Following the release of 21 political prisoners, the Cuban government insists on reminding the dissidents and independent journalists that they will continue their repressive policies. On the morning of this past August 9th, Military Counterintelligence and State Security agents summoned independent journalist Iván García for an interview.
The official summons is one of the means used by law enforcement agencies to intimidate dissidents. Generally, the authorities do not comply with the legal requirements for carrying out this judicial undertaking. In their conduct they are acting on their own and in disrespect of the law.
The officials claim that the reporter “discredited” military entities in one of his articles published in the Spanish newspaper El Mundo. To defame, denigrate, or disparage the institutions of the Republic, the mass organizations or social policies of the country, or the heroes and martyrs of the homeland, is considered by the criminal code to be a crime against public order. But they preferred to give an official warning.
The record of official warning, in the legal system, is a cumulative precedent that justifies the future implementation of a judicial procedure for pre-criminal dangerousness for antisocial behavior. Penalties can reach up to 4 years imprisonment, and this is one of the criminal charges most frequently used against people who disagree.
General of the Army Raul Castro, in his speech on August 1st regarding the release of 52 political prisoners convicted in 2003, warned that “there will be no impunity for the enemies of the fatherland.” García believes that officers who attended were given extended words of the President of the Councils of State and Ministers.
This past August 5th, the day of the 16th anniversary of the “Maleconazo” – the popular uprising that preceded the exodus of 1994 – police and State Security agents stopped a number of dissidents near the Malecon as they entered the U.S. Interests Section in Havana, Cuba, the only place that offers free internet to Cubans.
Obviously, the government has made it clear that they expected a different reaction from the European Union and Washington with regard to the recent humanitarian gesture. Maybe it is sending a message to remind them that, at any time and for any reason, they can once again fill the prisons with political prisoners.
Translated by Tomás A.
August 10, 2010