14ymedio, Havana, 22 March 2019 – Some 24 hours have gone by since the Diairo de Cuba journalist Jorge Enrique Rodríguez was arbitrarily arrested, and he remains unaccounted for, his whereabouts unknown.
The reporter Manuel Alejandro León announced that he received a text message from Rodriguez saying he had left on Thursday in an bus from the Víazul company heading to Guantanamo, but at 4 o’clock in the afternoon he was arrested at the police checkpoint at the exit of the capital.
According to Rodriguez, his colleague told him that he was able to make out in the patrol car that stopped the bus the State Security officer who calls himself Camilo. After that message nothing more has been heard about his whereabouts. His phone responds with a recording saying that the number is “off or out of the coverage area.”
Given the poor state of telephone lines and the poor coverage on highways and roads, that message may appear even when the user is really available, but given the time between now and when he sent his text, the journalist should have reached his destination in Guantanamo or be back in Havana.
Arbitrary arrests of independent journalists are common and are aimed at preventing or making it difficult for the reporters to carry out their work. This practice has been denounced by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (CIDH) and the Inter-American Press Association (SIP).
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