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They Want To Frighten Me and Other Independent Journalists | Censorship Cuba Censura
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“They Want To Frighten Me and Other Independent Journalists” / 14ymedio
Posted on October 9, 2015

14ymedio, Havana, 7 October 2015 – The Cuban political police intend to
prosecute lawyer and journalist Roberto de Jesus Quinones for a crime
called “spreading false news about international peace,” according to
what the independent journalist told this daily a few hours following
his release after having been arrested October 5.

Monday a group of almost 20 people entered Quinones’ home in Guantanamo,
presenting a search warrant that authorized the seizure of “means for
subversive activities.”

The independent journalist was arrested, and they informed him that a
file is being prepared where there appears a complaint against him based
on the crime listed in the fifth section of Chapter III of the Penal
Code, “Crimes against International Peace and Law.”

The rule stipulates that “whoever spreads false news for the purpose of
damaging international peace or endangering the prestige or credit of
the Cuban state or its good relations with another State, incurs a
sentence of imprisonment of one to four years.”

“They told me that they are going to analyze any evidence they find in
the confiscated objects: a laptop, a tablet, my cell phone, several
books, my schedule, my phone book, the calendar where I write what I
have to do, several documents and some 60 discs with films or
installation programs, so that after they analyze their contents they
will decide what course the process will take,” said Quinones.

As a lawyer, the reporter is also a member of the organization Corriente
Agramontista. “They were always telling me to stop writing for Cubanet
if I did not want to get into trouble,” he explains. “That makes me
think that the basic point is to scare me and by extension other
independent journalists,” he adds, although he says he has the
impression that “the current political context is not favorable for them
to imprison anyone for political reasons.”

According to Quinones, there is now in his neighborhood “a very
unfavorable opinion towards the political police,” because he maintains
that he has “a lot of prestige in the neighborhood, and the arrest
operation was outrageously disproportionate.”

“What I have written and published is that I think that in any kind of
negotiation, both sides must make concessions and that the United States
has not demanded compliance on the part of Cuba with respect to rights
and democracy,” he says regarding his opinions about the
re-establishment of relations between the two countries.

Nevertheless, he explains: “Of course I cannot oppose the improvement of
the condition of the Cuban people, but I believe that the United States,
as a democratic power, cannot economically favor a Government that
subjects its people the way the Cuban government does.” Because of
opinions like that, “they tell me that I am systematically discrediting
the Cuban government, and currently that works against foreign relations.”

In December 2006, Quinones finished a sentence of three years for
falsifying documents in the process of buying and selling a home,
although, in his opinion, the true cause was that he was practically the
only lawyer in the province who dared to defend dissidents. After that
time, he was no longer admitted to any collective firm, and they also
discriminate against him in the Cuban Writers and Artists Union (UNEAC),
an organization to which he belongs in his capacity as a writer and art
critic.

He adds that on five occasions he has sought membership in a law firm,
and they have not even answered him. Moreover, he says he recently told
the president of the Writers Association that if he does not convene a
meeting to explain the discrimination to which he is subjected, he will
submit his resignation from UNEAC.

The journalist expresses strong determination: “I told my interrogators
that I would continue writing for Cubanet. I cannot let them frighten me.”

Translated by Mary Lou Keel

Source: “They Want To Frighten Me and Other Independent Journalists” /
14ymedio | Translating Cuba –
translatingcuba.com/they-want-to-frighten-me-and-other-independent-journalists-14ymedio/

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