Cuban Journalist Expelled From Ecuador Asks Justice for the Return of Her Visa

Her lawyer demands that the Noboa Government deliver the secret reports mentioned by the Executive

Santiago, while recording a broadcast of her program Ingobernables [Ungovernables ]/ EFE
14ymedio biggerEFE (via 14ymedio), Quito (Ecuador), 6 May 2024 — Cuban journalist Alondra Santiago asked the Justice Department of Ecuador this Friday to annul the decision of the Government of President Daniel Noboa to expel her from the country by canceling her visa, an act apparently related to the communicator’s criticism of his government’s Administration. Through her lawyer Carlos Soria, the aggrieved claimed the application of a protection action where the Government is judicially obliged to return her visa and deliver the secret reports that the Executive has mentioned as a reason for her expulsion.

The lawyer maintained that, with the decision of the Executive, the defendant has seen her rights to freedom, free communication, dissemination of information, non-discrimination, protection of family ties, legal security, due process and defense violated.

Soria accused the Noboa administration of allegedly skipping the administrative procedure by making the decision to cancel Santiago’s visa without first notifying her about the beginning of the process to give her the opportunity of a defense.

Soria accused the Noboa administration of allegedly bypassing the administrative procedure by making the decision to cancel the visa

The magistrate in charge of evaluating the requested protection action suspended the hearing until she had the documents presented by the Government, whose lawyers confirmed that their procedure against Santiago is legal and maintained due process.

The Government of Noboa notified Santiago on June 24 that it was withdrawing her permanent residence visa on the grounds of alleged acts against national security, based on a “secret report” prepared by the intelligence center. Through her Ingobernables [Ungovernables] talk show, which is broadcast on social networks and has a wide audience, Santiago had been critical of Noboa, and in the last elections she had expressed his support for Luisa González, the candidate of Correísmo.

Weeks ago she was harshly criticized for using the Ecuadorian national anthem to make a parody about President Noboa’s management. Specifically, the Government stated the same Tuesday that the national anthem was announced on a national network (message to the nation) through the media, with the previous phrase “out of respect for the country”.

“I would like to return to my country, which is Ecuador, because there I have my whole life”

For Santiago, this episode is proof that Noboa’s “authoritarianism” “has no limits,” as she told EFE this Friday in her first interview with an international media outlet since her departure from Ecuador. “What Daniel Noboa did to me is not only cut off my freedom of the press but my right to defend myself (…) I don’t know what I’m accused of, I haven’t seen the document; my lawyer hasn’t seen it either,” she complained.

Santiago added, however, that even if Justice rules in her favor, she is not sure if she will return to Ecuador because she feels that her life could be at risk. In fact, she asked EFE for security reasons not to reveal her location. “I would like to return to my country, which is Ecuador, because I have my whole life there. But what’s going on? If a Government is capable of committing this totally crazy and violent act … If I can return tomorrow, what else can the president do? What can he tell me to do? I have no guarantees that my life will be safe there,” she said.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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