14ymedio, Madrid, April 1, 2019 — Fourteen young people were incarcerated recently in Caimanera, Guantánamo, for trying to enter the U.S. Naval Base. A rumor had been spreading for weeks that the U.S. would take in any one who tried to leave the island by getting onto the base, and this caused a streak of detentions and strict militarization of the zone by Cuban State Security forces.
According to sources cited by the Spanish newspaper ABC, the army prevented non-residents from entering the province, and on Sunday, some 159 people were detained by the municipal police for trying to bypass the system of access control.
The U.S Government decided to notify Cubans in Caimanera that they had been the victims of a hoax. “It is not true that the U.S. Naval Base is processing Cubans for immigration,” the Department of State’s communication said.
“We continue to support safe, legal and orderly immigration under the laws of the United States,” it pointed out.
According to ABC, those arrested up to now are: Argelio Lechuga, Yorie Céspedes, Daniel Manuel Estrada Gorra, Rafael Vadari Sánchez Ruíz, residentes en Guantánamo; Roinel Espinosa y Adonis Domínguez, of Holguín; Amari Martínez, Yordanis Ramírez, Yasiel Galván, Aniel Martel, Lázaro Valdez, Jesús Miguel Aguilar, Carlos Antonio García and Yasmani Marcelino Mendoza, of Cienfuegos.
According to ABC sources, they have been accused of “violating the security perimeter” and “disobedience,” but not of “intent to exit the territory illegally.”
Yulieth Yero and Lisbeth Téllez, the wives of Rafael and Daniel Manuel, said that their spouses arrived at the Naval Base, where they were met by U.S. military authroities, who facilitated a safe-conduct pass for them to avoid detention before being deported according to the migration accords. However, according to their spouses, the documents were taken away from them by the Cuban police, and they were detained in order to be processed.
The families of Jesús Miguel Aguilar and Aniek Martel also spoke with the newspaper and reported that the detentions were meant as an example to prevent similar cases. “If the Cuban Government had denied the rumor on time, our sons wouldn’t have been prosecuted,” they protested. Both families say that their sons are being mistreated in prison.
Since the end of February, in the context of the constitutional referendum, Guantánamo’s neighbors have denounced the excessive militarization of the province. At that time, the deployment was interpreted as a method of control for possible protests, but weeks later, the army and the police continue controlling the entrances and exits to the territory, with special emphasis on Caimanera.
According to what a neighbor from the town told ABC, several journalists have tried to contact him to get information about the situation, but none has been able to get through. At the National Revolutionary Police control points on the highway at the entrance to the city, they denied access to them after taking down their names on a list,” he said.
ABC’s correspondent in Havana, Jorge Enrique Rodríguez, was detained for approximately 24 hours on March 21. The journalist had, days before, reported the unusual military activity and notable influx of people with the apparent intention of approaching the Caimanera Naval Base of Guantánamo in order to leave the country. His release was made possible by the intervention of the Ambassador from Spain in Cuba at the request of the Director of the Spanish newspaper.
Translated by Regina Anavy
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