The Cuban journalist Yoani Sanchez denounced this Saturday a “repressive fury” of the regime in his country and warned that the critical press will be the main “victim” of a penal code that has just entered into force.
After the 2021 protests “repressive fury broke out. we have more than thousand political prisoners”, assured Sánchez during a forum in the Guadalajara International Book Fair (FIL).
The opposition member, who lives in Havana, warned in particular about the scope of a penal framework unanimously approved by Parliament in May and in force since last Thursday.
“The great victim, the main victim (of that rule) is the independent journalisminformation and the free flow of news,” he said.
The reform created new crimes related to participation in subversive activities and the attacks carried out through information and communication technologies, according to the president of the Cuban Supreme Court, Rubén Ferro.
He also kept the death penalty for 23 crimes, including against State security, terrorism, international drug trafficking and homicidewhile four causes were eliminated.
In this way, “popular protest is penalized under crimes such as public scandal,” warned Sánchez, founder of the digital newspaper 14ymedio and winner of the Ortega y Gasset Prize for Journalism in 2008.
The new code was approved after in July 2021 thousands of Cubans starred in the largest anti-government protests in 60 years, which left one dead, dozens injured and hundreds of prisoners.
Now “the questions are open: are they going to apply it to the letter or is it just to intimidate? Because there were already legal tools to intimidate us”, questioned the journalist.
For Sánchez, included by the time magazine among the 100 most influential people in the world in 2008, the norm is part of the efforts of the dictator Miguel Diaz-Canel to delegitimize these demonstrations, which demanded economic improvements and greater freedoms, and drown future uprisings.
“Since the press, the people themselves managed to broadcast this version, the regime has been very upset. It has made him lose international support. The narrative (that the Cubans were not protesting) was broken,” said the communicator in a panel made up of her Spanish-Peruvian colleague, among others. Alvaro Vargas Llosa.
Sánchez explained that said “cracking” dates back to 2006, when “new technologies put the official monopoly” on information in check and an “independent journalism” emerged.
But he pointed out that even so, the actions of the Cuban dictatorship have forced many journalists into exile.
“Journalism has become a profession that to exercise it must be done from heroism, kamikaze positions or from madness. What is not sane is to live under a dictatorship and remain silent, ”he said.
(With information from AFP)