14ymedio, Havana, 19 March 2021 – Cuba’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs made it clear this Friday that it will not allow the young journalist Karla Pérez to return to the country because she is “an instrument” at the service of the United States to “destabilize” the country.
“They are using an emigrant with several years outside of Cuba” to “carry out a media campaign,” said Yaira Jiménez Roig, the ministry’s director of Communication and Image, at a press conference.
According to the official, Pérez’s close ties with her “mentor” Eliécer Ávila are known. Ávila is the founder of the opposition group Somos+ (We Are More) and has been a resident of the United States for three years. “She is an instrument, it is not the first time she has been used” for “actions outside the law and destabilizing against Cuba.”
Pérez had to return to Costa Rica this Thursday after being stranded for several hours at Panama’s Tocumen International Airport, after being refused permission to board her plane to the island.
The journalist, expelled from the University of Santa Clara “for political reasons” in 2017, had an appointment with immigration this Friday to process her request for refugee status in the Central American country.
“They gave her a card that accredits her status as a refugee applicant, which serves as a legal identity document for all essential things in that country,” Lizet González, Pérez’s mother, told 14ymedio speaking from Cienfuegos.
The Cuban government also expressed its rejection of what it called a “media show” of five independent activists and journalists who appeared the day before at the ministry’s headquarters in Havana, and demanded to know the reasons they denied Pérez entry to the island. The official spokeswoman said that the event was “a spearhead” and pointed to the independent media ADN Cuba. “It is a digital, anti-Cuban publication, financed by the US Government and supported by federal funds.”
Jiménez dedicated most of her speech to exposing how ADN Cuba [Cuba’s DNA], non-governmental organizations, activists, influencers and politicians, “fabricated” what happened with Karla Pérez on social media and misrepresented it “in order to generate manipulated perceptions of reality.”
However, she made little reference to the entry ban. “Now they are simply trying to reinstall her in the country for subversive purposes,” she said. “Her stay in Costa Rica was not by chance; there is even a deputy there who maintains a strong relationship with violent groups in Miami.”
She finished her explanation by stating that “in Cuba, as in all countries, there are immigration laws that establish regulations in the legal framework and that govern the action of the immigration authorities. We have the same right as any other country to defend ourselves.”
In April 2017, when Pérez was a first-year journalism student in Santa Clara, she received a phone call to notify her of her expulsion from the Marta Abreu University. The young woman was linked to the Somos+ movement and had published criticisms of the Government on digital sites.
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