14ymedio, Havana, 8 August 2022 — The systematic harassment of the Cuban regime, acts of intimidation and threats by State Security, including a summons to his mother, forced reporter Nelson Julio Álvarez Mairata to “resign from his profession” and his position as a collaborator in the digital media Cubanet.
An agent of the political police, whom he identified as First Lieutenant Roberto, warned him that if he didn’t resign he would be subject to legal proceedings once the new Criminal Code was approved, and Roberto demanded that he make a video talking about his link with Cubanet and “his funding,” which he categorically refused to do.
Álvarez also denounced through his Facebook account that, since 2019, he has been subjected to “exhausting hours of interrogations, arrests, warning letters, even the search of the home where I was living, just for practicing journalism.”
The journalist explained that as part of the hate campaign against him, the regime hacked his social media profile to “expose his private life” and mock his sexuality and gender identity. “My family has been affected; my mother is being summoned for interrogation” and intimidated by prohibiting her from leaving the country, as is Álvarez’s sister, a 17-year-old teenager.
This siege led Álvarez to fall into an episode of burnout, an emotional exhaustion that affected him physically. The harassment he has suffered from the regime, he said, is part of their strategy. “The government has the resources to repress people individually.”
Police repression and the severity of the legislation against freedom of expression on the island are obstacles faced by journalists, and some have had to emigrate. This situation could increase in the face of the new Criminal Code, which provides for stricter punishments for independent newspapers and magazines that receive funding from abroad.
Similar to Álvarez’s case was that of independent journalist Cynthia de la Cantera, who on July 24 denounced the harassment of State Security. In a Facebook post, agent Manuel gave her three options: “Collaborate with them, abandon journalism or suffer the consequences and face criminal proceedings.”
“I’m deciding to give up journalism because I’m not willing to accept either of Manuel’s other two options,” said De la Cantera. “It was a decision that I had to make in a matter of a few minutes and, I reiterate, under threats. I just say, and I trust, “La Noche No Será Eterna” [The Night Will Not Be Eternal].
Translated by Regina Anavy
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