HAVANA — Cuban authorities on Sunday detained the managing editor of the Los Angeles Blade’s media partner on the Communist island.
Maykel González Vivero in a series of messages he sent to the Blade shortly after 5 p.m. PST said a police car drove him to a “dark road” about 15 miles outside of Havana and released him. González a few hours earlier in a post on his Facebook page wrote he is “a journalist and I am going to get myself detained now by the police. Without force. Without drama.”
González has backed members of the San Isidro Movement, a group of independent artists, who are currently on a hunger strike to protest the rapper Denis Solís’ arrest earlier this month. Authorities on Sunday also detained Luz Escobar, a reporter for 14ymedio, an independent website founded by Yoani Sánchez, a prominent critic of the Cuban government.
Florida Congresswoman-elect María Elvira Salazar on Sunday in a tweet in response to González’s detention said the “Castro regime continues to arbitrarily arrest, beat-up and persecute all those who dare to speak their minds.”
“This latest wave of repression exposes the barbaric tactics the socialist regime employs to oppress the people of Cuba in violation of all basic human rights,” tweeted Salazar.
The Castro regime continues to arbitrarily arrest, beat-up, and persecute all those who dare to speak their minds.
— María Elvira Salazar 🇺🇸 (@MaElviraSalazar) November 23, 2020
Authorities arrested González in October 2016 and September 2017 when he tried to report on hurricanes in the cities of Baracoa and Sagua la Grande respectively. The Cuban government late last year banned González from traveling outside of Cuba.
The State Department’s 2019 human rights report notes the Cuban government “does not recognize independent journalists” and they “sometimes faced government harassment, including detention and physical abuse.”
“Independent reporters experienced harassment, violence, intimidation, aggression and censorship, and several were confined to their homes or prevented from traveling abroad,” reads the report.
Nelson Julio Álvarez Mairata, an LGBTQ Youtuber who contributes to Tremenda Nota and other digital publications, has been detained at least three times since last fall. Jancel Moreno, an independent journalist and LGBTQ activist, says authorities in September threatened to arrest him on charges of spreading “enemy propaganda” and “disrespect (specifically because of my way of not showing respect for authorities, (the way) Mariela Castro’s name comes out …)”
Castro is the daughter of former Cuban President Raúl Castro who publicly spearheads LGBTQ issues in Cuba as director of the country’s National Center for Sexual Education.
Authorities at Havana’s José Martí International Airport on May 8, 2019, did not allow this reporter to enter the country and detained him for several hours before they escorted him onto a flight back to the U.S. This incident took place three days after authorities detained several people who took part in an unsanctioned LGBTQ march in Havana.
The U.S. in September 2019 granted asylum to Yariel Valdés González, a Blade contributor who suffered persecution in Cuba because he was a journalist. Valdés remained in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody until March 4.