14ymedio, Havana, 11 May 2017 — Karla Pérez González, the student expelled from the University of Las Villas for her membership in the dissident organization Somos+, arrived in San José, Costa Rica, this morning after receiving an offer to continue her studies there.
“This opportunity came to me through the journalist Mauricio Muñoz in (the Costa Rican daily) El Mundo,” the young woman said before her departure. “He phoned me, as did many other journalists, after my expulsion.” During the conversation, the reporter offered her a chance “to go to that country to study and practice and in this way to get training in the profession,” she told 14ymedio.
Perez Gonzalez contacted the director of the newspaper, Yamileth Angulo, by e-mail, and she reiterated that her colleagues “are delighted to collaborate because it is humanitarian.”
Speaking to 14ymedio, Angulo says that she knew what had happened to Karla through “the principle media in the world.” Then they interviewed her for their newspaper and wanted to help her, “if she was permanently expelled” with an internship in Costa Rica” and payment for the University.
The young woman says that her plan is to return to Cuba and practice journalism in this country.
“The cost of this scholarship is being fully covered by the Costa Rican newspaper El Mundo,” says Angulo. “We have no connection with any political organization, nor with any government or party. We are simply a means of communication very committed to freedom of expression and that is why we extend our hand to the girl.”
Karla is not the only intern at El Mundo. “There are seven students being supported in their studies,” says the director. “All the interns are from Costa Rica. We have also had them from Spain, because of the unemployment issues they had there, but now we only have Costa Ricans and, from now on, Karla,” she explains with pride.
“Our flag is that of freedom of expression,” said the journalist, who assures that her media is not linked to nor has anything to do with “anyone from Castro or anti-Castro organizations.” The solidarity gesture with Karla is born of the solidarity from their also having suffered “aggressions against the freedom of the press.”
“We do not put any conditions on Karla, if she wants to go back to the island or not, that’s her decision, and if she wants to stay in Costa Rica for a few more years, she’ll have no problem,” says Angulo. “If she decides to continue working in El Mundo, she will have a place. If she wants to return to Cuba, we will also support her.”
Upon arrival in San Jose, Karla will be received by several journalists from the newspaper and her press credential will be handed to her. Then the corresponding formalities with migration will be carried out to regularize her status and from that moment the university where she will study will be selected; among those she can choose from are University Latina or San Judas University.
In a recent interview with 14ymedio, Perez Gonzalez described her greatest dream. “What I want is to study, with capital letters” and “definitely here (in Cuba) I can not,” she said, adding that having a university degree is a point of “personal pride. They’re forcing me to leave,” she acknowledged in that interview.
El Mundo is the fourth most important media in Costa Rica and was founded three years ago. It has “a group of journalists very committed to the profession”, according to its director. “We have an audience of two million readers a month. Some 90% of our work is about political issues, we do not have sensational news or social stories,” he adds.
Karla María Pérez González was expelled from the University after being accused of belonging to the Somos+ Movement and “having a strategy from the beginning of the course to subvert the young.”
Her case aroused a wave of indignation and those speaking up in her favor even included voices from officialdom, such as singer-songwriter Silvio Rodriguez, who wrote in his blog: “What brutes we are, for fuck’s sake, the decades pass and we don’t learn a thing.”