14ymedio, Havana, 24 October 2019 — On Thursday, Cuban authorities prohibited the departure of twelve political activists and independent journalists who had arrived at the international airport of Havana to take a flight to Miami.
They had all been invited to the Pasos de Cambio (Steps of Change) event, a meeting of Cuban civil society that will be held starting tomorrow at the Freedom Tower, in Miami. Luis Almagro, general secretary of the Organization of American States (OAS) is expected to attend as are several leaders of the Cuban exile.
According to the information transmitted to 14ymedio by the journalist from Camagüey Henry Constantín, this is the list of people who were not allowed to travel: Asunción Carrillo Hernández, Caridad Burunate and Yisabel Marrero Burunate, members of the Pedro Luis Boitel Party; José Díaz Silva and Lourdes Esquivel, of the Opponents for a New Republic party; Unpacu and Ladies in White activist María Josefa Acón; Adrián del Sol, son of Guillermo del Sol, who recently undertook a 55-day hunger strike to protest against arbitrary decisions of State Security to prohibit trips abroad from the Island; the cyber activist María de Lourdes Ayala Anazco; Leonardo Rodríguez Alonso, member of the Patmos Institute; the photographer Iris Mariño and Constantín Ferreiro himself, both from the media La Hora de Cuba.
Guillermo del Sol has been invited to the Miami event but was planning to travel on another flight. According to Constantin, “he seemed to be one of the two people who would not be banned from traveling, but when he learned that his son was still ’regulated’*, he said he was staying.” As this article was being written he was trying to convince the authorities that his presence at the event was important. The name of the other activist who was able to pass through the Immigration barrier has not been revealed so far.
At the airport there was a tense situation when the group decided to take a picture with everyone who was ’regulated’. “We watched as we were surrounded by a dozen State Security agents, some of them known to us, but happily there were no arrests,” says Constantin.
*Translator’s note: The Cuban government applies the term “regulated” to individuals who are prohibited from leaving the island.
The 14ymedio team is committed to practicing serious journalism that reflects Cuba’s reality in all its depth. Thank you for joining us on this long journey. We invite you to continue supporting us by now becoming a member of 14ymedio. Together we can continue transforming journalism in Cuba.