14ymedio, Havana, 17 May 2021 — Cuban State Security accused the writer Rafael Vilches of calling for “public disorder” and inciting “the people to a rebellion through social networks” during an interrogation that lasted for more than an hour this Monday in Las Tunas, where he resides.
“The whole time they let me know that it was not a threat, but the first warning,” explained the author in a post on his Facebook profile.
Vilches added that the agents reproached him for maintaining ties with Rosa María Payá, Mario Félix Lleonart, his friends and other people he does not know, as well as his support for the San Isidro Movement. For all these reasons, they warned him, he can “incur a crime that is punishable by 8 to 10 years in prison.”
According to the testimony of the also poet and journalist, during the “conversation” he acknowledged belonging to the Club of Independent Artists and Writers of Cuba, which was treated by the officers as “a counterrevolutionary group.”
The agents also warned him that they can confiscate the equipment which he uses to support the “counterrevolution,” an idea that provokes laughter in Vilches. “Actually, I write manuscripts that I later type at the homes of friends who provide me with all their services. I don’t have a phone. So, what are they going to seize from me? My skateboard?”
The author, who had been summoned on Sunday in relation to “a case under investigation,” said that, although the interrogation proceeded on “apparently normal terms” and the officers even told him that they liked his books, with the exception of Inquisición roja (Red Inquisition), which is not available in Cuba.
However, one of the officers told him on several occasions: “We are not threatening you, but remember that you have a wife and children. We are not going to do anything to them. But you have to take care of them, because at your age if you end up jail we know that is not easy.”
“Out of that rarefied atmosphere, walking back to my home, I reaffirmed how much love we need for Cuba and Cubans. I repeated to myself that it is worth it for each Cuban, wherever they may be, to insist on defending our right to live in peace, happiness and freedom in the country that we deserve,” concludes the writer, who recalls that this May 17 is his mother’s birthday and he has not been able to go to see her.
At the end of the interrogation, the officers handed Vilches “an act of warning and commitment” that he refused to sign.
Last year, the jury of the Reinaldo Arenas narrative contest, which promotes the Puente a la Vista project, awarded its main prize to the novel by Vilches Sálvame si puedes (Save me if you can).
Born in Granma in 1965, Vilches has a degree in Art Education specializing in Plastic Arts and graduated from the Onelio Jorge Cardoso Literary Training Center. In 2008 he received the National Centennial Poetry Award from Emilio Ballagas. His published books include Ángeles desamparados (Forsaken Angels)(2001), Dura silueta la luna (Hard silhouette the moon) (2003), El único hombre (The only man) (2005), Trazado en el polvo (Traced in the dust) (2006), Tiro de Gracia (Coup de Grace) (2010) and País de Fondo (Background Country) (2011).
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