14ymedio, Havana, 8 November 2022 — Cuban journalist Jorge Enrique Rodríguez was arrested on Monday and taken to the police station in Marianao, Havana. After being held in incommunicado for more than four hours, he denounced to Diario de Cuba, the media outlet for which he works as a reporter, that they forcefully transported him after an incident of harassment by police in his own home.
In a livestream, after he was released, Rodríguez recounted his argument with a uniformed officer who tried to hit him. As he exited his house, he was intercepted by a State Security agent who asked that he “accompany” him. The reporter demanded that any summons presented to him must be through an official order.
He recalled that, in the past whenever he had been called by police, he went willingly. “I can’t talk,” said Rodríguez, to which the official responded that the patrol car was waiting for him. “I could have chosen to stay home,” said the reporter, but he decided to go out. “I am a street person, I won’t allow myself to remain shut in.”
In plain language, Rodríguez stated that his behavior has been that of an exemplary citizen, but he cannot “turn his back on problems… I live in a hallway where there are two families,” he observed, and in that corridor which the journalist considers “private property” two officials tried to detain him.
“I shoved him,” said Rodríguez, referring to how he defended himself against the uniformed officer who assaulted him, a young man not older than 30 in his opinion. “Let them accuse me of resisting arrest, as they will accuse me. That is their problem.”
The journalist described his fight with the officials. “He lifted one” of them, grabbing him by his shirt while he tried assault him from behind. Rodríguez described himself as “very uncomfortable when it comes time to throw blows,” and admits he would not tolerate that type of violence in his own home.
He stated that one of the officials planned to “ambush him” as soon as he went out into the street because he blurted that “his face was etched in his memory.” He warned that Tuesday he would go out and that he “would like to see” how the police would behave. Irritated, he added that his response to the agents that assaulted him would be the same in the future.
No one intervened in the confrontation, said Rodríguez, only women and older people were in the residences in his corridor. “For the first time in my life I am boasting about winning a fight with a man,” he concluded, “no one’s presence intimidates me.”
“I’m tired of crying from helplessness every day,” he commented, referring to the thirty or so femicides committed in Cuba this year and the trial of troubadour Fernando Bécquer, who continually mocks his house arrest, a sentence he must serve for sexual harassment, while they try to keep him in his home.
He also stated that, as of now, State Security will have to formalize its summons and that the content of the interrogations will be denounced publicly. He added that he does not intend for his words to be interpreted as violent, but that he must confront the difficulties of his work on social media and in daily life.
“My way of being led me to publish my poetry books and to become an art professional,” he said. “It led me to be a successful functionary when I worked for the government. And now I am a successful journalist.” The intellectual and artistic trajectory of those opponents that the government discredits are never recognized publicly, bemoaned Rodríguez, and they are always presented as “delinquents”.
Rodríguez, who has been repressed on several occasions by State Security, stated that exile is not an option for him and that he will continue his work on the Island for Diario de Cuba.
Translated by: Silvia Suárez
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