Independent Journalist Osmel Ramirez Arrested in Holguin

Independent journalist Osmel Ramírez Álvarez. (HavanaTimes)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, 20 June 2018 — Reporter Osmel Ramírez Álvarez, a resident of Mayarí, Holguín, was arrested Tuesday at his home by police and State Security forces, his wife Idalia Torres reported to 14ymedio.

«The officers came at two o’clock in the afternoon. It was raining hard and thundering, when my husband opened the door it was the State Security agent assigned to him,» Torres said.

According to the wife, the officers explained that her husband would be detained for 72 hours for each article he publishes in the independent press from now on.

Torres condemns the fact that the reporter is «incommunicado» in the Mayarí police station. «They only allowed us to take some personal hygiene items they haven’t let family members anywhere near the station,» she adds.

The State Security official told the family that Ramírez Álvarez will be transferred tomorrow to the Penal Instruction Center of Pedernales, in the city of Holguín, known as «everyone sings.»

Last November Ramírez was arrested and during a search of his home, much of his office equipment and supplies were confiscated. At that time he was held incommunicado for three days.

Ramírez, in addition to his work as a reporter, is a tobacco grower and member of a Credit and Services Cooperative. Since the beginning of the year he has denounced the «threats» of State Security against him and his family and the «defamatory campaign» by some Mayarí officials who have accused him of promoting the complaints and demands of the farmers in that area.

Last March, immigration officials informed him that he was «regulated» and could not leave the country.

Osmel Ramírez is a contributor to Diario de Cuba, The Havana Times digital site and the Boletín SPD, of the Participatory and Democratic Socialism group.

Last April the organization Reporters Without Borders (RSF) placed Cuba 172nd out of 180 nations in terms of press freedom. The country was the rated the worst on the continent.

The Inter-American Press Association (IAPA) also denounced, in its most recent report, presented in Colombia last April, that the Cuban government seeks to have «a mute, deaf, and blind country» in terms of communication, journalism, and the Internet.

It is «an increasingly difficult goal,» the IAPA said, for «journalists and independent media to perservere and not stop their work in the face of the restrictions.»

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