by the administration for his firing was the negative comment against “an idol of the Cuban Revolution.” Requejo asked what kind of idol is someone he never voted for to represent him.
“In one of the discussions they threatened not only to kick me out of the museum, but that I would never work in a state institution again,” he says.
Faced with the possibility of not being able to support himself and marked as a “counter-revolutionary,” Requejo threatened to call the international media to report his case, which finally precipitated the decision to dismiss him.
“They categorized me as untrustworthy and verbally abused me,” he explains, but says he didn’t fall short of words to defend himself against the attacks.
Requejo worked as a conservation specialist with six other colleagues, earning 365 pesos (14.60 dollars) per month, which was supplemented by 12 CUC (roughly 12 dollars) a month given to him to pay for his lunches.
“It was a shitty salary, but as bad as it was, it was what supported me,” he says. “In the two years I had been in that department I was always the best, but now they fire me like a dog.”
“I can not understand what my personal Facebook has to do with my workplace. I was fired from the museum simply for stating a political opinion, that goes against every right.”
Requejo says he is afraid of the pressure of State Security on him and it grieves him that this event destroyed his working life.
His immediate boss, Anniubys Garcia Blanco, refused to answer multiple calls from 14ymedio for comment, as did the deputy technical director of the museum, Oscar Antuña.
“I do not know what will happen to me, because I also work at the museum,” said Requejo’s mother, Barbara Lorite. “The only thing clear is that they threw him out, he’s out. Probably, they will fire me too when I return from my vacation,” she added.