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State Security to Journalist Yoe Suárez: "We have thoroughly infiltrated DIARIO DE CUBA"

Two officers "escort" the reporter, blindfolded, and ask him to work "on our side."

La Habana
Yoe Suárez.
Yoe Suárez. DDC

Two State Security officials detained DIARIO DE CUBA journalist Yoe Suárez Monday in Havana and took him to an unknown location, blindfolded, for questioning.

According to the reporter's complaint, since Friday "Officer René", as his "attending" agent called himself, had been telling him that he "wanted to talk to me."

"On Monday I was in a line and I got a call from an unknown number," Suarez explained. "Then, at almost noon, when I finished some errands and was on my way home, I noticed that I was being followed on 5th Avenue."

When the journalist stopped at an ATM, Officer René showed up to insist that he had to talk to him, although this time he specified that it was Major Armando, an officer in his section, who wanted a meeting with him.

When Suárez insisted that the major show up, to hold the conversation right there, René said that he was going to fetch him. "Ten minutes later a silver Geely pulls up, license plate P035908, with René and Major Armando inside. They asked me to get in the car so they could take me somewhere to talk."

When the reporter refused to get in the vehicle, the senior officer asked for his ID. Refusing to hand it over, he was threatened, "You're being detained and you have to come with us. Tell me if I have to cuff you, or you’re going to cooperate."

On their way to a place near the La Dolca roundabout in western Havana, and after seizing his cell phone, the agents handed Suárez a green fabric to cover his eyes with. "You can't see where we're going," they said.

"It was a closed, air-conditioned, place..." said the journalist, describing the site of the interrogation that his repressors carried out, with a friendly tone  in a "home-like setting."

"They told me that I must not feel very fulfilled as a journalist working for DDC in Cuba, because none of my articles had made any difference."

Then the agents invited him to work "on the same side as us."

Suárez asked if he was being asked to write for state media, and they said no, that they wanted him to continue at DIARIO DE CUBA. "You want me to do intelligence work at DIARIO DE CUBA?" Suárez asked, to which they replied: "We have thoroughly infiltrated DIARIO DE CUBA."

Despite this alleged "infiltration," the agents asked Suárez to "send us the material sooner, to know what we need to change, to have an impact on that, to know what the criticisms are. We're interested in what you have to tell us," they explained, insisting on the importance of receiving the articles in advance.

They also showed interest in knowing how much Suárez earned as a journalist at DIARIO DE CUBA, showing him what was supposedly an organization chart and speculating about monthly figures. They also asked him if he had ever planned to leave the country, whether alone or with his family.

Finally, they repeated their desire to have future conversations with him, and even to have him over for lunch at the house where he had been taken, blindfolded. When the journalist refused, they dropped him off near his house in the same car.

The political police have been pestering Suárez all year long, particularly after the health crisis unleashed by Covid-19. Earlier this month, he was summoned and interrogated by the police chief in his neighborhood about a family member's pile of construction sand in an unused area of his home.

That was a week after State Security threatened him with retaliation for his work.

This Monday is the seventh time authorities have harassed Suarez and his family during the coronavirus quarantine, summoning, "interrogating" or threatening him. His mother has also been similarly hounded since last March.

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