Cuban Faces of 2023: Alina Barbara Lopez, the Rebellious Professor From Matanzas

Cuban professor and historian Alina Bárbara López Hernández. (Facebook)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 24 December 2023 — After the Hermanos Saíz Association (AHS) censored, in October 2022, the event The Worst Generation, with a poster of artists who had begun to question the regime, Alina Bárbara López Hernández began to be the object of attention by State Security. The professor and historian was going to moderate that debate, in addition to prefacing a book that would have the same title and that the regime also prevented from being carried out.

She herself reported the harassment through social networks and, after receiving several requests from the political police to appear for questioning, she presented a “formal complaint and annulment action against the official summons” to the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office of Matanzas, where she resides.” With this, the teacher achieved something unprecedented: State Security annulled the summons.

Her actions and arrests have been reflected in Havana by the writer and journalist Jorge Fernández Era, with whom she collaborated on the digital magazine La Joven Cuba. In January 2023, inspired by Matanzas, Fernández Era presented a similar demand for nullity in the capital, after receiving a summons to appear, and did not attend the scheduled meeting.

She was tried for “disobedience,” and declared guilty on November 28

In April, López Hernández was detained for several hours by State Security after protesting another detention of Fernández Era in Matanzas’ Freedom Park. After being released, she recounted the details of the arbitrary detention in a long Facebook post and announced that every 18th day of the month she would demonstrate peacefully.

Her requests would be, month after month, several, among them “a democratically elected National Constituent Assembly to draft a new Constitution,” “freedom for political prisoners without mandatory exile” and “cessation of harassment of people who exercise their freedom of expression.”

The historian’s demands faced the usual reception in the regime: censorship and repression. She first discovered, when going to renew her passport for an academic trip to the United States – where she had traveled without problems before – that she was ’regulated’ [i.e. forbidden to travel] and could not leave the Island. Afterwards, she was put on trial for “disobedience,” of which she was found guilty this November 28.

Although her case has been reported by various international organizations, she was sentenced to pay 250 installments of 30 pesos, or 7,500 pesos, if she wants to see her “mobility limitations” lifted. The professor not only did not accept the ruling but she stated, once again, her reasons in public: “we are not subjects of a monarchy, we are citizens of a republic.”

Translator’s note: See the list of all “Cuban Faces of 2023” here.


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