Repression Grows in Cuba: Ferrer Remains "Disappeared" and Number of "Regulated" Rises to 200

Camila Acosta at the airport — making the “L for Libertad” gesture — at the moment of learning that she couldn’t travel by order of the Government.

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, November 4, 2019 — Data revealed by various sources last weekend indicate a climb in repression in Cuba, which translated into an increase in the number of “regulated” and an inexplicable silence from the authorities on the whereabouts of the opposition figure José Daniel Ferrer, detained since October 1. [“Regulated” is the term the government has chosen to apply to Cubans who are forbidden to leave the country.]

The independent journalist Camila Acosta reported on Sunday that authorities had prevented her from boarding a plane to Buenos Aires, where she was going to attend a course.

Also prohibited from traveling were Dayanis Salazar Pérez and Juan Michel López Mora, two young opposition members of the Pinero Autonomous Party.

My suitcase was checked in by the airline, but it was emigration was where they prohibited me from leaving. I had to wait then for them to return my bag, just by the exit door. That’s why I saw the check-in [ticket]. If you look carefully, it has today’s date, Nov 3.

– Camila Acosta (Twitter), November 3, 2019

With Acosta, a reporter for Cubanet, the number of “regulated” has now reached 200, although some have gotten out of that situation.

“They told me that I have a prohibition on leaving. They have no explanation for that. Only that my name appeared in the system…I was seen by Yoel Núñez, chief of Immigration at the airport. He says that I have to go to the Immigration office of my municipality and ask for an explanation. But we know that they won’t respond to any of that. But I’m still going to present my complaint,” the young woman told CiberCuba, which she contributes to.

“My suitcase was checked in by the airline, but it was at emigration where they prohibited me from leaving. I had to wait then for them to return my bag, just by the exit door,” pointed out the journalist in a Twitter message with a photograph that showed it.

“The consequences that the state security agents warned me about begin,” she first alerted, with the hashtag #Ni1ReguladoMás (#Not1MoreRegulated) with which those affected and those in solidarity with this cause reject this repressive measure that the Government is using more and more to block the freedom of movement of opposition figures, journalists, and critical activists.

Acosta was referring to the prior instance of last Wednesday, when she was detained in the airport as she returned from a program on gender violence which she attended on a scholarship. At that time they seized from her several pamphlets in English on the internship’s theme that authorities described as “subversive propaganda.”

In the interrogation they warned her that “I was going to begin to feel the weight of the consequences of being a human rights activist and independent journalist,” Acosta told CiberCuba.

This time, according to the reporter, she was invited by the Center for the Opening and Development of Latin America (CADAL) to participate in a program called Goodbye, Lenin and to cover the second round of elections in Uruguay.

The journalist has explained that she will look into appealing via the legal route once she has a lawyer, although she doubts the effectiveness it could have. The practice of limiting in a discretionary manner the freedom of movement of opposition figures has become an habitual tactic of control for the Plaza of the Revolution and is frequently denounced by human rights bodies, but the list continues to grow.

For his part, 14ymedio’s contributer, Ricardo Fernández, this Saturday was unable to board a plane to Serbia, where he was invited to take part in several conferences on religious freedom in Cuba.

Despite the fact that at the Immigration and Foreign Matters office in the city of Camaguey they assured Fernández that he wasn’t “regulated” and could leave, after checking in at the counter of the airline Aeroflot, an immigration official told him that he couldn’t leave the country.

The Patmos Institute keeps a list of those affected by the measure, and information can be contributed to keep up the list via email or social media. The organization, linked to the Baptist church, explains to and advises those affected so that they can individually communicate their cases to the United Nations (UN).

To this data is added the new balance of arbitrary detentions in the month of October, which the Cuban Observatory of Human Rights (OCDH) places at 301. The organization, headquartered in Madrid, made public this number in a press release distributed this Monday in which it notes that throughout the year there have been 2,768 arrests of this type and that in Cuban prisons there are a total of 119 political prisoners, with firm sentences.

This is the context surrounding the visit of the king and queen of Spain, who will arrive in Cuba on November 11 to begin the official agenda on Tuesday the 12th in what the OCDH considers “the worst repressive situation on the Island since the so-called Black Spring of 2003.”

The OCDH notes that the month began with the arrest of José Daniel Ferrer García, leader of the Patriotic Union of Cuba (Unpacu), whose whereabouts remain unknown as rumors circulate that he could be in a life-threatening situation.

“The leader of the biggest opposition group in Cuba has been detained for more than a month. Neither the European Union nor the Spanish Government has reacted in the face of the gravity of this issue. We demand an urgent pronouncement, given that his bodily integrity is at risk. In general, the repressive situation is very worrying, as is the current policy of appeasement toward the Havana regime,” stressed Alejandro González Raga, executive director of OCDH.

In recent days, an alleged letter from Ferrer to his family has emerged whose authenticity is not yet verified and which was distributed by Cuban Prisoners Defenders, an organization with links to Unpacu and headquartered in Madrid.

“On thirst and hunger strike. They’ve done everything to me. A thousand tortures and violence. They have dragged me and chained my feet and hands, they have put me in the sun for 15 days in my underwear in a cell full of mosquitos and cold in the morning. Risk of pneumonia. My life is in grave danger,” reads the brief letter.

Although it is not known how this letter reached the hands of his family, the opposition figure’s sister, Anna Belkis Ferrer, who lives in the United States, affirms that an Argentinian expert, Fernando Andrés Asorey, who works with Argentina’s federal police, has validated the veracity of the letter and that it cannot be from a previous detention because of the age of the ink.

Unpacu sources have assured 14ymedio, however, that they will only accept as proof of life a visit of Ferrer’s friends and family to the opposition figure.

Translated by: Sheilagh Herrera


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