An Hour and a Half with Big Brother / 14ymedio, Juan Carlos Fernandez

Juan Carlos Fernandez
Juan Carlos Fernandez

14ymedio, 18 February 2016 – For an hour and a half this Wednesday I received a barrage of threats from State Security in Pinar del Rio. Like a scene out of George Orwell, four agents devoted themselves to warning me that I could be prosecuted for the crime described in Law 62 of the Penal Code, which refers to “professional intrusion.” My work as a journalist could send me to jail, promised these jealous keepers of the occupational limits of every Cuban.

In a chair bolted to the floor in a small room, I listened to the hackneyed intimidation that my work equipment would be confiscated the next time they saw me on the street “reporting something.” The agents said that both of the information projects I participate in are illegal: the daily 14ymedio, and the magazine Convivencia (Coexistence). I didn’t take advantage of the opportunity to suggest to them that they allow freedom of the press and thus end the problem.

Not to mention, of course, the record of the police warning I refused to sign. However, when I left there and later hugged my wife and a friend who were waiting for me outside, I realized that I had no resentment against the threatening agents, rather they inspired pity in me.

I got home, laid down for a minute on the living room couch to gather my strength, and from the kitchen my wife shouted, “Juan! We’re out of eggs, we have to find something to eat tonight!” The reality that State Security could not deny, once again was knocking on my door.