“In Addition to the Truth, They Can’t Stand Beauty”

Yaudel Estenoz at the Havana airport before he was forbidden to travel to Trinidad and Tobago. (Facebook)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 24 April 2018 – Calling him a “counterrevolutionary,” Cuban authorities have barred the designer Yaudel Estenoz from traveling. Estenoz, who works with several independent media, and had planned to leave for Trinidad and Tobago last Saturday to arrange a student visa to the United States. “I have been the victim of a violation of human rights,” Estenoz told 14ymedio.

The designer, who lives in Ciego de Ávila, attributes his current migratory status as ‘regulated’ to his contributions to the publications Alas Tensas and Árbol Invertido. In the Unique System of National Identification (SUIN) that manages the Immigration and Immigration Identification Directorate (DIIE), his name appears as under a travel ban.

“I was going to travel to Trinidad and Tobago to apply for a student visa (J1), at the US consulate, and then go to study in that country thanks to a two-year scholarship I earned,” he says.

Cuban authorities waited until he was at the immigration control window at the airport, to inform Estenoz that he could not board the plane.

In recent days the designer has also suffered intense “harassment by State Security,” he explains. Officials summoned him to several interrogations to learn details of his collaborations with media “which they call counter-revolutionary simply because they can’t control them.”

Estenoz clarifies that he does not write newspaper articles but designs and produces infographics and videos “in pursuit of improving Cuban society.”

The designer, who believes that the authorities “in addition to the truth can’t stand beauty,” has made his complaint public through his profile on Facebook and has asked his friends who “are not afraid or are outside Cuba” to share his posting. “For those who would like to share it but are afraid, don’t worry, I understand,” he writes.

Estenoz, who in his Twitter account defines himself as “computer engineer by profession, empirical graphic designer, programmer by hobby,” has also collaborated with other independent media such as Havana Times and Tremenda Nota.

In the last year, State Security has increased the pressure against activists and dissidents, preventing them from traveling abroad. In most cases the travel ban is not permanent, but arbitrary and circumstantial, which makes it difficult to report to international organizations.

This strategy is in addition to arrests, confiscations of personal belongings, raids on their homes and the imposition of judicial charges.


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