“The Police Have Kidnapped Me in My Home for 60 days,” Denounces Iliana Hernandez

A policeman and a State Security agent guard the surroundings of Iliana Hernández’s house, in Cojímar, Havana. (Capture)

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Luz Escobar, Miami, 7 June 2021 — CiberCuba activist and reporter Iliana Hernández has been besieged for two months at her home by police and State Security agents. Not only do they prevent her from going out, but they also do not allow any of her friends to visit, and they have cut off her mobile data internet service.

In conversation with 14ymedio, Hernández points out that the last time she was able to leave her home was on April 8, but she ended up arrested on Obispo Street in Old Havana along with other activists. “Since the 9th, I woke up surrounded by surveillance, until today,” she points out.

The journalist assures that in the 60 days that she has been in home detention, she has been “documenting the oppressors… Even at night, when they get close to my home, I record them,” she says. “On Sunday, one of them tried to hide behind a post so as not to appear in the video and in the end, his hiding was useless, because I later caught him around the corner. It is one of the best images I have of this repression.”

“They brought me to El Cerro in another patrol car and one of the security agents warned me not to go too far,” says Otero Alcántara

This Sunday, artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara and Art Historian Carolina Barrero tried to visit the reporter and ended up being detained by the officers who were part of the siege. “A block before, we saw a patrol car and we got out of the car we were in,” Otero Alcántara tells this newspaper. “Right there, the policeman told us that we couldn’t go to Iliana’s house and they put us in a patrol car and took us to the Cojímar police station. They brought me to El Cerro in another patrol car and one of the security officers warned me not to go that far.”

For her part, Barrero pointed out that she wanted to go see Hernández “because she has been inside the barricade for many days,” when in reality there isn’t “either a complaint, nor a process, nor a precautionary measure” which will legally prevent her from leaving her home. “I wanted to see her, bring her some things, have a coffee with her, so that she feels accompanied, and Luis Manuel told me that he wanted to go with me because he also wanted to see her,” she says.

Barrero details that the police had her sitting on a bench in the police station for a while, and after some time a patrol went to look for her and left her at her house in Old Havana. “Luckily, no security agent appeared, no one came to ask me anything,” she adds.

In an article denouncing in her social networks the arbitrariness that Hernández has experienced in recent weeks, Barrero pointed out that “the authority” that today is preventing Hernández from leaving her house “is not legitimate” and that “it is discredited for a lack of respect to rights and to the law itself.”

“What I found funniest was that they told me that they were masters of my life and writers of my destiny,” said reporter Héctor Luis Valdés Cocho

Journalist Héctor Luis Valdés Cocho was also arrested this weekend when he tried to visit Iliana. Upon reaching the corner of the reporter’s house, he was put in a patrol car that took him into custody at the Cojímar police station and then he was transferred to Infanta and Manglar, in El Cerro. “They wanted to draw up a warning report for violating a security action but I refused to sign it. They threatened me again by preventing me from going to a training course, confining me at home, inventing a cause to take me to jail,” Cocho complained to this newspaper.

“What I found funniest was that they told me that they were masters of my life and writers of my destiny,” noted the reporter, a contributor to the news portal ADN Cuba.

Iliana Hernández says that State Security would like her to leave Cuba but that they know perfectly well that she is not going to leave Cuba “forever”.

“They know it and that is why they still have me regulated [banned from traveling outside Cuba], they denied me the complaint I made to the Ministry of the Interior, the Supreme Court gave it no place, breaking all the laws because there is no justification for me to be regulated. I am not going to tell them that I want to leave and never return, this is my country and they do not own Cuba. They have kidnapped me but they are not the owners, we are recovering Cuba from the kidnapping,” she declares.

She also stated that right now for her “there is no idea” in her head other than to continue with her activism and her work as a reporter: “My priority is my country’s freedom and they are not going to get me to give up, they can be out there as long as they want, when I need to go out, I’m going to go out.”

On April 24, after two weeks of the police siege, a group of activists who went to visit her ended up being arrested, including Hernández herself who was accompanying them.

Translated by Norma Whiting


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