14ymedio, Luz Escobar, Havana, 8 September 2021 — The independent journalist Yoe Suárez won the first edition of the Iliad Journalism Prize, convened by the Berlin-based publishing house of the same name, and the cultural magazine Otro Lunes [Another Monday], registered in Spain, with a book on the repression of Cuban State Security.
The work, titled Leviatán. Policía política cubana y terror socialista [Leviathan. Cuban political police and socialist terror], was described by the jury as “a shocking testimony about the repressive apparatus of the Cuban State in which, from a current personal experience lived by a young journalist, the reader is immersed in a retrospective of the repressive horror of the dictatorship during the last six decades.”
In a publication on social networks, he communicated that two other finalist works are dedicated to the Masons in national politics and the current presence of Islam in Cuba, without specifying the names of the authors.
The award was created, he says in a message to 14ymedio , “to encourage the development of journalistic books on Cuban issues.” A total of 16 participants residing on the Island submitted their work.
Along with Valle, the jury was composed of journalists Isaac Risco, from Peru, and Johan Ramírez, from Venezuela.
Speaking to 14ymedio, Yoe Suárez, who was “super happy,” affirms that Cuban State Security “is a kind of antediluvian monster that only has counterparts in history with those repressive bodies of the Stasi and the KGB,” specifically “the last of that line that remains standing.” The objective of his book was to portray the repressive body, “not only thinking of an audience outside of Cuba but also with a view to the future.”
Divided into two strands, one, his personal testimony and the other, a journey of the political police through history, to document it Suárez interviewed three former officers of the State Security, as well as other people who had ties with that department within the Ministry of the Interior and today work in the opposition, one of them, the blogger Regina Coyula, who lives on the island.
“Clearly many stories will be missing,” he says, “but I think it is a first step to encourage other researchers and journalists to take a closer look at this repressive organ and try to illustrate it for the future, a kind of museum piece.”
Due to his work as an independent reporter, Yoe Suárez has had to observe up close the actions of the political police. Last June, during an interrogation, State Security agents tried to intimidate the journalist by threatening him with jail: “They told me that I could end up as a political prisoner and that no one here remembers them, that I should think of my family.” At that time, Suárez assured: “I felt them more aggressive than other times.”
In 2017 Suárez won mention in the Casa de la Américas Literary Award for his biographical work Charles en el Mosaico [Charles in the Mosaic] in the category of testimonial literature. According to his own description, it is a text that deals with “the Stalinist cultural policy in Cuba in the first 25 years of the tyranny.”
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