14ymedio, Havana, March 5, 2020 — Five months after obtaining political asylum in the US, independent journalist and Tremenda Nota contributor, Yariel Valdés González, was released from the detention center in New Orleans in which Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was holding him until the resolution of an appeal.
“After 11 months I was finally able to set foot in the land of liberty. It has been a long journey, painful, stressful, sometimes disappointing, but definitely worth it. Only one night out from behind bars has been necessary to prove that better things are coming for me,” Valdés wrote last night.
The reporter, 29, was in the River Correctional Center awaiting an appeal presented by ICE against the decision by judge Timothy Cole that granted him asylum last September, according to the Washington Blade, a media outlet managed by the LGBT community and to which he also contributes. The Immigration Appeal Board, supervised by the Justice Department, rejected the appeal on February 28.
Valdés and his colleague Carlos Alejandro Rodríguez Martínez, editor of Tremenda Nota, had been detained in September of 2017 when they were trying to interview an official of the Communist Party of Cuba in the Villa Clara province about the preparations for hurricane Irma.
The reporter arrived in the US on March 27, 2019 and turned himself in to ICE officials at the Calexico Bridge in California, where he requested asylum, claiming he had suffered persecution in Cuba for his work as an independent journalist.
“I can begin my life again in this country,” the reporter told the Washington Blade.
“I hope to be able to continue my career as a journalist from here and continue the fight for a more democratic Cuba for the 11 million Cubans who have resisted and resisted this dictatorial regime that has been in power for six decades,” he added.
Translated by: Sheilagh Herrera
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