Cuban Writer Jorge Fernandez Era Says He Was ‘Surrounded’ by the Political Police in Havana

The journalist and writer Jorge Fernández Era. (Facebook)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 7 April 2023 — On Friday, the Cuban writer and journalist Jorge Fernández Era offered  a detailed account of the arrest he suffered the day before, for six hours, at the hands of the political police in Havana. In a text published on his Facebook page, he said that the ambush by the agents unleashed a wave of solidarity throughout the country and exposed the clumsiness of State Security.

Fernández Era reported that the harassment had begun on Thursday morning, when a series of “wrong number” calls to his home was intended to locate him. The explanation of that “check,” he says, had to do with the publication of a recent “column-caricature” he wrote in La Joven Cuba, which ridiculed the nomination of octogenarian candidates to the Cuban Parliament, in addition to an interview he gave to the filmmaker Ian Padrón.

At noon, when he left his house to go to El Vedado, he was intercepted by several motorcycle officers in the vicinity of San Indalecio and Rabí streets. He was on his way with his wife and a friend, and they told him to “stop walking.”

The agents — one of them identified himself as the head of sector of the Tamarindo neighborhood — demanded his identification and, when returning the documents, informed the writer that he was “surrounded.” Arrested and taken aboard one of the motorcycles, Fernández Era was transferred to the Aguilera police unit.

After crossing a “perfectly caged” staircase to the basement, he was forced to stand for 45 minutes. Then they took him to a closed room, where an agent — who said he wrote poetry “for years” — was in charge of “taking care of him” until he was received by Eivesgney Vilarte, “badge 10034, first lieutenant and second head of Crime Prosecution,” says Fernández Era.

There they read him a complaint for the crimes of “failure to offer assistance and disobedience” and tried to impose the payment of a fine of 3,000 pesos for “not responding to the two summons that I received previously.” The writer argued that he did not have to pay the required amount until a claim that he had filed on January 30, successively, with the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office, the General Military Prosecutor’s Office of the Ministry of the Interior and  Counterintelligence was resolved.

In addition, he criticized the irregularities of the document containing his accusation, which also contained — “in violation of the Criminal Procedure Law, the Law of National Symbols and the Law of Military Secrecy” — sensitive information about another detainee outside his case.

Faced with his refusal, Vilarte indicated that a “precautionary measure of provisional detention” would be imposed on him. He was held for an hour and a half without being offered food or water. When he demanded that he be allowed to call his wife on the phone, the officers replied: “It won’t be necessary. You’re leaving now.”

Vilarte informed him, he says, that they had decided to replace the provisional detention with another precautionary measure: the “prohibition of leaving the country while the Municipal Prosecutor’s Office has not pronounced,” which would define his legal status. In the vicinity of the station, his wife and several friends were waiting for him; they had “planted” themselves until Fernández Era was released.

The writer’s post concludes with an “epilogue” where he thanks Professor Alina Bárbara Hernández, who demanded his release in the Matanzas Freedom Park, where she was “cowardly harassed by three agents,” he said. In addition, he recognized the thousands of people who protested on social networks against his “run-in” with State Security.

Finally, Fernández Era informed his captors that “neither the ban on leaving the Island, nor the provisional detention, nor the house arrest, nor the cash bail, nor the obligation to appear, nor prison” were going to silence him.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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