14ymedio, Havana, 28 March 2020 — This Friday, reporters Yoe Suárez, a collaborator with Diario de Cuba and Camila Acosta, from Cubanet, were summoned by State Security, as reported by both on social networks. Acosta was also fined 3,000 CUP for allegedly violating Decree 370, which regulates the use of the internet in Cuba.
The journalist was fined for criticizing the government and publishing articles from the independent press on social media. The authorities invoked Article i of Decree 370, which penalizes the dissemination of “information contrary to the social interest, morality, good customs and the integrity of people.”
Acosta attended the “interview” at the station at 7th and 62nd, in the Havana municipality of Playa, where a State Security agent was waiting for her. “The repressor Alejandro was waiting for me, the same man who for months has been leading the harassment of dissident Cuban women in Havana.”
Acosta was checked to prevent her from entering the premises with a tape recorder. Inside, Captain Rubisel Ortega and three men who identified themselves as inspectors from the Ministry of Communications were waiting for her. One of them, Rolando Ballester, showed several posts that the reporter had posted on Facebook as proof that she violated the law.
For his part, journalist Yoe Suárez was summoned to the Siboney police station, also in the municipality of Playa. As the reporter told Diario de Cuba , “the interview” with two political police officers lasted an hour. The two men, who identified themselves as René and Enrique, threatened him to make him abandon the practice of independent journalism.
“They threatened me again with ’consequences’ for my family. They even explained to me that they would summon me again and that they would go to ’another phase with me’, and in that sense they mentioned the possibility of imprisoning me,” the reporter said.
“I told them not to call me again until the quarantine is over,” Suarez said.
Decree 370, which the government has used to fine several reporters and activists over the past few months, establishes extensive government control over the internet, the sanctions include not only the fine, but also the confiscation of the equipment and methods used. The implementation of this Decree raised widespread condemnation by international organizations concerned with freedom of expression and also numerous criticisms from activists and independent journalists.
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