14ymedio, Havana, 19 November 2022 – Independent journalist Abraham Jiménez Enoa received the International Prize for Press Freedom, awarded by the Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ), on Thursday. The Cuban, the only Spanish speaker nominated this year, in his acceptance speech dedicated the award to colleagues Lázaro Yuri Valle Roca and Jorge Bello Domínguez, currently both in prison on the island.
During the ceremony in New York Jiménez Enoa said that the Cuban government treats independent journalists as delinquents, as criminals, simply because they want to show the Cuban people the reality in which they live”.
“Taking the decision of not allowing what’s happening in my country to go unreported, of bringing what’s happening into public view, puts the physical and mental health of anyone who does what we do at risk”, added the co-founder of the digital magazine El Estornudo (The Sneeze).
Jiménez Enoa, exiled in Spain since the end of last year, revealed that in 2020 the Cuban authorities handcuffed him, interrogated him and threatened him with legal reprisals if he continued to write for The Washington Post, which he had been doing since 2019.
“There’s no way they’ll take our voice away from us. We Cuban journalists are going to denounce the Cuban dictatorship’s outrages until the last second of our lives, even if we have to pay the highest price for it”, said the journalist (33) as he received the prize.
Others also received awards alongside the Cuban reporter: the Iraqui journalist Niyaz Abdullah, from Kurdistan; the Ukrainian Sevgil Musaieva, director of the Ukrainska Pravda, and Pham Doan, from Vietnam, who has been in prison since last December.
In his Washington Post columns Jiménez Enoa has reported on issues including police violence and racism, the debate over same-sex marriage, the terrible condition of Havana’s buildings, and the problem of access to housing in the city.
These are issues which are rarely given any critical coverage in the official state press on the Island, though they are constantly being reported-on in the independent media. In the last two years journalists working outside of the official press have reported an increase in attempts by the authorities to stop them from working, by using police summonses, house arrest, confiscation of equipment or limits to internet access.
This police repression and the draconian legislation against freedom of expression that is maintained on the Island has provoked an exodus of reporters, because of which Cuban independent journalism has had to reinvent itself a number of times.
Translated by Ricardo Recluso
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