State Security Offensive Against ICLEP Citizen Journalists
14ymedio, Havana, 23 May 2017 — Raúl Velázquez, executive director of
the Cuban Institute for Freedom of Expression and the Press (ICLEP) was
released last Friday after being held for 72 hours in the second unit of
the People’s Revolutionary Police (PNR) in Santiago de Cuba, as
confirmed Monday by the agency through a press release.
The journalist had been arrested on Tuesday 16 May when he was sleeping
at the home of the #Otro18 (Another 2018) activist María Mercedez
Benítez. According to the Institute, Velázquez had his cell phone
confiscated and was photographed from various angles by the State
Security before they opened a “criminal file for the alleged crimes of
subversion, propaganda of illegal print materials and
The ICLEP claims that the arrest of its executive director was not the
only one that took place against people engaged in information
dissemination, since it coincided with the arrest of four other citizen
In Colón, Matanzas province, Alberto Corzo, an independent reporter and
administrative, monitoring and evaluation director of ICLEP, was
threatened with imprisonment for his information work, and was detained
for approximately three hours during which time he was reminded that he
was under indictment for the alleged offense of contempt against a
A day later, on Wednesday 17 May in Pinar del Rio, the citizen
journalist Ivis Yanet Borrego was summoned and interrogated for three
hours “in a disrespectful and rude way,” according to the institute.
Borrego is the director of the publication Panorama Pinareño.
“Officials banned the journalist from continuing to work for ICLEP and
assured her that they would retaliate against all the journalists until
they ‘disappeared’ from the face of the earth,” the statement said.
On Thursday, 18 May, two additional Pinar del Rio citizen journalists,
Ernesto Morales Estrada and Calixto E. Miranda Landeiro, were threatened
with imprisonment if they continued to collaborate with ICLEP.
According to the organization, in the first 20 days of this month, the
political police have committed 13 repressive acts against citizen
journalists working with ICLEP media.
Source: State Security Offensive Against ICLEP Citizen Journalists –
Translating Cuba –