The Political Police Intensify Their Harassment Against Several Cuban Opponents and Journalists

State Security has launched a “repressive escalation” throughout the island, family and friends denounce

So far this month, Tan Estrada has been fined for alleged violation of Decree-Law 370, interrogated twice and suffered internet cuts / Facebook

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Havana, April 27, 2024 — Several independent activists and reporters have denounced the arrest of Camagueyan journalist José Luis Tan Estrada by State Security this Friday in Havana. After a month of tensions with the authorities, the reporter had traveled to the Cuban capital from Camagüey, and according to several sources he spent the night at the headquarters of the political police, Villa Marista. Activist Yamilka Lafita said that she had received, at 8:00 pm on Friday, a phone call from Tan Estrada in which he described his arrest at 2:00 pm, when he arrived in Havana. Lafita denounced the fact and warned about “what happens in those cells, the torture and psychological pressures to which the people who are transferred there are subjected.”

According to journalist José Raúl Gallego, a resident of Mexico, Tan Estrada has been harassed for several weeks by agents of the Ministry of the Interior. So far this month, he says, Estrada has been fined for alleged violation of Decree-Law 370, interrogated twice and had his internet cut off. In addition, the journalist has been “detained, threatened with a beating and harassed on social networks by cyber stalkers,” Gallego said.

Tan Estrada, a collaborator of several independent media after his expulsion in 2022 from his position as professor at the University of Camagüey, suffers – according to Gallego – “repressive escalation, intimidation of his family” and warnings that he must leave his job as a reporter.

According to Gallego, the opponent José Antonio Pompa López is also detained in Villa Marista

According to Gallego, the opponent José Antonio Pompa López is also detained in Villa Marista. On Friday morning, after leaving his son at school, the agents of the political police “picked him up” on the street, according to his wife, Suarmi Hernández, as quoted by Cubanet. State Security also showed up at his house and carried out a search.

Pompa López also had the opportunity to make a call before being held incommunicado. The cause of the arrest and search, according to his wife, was a surprise investigation to demonstrate his links with the opposition organization Cuba Primero. They didn’t find the alleged evidence, since “he had already gotten rid of it,” Hernández said.

The Police, however, told the woman that Pompa López had received a mobile phone from Cuba Primero and that “they were going to take him to Villa Marista.” “My husband is unjustly detained because you can’t be arrested without cause or evidence,” she added.

The arrest of Ailex Marcano, mother of the political prisoner Ángel Jesús Veliz, was also reported in Camagüey

Cubanet also denounced the arrest in Camagüey of Ailex Marcano, mother of the political prisoner Ángel Jesús Veliz. She had gone to Kilo 9 prison to visit her son when two patrols intercepted her. The agents transferred her to Villa María Luisa – the state security barracks in the province – without offering explanations.

She suffered, as Marcano herself told the media after she was released, interrogations and a search, for which she had to undress. “They threatened to send me to prison because they said that my posts on social networks incited people to go out into the streets and to collaborate with ’counter-revolutionary’ organizations such as the Ladies in White. They wanted to make me sign a warning letter, but I refused to do it,” she said.

Marcano could not see her son, who was taken to an isolation cell for protesting his mother’s arrest. Nor did they allow him to make calls.

The negotiation for the release of political prisoners that the regime keeps imprisoned after several cycles of protests since 2021 has reached a standstill. Although several organizations, such as the Catholic Church, have been willing to negotiate their release, the regime does not show signs of flexibility, and every month new episodes of harassment and arrests occur.

The organization Prisoners Defenders (PD) recorded in its most recent report, after the March protests, 1,092 people imprisoned for political reasons. PD, based in Madrid, indicated that last month it added to its list 31 individuals who qualify as political prisoners and that six others left the registry after being released. According to PD, 24 of the 31 political prisoners were linked to “the peaceful demonstrations of March” that began on the 17th in Santiago de Cuba when hundreds of people peacefully took to the streets to protest.

Translated by Regina Anavy


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