14ymedio, Havana, 26 February 2018 — The activists Jacqueline Madrazo Luna and Dora Leonor Mesa Crespo, members of the Citizens Committee for Racial Integration (CIR), were prevented from leaving the country at dawn on Saturday, according to information from Juan Antonio Madrazo Luna, coordinator of that independent organization, speaking to 14ymedio.
Madrazo Luna explained that the Immigration and Aliens authorities at Havana’s José Martí International Airport, informed the women that they could not travel, even though they had checked with the airline and obtained their tickets.
The dissidents were intending to board a Copa Airlines flight to Panama City, from where they would depart to Bogota, Colombia.
The two Cubans were officially invited to participate in the 167th Session of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) – an organ of the Organization of American States (OAS) – to be held between February 26 and March 2.
This session of the IACHR plans to address “the general situation of human rights in Cuba.” The Cuban Association for Early Childhood Education, to which Mesa Crespo belongs, was invited to the meeting.
On February 19, Mesa Crespo went to the office of the Directorate of Immigration and Aliens to get her passport extended, and she was informed at that time of an order prohibiting her from leaving the country. However she decided to go to the airport this Saturday.
At the air terminal, immigration officials confirmed that she was “regulated” – that is barred – from traveling abroad. The activist demanded an explanation but only received the advice to lodge her complaint through the offices of Attention to the Citizenry at the Plaza of the Revolution.
What happened on Saturday is part of a new tactic used against activists on the island. The arrests, the confiscation of personal belongings, the raids of their homes and the imposition of judicial charges are accompanied, more and more often, with a ban on travel under any pretext.
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