Cuban Human Rights Group Adds President of Etecsa to List of ’Violent Repressors’

Mayra Arevich Marín, director of the telecommunications monopoly, Etecsa.

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 22 June 2019 — On Friday, The Foundation for Human Rights in Cuba (FHRC) added Mayra Arevich, executive president of the state telecommunications monopoly Etecsa, to its database of violent repressors, according to a statement released by the organization.

The FHRC, based in Miami, has also added Ernesto Gómez Novoa, second chief of the General Customs of the Republic of Cuba, blogger Iroel Sánchez and director of the CubaSí site, Manuel H. Lagarde to the list.

Averich has been classified as a violent repressor by the Foundation “for publicly inciting hatred” against the journalist and director of 14ymedio , Yoani Sánchez. In its statement, the FHRC warns that these attacks may open the possibility of acts of violence” against and they are happening “at a time when the government is intensifying its war propaganda against citizens.”

On Twitter, Sánchez said she would hold Averich responsible, “for any damage” suffered by her or her family from the dissemination of a “message of hate and misogyny” that the official spread in her account of that social network.

“A violent repressor is not only the person who strikes a peaceful opponent, but also the one who incites, foments and encourages the exercise of violence, as established by international norms,” explains the FHRC. “It is important that government officials and the Party know that their actions have inescapable individual responsibilities that do not diminish over time.”

“Among the participants of this recent orgy of insults are the pens of two collaborators of the State Security: Iroel Sánchez and Manuel H. Lagarde,” the text points out.

“Both had been included in our permanent database of Cuban white-collar repressors for months, but from now on they have reached the category of violent repressors,” he adds.

The NGO, based in Miami, noted that this is not the first campaign to against the journalist meant to kill her reputation. It also called attention to the “ferocity” deployed against her and the “uncharacteristic incitement” to violence.

Juan Antonio Blanco, director of the FHRC, said that people who feed hate “should take note that they assume legal responsibility before international courts.”

“This is now the case if Yoani Sánchez is the victim of physical aggression by fanatics, or by police agents disguised as an ’enraged people’, for the simple fact of her request for a reduction in the abusive prices of that state monopoly,” he said.

During this month there have been several digital protests through the social network Twitter with the hashtag #BajenLosPreciosDeInternet (LowerThePricesOfInternet). The first day of the demands occurred on June 1, the second on the 15th and a third is scheduled for this Saturday the 22nd.

Unlike the first occasion, on Saturday, Etecsa officials prepared to counter the online protest and verbally attacked the participants with accusations of being financed from the United States.

In less than 24 hours, the hashtag #BajenLosPreciosDeInternet became Trending Topic in Cuba, with messages published by a great variety of users of the social network. Students, computer engineers, clients of the domestic service known as Nauta Hogar, independent journalists and activists were some of those who denounced the high rates charged by Etecsa.

In return, the state monopoly and several official spokespersons spread messages with labels such as #CubaInformatiza and #CubaMasInternetvsBlock. The official accounts of Etecsa also published infographics and figures on the evolution of mobile telephone services, internet connectivity from homes and Wi-Fi zones, together with data from web browsing from mobiles.

The data packages to surf the Internet from mobile phones sold by Etecsa range from 7 CUC for 600 megabytes to 30 CUC for 4 gigabytes, the latter the equivalent of a professional’s entire monthly salary.


The 14ymedio team is committed to serious journalism that reflects the reality of deep Cuba. Thank you for joining us on this long road. We invite you to continue supporting us, but this time by becoming a member of 14ymedio. Together we can continue to transform journalism in Cuba.