EFE (via 14ymedio), Miami, April 25, 2023. (EFE) — The Inter-American Press Association (IAPA) denounced on Tuesday an unprecedented “crisis” in Cuba’s unofficial media and the “repression” of the authorities against journalists and influencers.
In its new biannual report, the IAPA says that “the crisis of independent journalism is approaching a bottom never seen in the last 30 years” and highlights the departure from the country of “dozens” of independent professionals in the face of harassment and the serious economic crisis.
“In this scenario, the press and independent activists have been the most affected sectors. The repression continues, and there are now more than a thousand political prisoners,” the document says.
The IAPA reports that the number of attacks on journalists (“arrest threats,” “home police surveillance” and “blocking of telephone communications”) has been reduced lately, but attributes this to the flight of independent professionals.
It emphasizes that journalist Yuri Valle Roca remains in prison despite his “serious health problems,” after a five-year sentence “for filming and reporting on the dropping of leaflets in Havana.”
It also reports that the Cuban authorities have banned several professionals from leaving the country, such as Reinaldo Escobar, Boris González Arenas, Inalkis Rodríguez, Camila Acosta, Julio Aleaga, Jorge Enrique Rodríguez, Iris Mariño, Rolando Rodríguez Lobaina and Henry Constantín.
The report also points out that “citizens who criticize the government are threatened or taken to police stations” for expressing themselves on social networks, especially on Facebook.
In this regard, it mentions the cases of Sulmira Martínez and Hilda Núñez, two Cuban influencers arrested in recent months. Martínez, imprisoned since January for a post, appears to be incriminating herself in an interview recently released by State Security.
The IAPA also indicated that YouTuber Yoandi Montiel, known as El Gato de Cuba, was released after serving two years in prison for his criticism of the Cuban government.
The text also denounces the legal “gag” against “the freedoms of the press and expression” implied by the Criminal Code, the Law of Associations, Decree 370, Law 88 and the Constitution of 2019, among other regulations.
Translated by Regina Anavy
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