14ymedio, Havana, 8 June 2018 — The photographer and activist Claudio Fuentes, a member of the Foro por los Derechos y Libertades (Forum for Rights and Freedoms), was arrested on Thursday in Havana and is in “whereabouts unknown” according to information from former political prisoner Ángel Moya speaking to 14ymedio.
“We have tried to call him starting yesterday morning and we have not been able to establish contact with him,” explained Moya. “As the day progressed we learned that he was being detained and so far we do not know the reason for that arrest,” he adds.
Moya believes that Fuentes “is ‘disappeared’ since family members and associates have not been able to see him and do not know where he is.” An officer on duty at the San Miguel del Padrón police station informed the family via telephone that the activist was being held at that station, but “when they got there, they were told he was not there.”
On several occasions Fuentes, who also edits videos and films, has been a victim of arbitrary arrests and other repressive actions, such as confiscation of the tools of his work.
Among his most famous works are the filming of several interviews with Cuban activists for the documentary Patria o muerte (2016) (Fatherland or Death), which was directed by filmmaker Olatz López Garmendia and premiered by the American production company HBO.
In an interview he criticized those artists of the Island who “spend their time, like peacocks, on their own work and generally that work has its back to a reality that has already collapsed.” A behavior that has led him to feel “shame” for that group and pushed him to “go another way.”
Fuentes also collaborated in the edition of the debate program Razones Ciudadanas (Citizens’ Reasons), which for two years issued several episodes in which activists and dissidents discussed hot topics of the Cuban reality such as the press, internet access and racism.
The Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCDHRN) verified 128 arbitrary short-term detentions for political reasons last May.
During these arrests, “the peaceful dissidents were interned, as always, under inhuman and degrading conditions, in the police barracks designed for such ends,” denounced the independent organization.
Moya also denounced the arrest of the opponent Zaqueo Baez, member of the Patriotic Union of Cuba, who traveled to Holguín to visit the family of a political prisoner and “was arrested by police forces and beaten.”
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