Cuban Journalist Jose Luis Tan Estrada Is Released After Five Days of Detention by State Security

“I just talked to him; they returned him to Camagüey this morning in a bus,” said activist Yamilka Laffita

Cuban journalist José Luis Tan Estrada / Facebook

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, May 2, 2024 — State Security released journalist José Luis Tan Estrada on Wednesday after five days of detention in Villa Marista. The CubaNet collaborator had been arrested by the political police last Friday when he was intercepted in Havana. “José Luis Tan Estrada has just communicated with two people. He’s free,” journalist José Raúl Gallego posted on his Facebook page. Gallego, who has been reporting on Tan Estrada’s case since his arrest, added that the young reporter communicated from a “landline in the Camagüey terminal.”

The news was confirmed shortly after by activist Yamilka Laffita (Lara Crofs) on the same social network. “José Luis Tan Estrada is free. I just talked to him; they returned him to Camagüey this morning in a bus.”

“Thank you very much to all those who stood in solidarity with the brother’s cause and supported us. Thank you very much to the person who told him that ’his little friends made a tremendous noise’ out here,” Laffita said.

After the arrest of Tan Estrada became known last Friday, several international organizations, activists and colleagues set off alarms about the “kidnapping” of the independent journalist. Among the NGOs that spoke out was PEN International. PEN’s Americas and Caribbean centers condemned the events on Saturday and called for the immediate release of the journalist, in addition to calling on the Cuban authorities to stop the harassment of critical voices in the country.

On Tuesday, they were joined by the Committee for the Protection of Journalists, which requested the release of Tan Estrada and indicated that the Cuban authorities must allow “reporters to work without fear of reprisals.”

“José Luis Tan Estrada has just communicated with two people. He’s free”

Although the circumstances of the journalist’s arrest are not known or if he is accused of any crime, the Cultural Rights Observatory reported on Wednesday that it was “following up on the repressive scheme applied by the Cuban State” against José Luis Tan Estrada. It also explained that “it knew the first name of the investigating officer of the case, Lieutenant Yasser,” and recalled that “according to the current criminal procedure law, it is possible to appoint a legal representative from the very moment of detention.”

After six hours of arrest last Friday, the political police allowed Tan Estrada to make a single call, and he asked his activist friend Yamilka Laffita to report his case, La Hora de Cuba posted on Facebook this Sunday. The media then specified that the journalist’s mother had not been able to “communicate with her son” and was unaware of his trip to the capital.

Among Tan Estrada’s colleagues, the hashtags #FreeTan and #InformarNoEsDelito (Information is not a crime) went viral. Journalist Luz Escobar, on her Facebook account, recalled similar cases of Cubans who have been imprisoned in Villa Marista, including the artist Hamlet Lavastida, who spent 86 days in the same prison in 2021, “and that State Security escorted him from Cuba on his way into exile.”

Translated by Regina Anavy


COLLABORATE WITH OUR WORKThe 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by becoming a member of 14ymedio now. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.