Cuban Journalist Julio Aleaga Is Fined 3,000 Pesos for His Publications on Social Networks

The political police warned him that they could seize his work equipment

Independent journalist Julio Aleaga Pesant in one of the videos he publishes on social networks / YouTube/Screen capture

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 21 June 2024 — Independent journalist Julio Aleaga Pesant was fined 3,000 pesos this Thursday for the alleged crime of enemy propaganda. After attending a police summons, State Security questioned the reporter about his constant publications on digital platforms, in which he criticizes the lack of rights in Cuba and the repression that the regime exercises against its citizens.

The interrogation took place at the Zapata and C police station, in El Vedado, Havana, and lasted three hours, Aleaga said in an audio shared with several colleagues and friends. At first, the reporter was reprimanded by agents of the Ministry of Communications for his “work on the networks,” especially for his short videos with analysis on current issues of the Cuban reality.

In the second part of the interrogation, which Aleaga described as “childish,” he was threatened by three State Security agents who called themselves Maikel, Frank and Rodrigo, and warned him that they could seize the equipment he works with, especially his mobile phone, computer and other computer devices.

He also said that the Cuban law itself authorizes the political police “to persecute people” who raise their voices against the arbitrariness committed by the Cuban regime

The journalist said that he was threatened with “greater reprisals” if he remains active in his reporting spaces on Facebook and YouTube. He also said that the Cuban law itself authorizes the political police “to persecute people” who raise their voice against the arbitrariness committed by the Cuban regime.

Since Decree-Law 370 began to take effect, known as the “whipping law,” there have been many complaints that have circulated about the imposition of fines for publishing certain content on social networks, but most of those who report these reprisals are activists, opponents or independent journalists. An indeterminate number of citizens who have been punished in the same way choose to remain silent.

Decree-Law 370 is not the only regulation that has tried to stop citizen criticism on the Internet. In August 2021, Decree-Law 35 came into force, which penalizes those who give voice to fake news in Cuba, disseminate it, publish offensive messages or defamation that harm “the prestige of the country” and the “ethical and social damage or incidents of aggression” on social networks.

The regulations include a long list of cybersecurity incidents ranging from computer attacks and physical damage to telecommunications systems to the access and dissemination of child pornography, which only deserve the medium or high level of danger. On the other hand, the category of “social subversion,” described as actions that intend to alter public order, is considered very high risk.

Last March, Aleaga was the victim of a robbery with force in his home. A security camera located in a private cafeteria recorded the moment when a man broke into his apartment on 1st Street, between C and D, in El Vedado. About 40 minutes later, the individual left, leaving behind the broken entrance door, and taking the reporter’s personal laptop, a tablet and a bicycle.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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