14ymedio, Havana, 14 July 2019 — Independent journalist Ricardo Fernandez Izaguirre, who works with 14ymedio and lives in the city of Camagüey, has been missing since Friday morning, according to information provided to this newspaper by the activist Berta Soler, leader of the Ladies in White.
Soler details that the reporter was at her home in the Havana neighborhood of Lawton, from where he left around 11 am on July 12 to go to the national bus terminal and travel to the city of Pinar del Río. Fernandez agreed to make a phone call to confirm that he had arrived safely, but never called.
Soler fears that the reporter has been arrested by the State Security since he has not given any sign of life in the last 48 hours. Any attempt to call his mobile phone results in a message that indicates that the cell phone number is “off or outside the coverage area.”
Soler’s house, which also houses the headquarters of the Ladies in White, was surrounded from the early hours of Friday by a police operation, according to the activist. Fernandez, who also collaborates with La Hora de Cuba and Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), arrived at the house on Thursday afternoon and fell asleep at nightfall.
The wife of the journalist, Yuleysy Ruiz, adds that Fernández wanted to travel from Havana to Pinar del Río to visit his daughter who lives in that city. “The last time we heard from him was Friday at five in the morning. He called his mother but since then we do not know anything else and we are all very worried.”
A report issued earlier this month by the Cuban Observatory of Human Rights (OCDH) denounced that during the first semester of 2019 there were at least 1,468 arbitrary arrests in Cuba.
The organization, based in Madrid, said it has registered numerous complaints of arrests, as well as detentions at airports, fines and other types of illegal actions that have been committed against opposition leaders, activists and independent journalists.
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